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YouTube Bans Terrorist Training Videos 391

Posted by kdawson
from the can't-say-that-here dept.
Virtual_Raider sends in an Australian news story that begins "Terrorist training videos will be banned from appearing on YouTube, under revised new guidelines being implemented by the popular video-sharing site. The Google-owned portal will ban footage that advertises terrorism or extremist causes and supporters of the change hope it will blunt al-Qaeda's strong media online campaign. The move comes after pressure... from Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman... [T]he new YouTube guidelines includes bans on videos that incite others to commit violent acts, videos on how to make bombs, and footage of sniper attacks."
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YouTube Bans Terrorist Training Videos

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  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:09AM (#24976227) Journal

    ... no more Rick Roll videos, I am all for it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Z00L00K (682162)

      As if anyone really could make out anything useful from YouTube videos. At least useful enough to be dangerous.

      But maybe they will have to ban most of the videos then that are showing how people does blow things up.

      • But, but-- think of the children!! All the children that will no longer be able to fulfill their lifelong dreams and train themselves to be terrorists!

        Won't someone think of the children!??!
  • I wonder (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:09AM (#24976235) Homepage

    how they'll implement the checking. Do you think they'll check each video that's uploaded or do you think it'll be based on a trust system?

    e.g.

    [ ] This is a terrorist training video.

    You'd check the box if you weren't sure. It'll make YouTube's life easier...

    • by stevo3232 (794498)

      Just like how they deal with copyright violations right now, people will have the ability to flag uploaded videos.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by LiquidCoooled (634315)

        It could be fun, like playing online minesweeper.

        Do a search for terrorist videos and try to identify all of them.
        Careful not to tread on a rickroll though.

        • They could do two things to make this work:

          a) Porn Source it... ie: provide a system that gives credits to porn site for each video identified

          b) Put it into a MMORG as a way to gain experience or currency, then you'd have all of China and india doing the work for pennies

      • by Wildclaw (15718)

        Ah, the youtube copyright violation flagging system where only the copyright owner can flag it even though it obvious that it is a copyright violation.

        It is funny (or not) how you can get videos removed for containing content against their tos, but if the content is actually illegally distributed, the copyright owner is the only one who can do anything about it.

        • That's for legal reasons. The DMCA is a tricky piece of legislation. Online service providers found in violation of it can lose "safe harbor" protection, which would more or less kill YouTube. Better safe than sorry.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It is funny (or not) how you can get videos removed for containing content against their tos, but if the content is actually illegally distributed, the copyright owner is the only one who can do anything about it.

          There's nothing odd about this at all. Some (major) copyright holders are quite happy to see their materials on youtube as promotion, so they (effectively) authorize them by allowing them to remain. It's nobody's damn business except the copyright holder as to whether they send a takedown notice.

    • They will rely on the self appointed mindguards to click the report button. The volume of reports will be great, so the removal will probably be fully automated. No different to any other content that is against their tos really.

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:28AM (#24976381) Homepage Journal

      No, they'll just be using their routers. Packets for terrorist training videos, per RFC 3514 [faqs.org], will have their evil bit set.

      • by Xiph (723935) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:57AM (#24976687)

        The Evil bit is meant for packets and routers, not for entire files/streams, read the document you linked!
        However, I understand your general idea, and expansion of the Evil Bit could be the Evil Byte for IPv6, and be made mandatory in any file system.

        8-bits
        1 - Evil ( Must be set to 1 if )
        2 - Partially Evil ( must be set to 1 if part of a greater evil, even if not evil in itself)
        4 - Dangerous ( must be set to 1 if contents has potential to kill, destroy or otherwise cause harm)
        8 - Terrorist ( must be set to 1 if Terrorist, wrongful 0 will give sender "Unlawful Combatant"-status)
        16- Offensive ( must be set to 1 if an average American Housewife of Evangelical denomination will take offense by the contents)
        32- Copyright Infringement( must be set to 1 if the content infringes on intellectual property rights )
        64- [reserved for future use]
        128 - Humour Bit (must not be set to 1, security is no joke!)

    • Monkey bars (Score:4, Funny)

      by riker1384 (735780) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:59AM (#24976727)

      They find the terrorist training videos by using a sophisticated algorithm that can recognize any image of monkey bars.

  • by emj (15659) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:18AM (#24976295) Homepage Journal

    See how long it takes for them to censor videos on howto run homebrew tools on Wii/Xbox/PS/DS/Pandora...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Timedout (985565)
      Yeah... because comparing videos of people "hacking" to videos on how to kill people (through suicide bombing or slitting throats) is really a fair comparison.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nschubach (922175)

        Certainly not hacking, but what constitutes terrorism tomorrow? Will they start banning videos that talk about presidential candidates poorly? I mean, we can't have people inciting hateful thoughts about a candidate. That would be terrorist. What about killing animals? Joe Bob Moonshine is all proud of his deer hunting expedition and decided to post videos of it for others that might be interested. Will these fall under "sniper videos"? How about all the videos of US soldiers sniping foreigners with

        • by mi (197448)

          Will they start banning videos that talk about presidential candidates poorly?

          Already happened to McCain mocking Obama — one of the videos by this ("computer illiterate") man's campaign was pulled by YouTube [adage.com].

          I mean, we can't have people inciting hateful thoughts about a candidate.

          Yes, we can — it is not a crime to hate someone.

          Making/using a pipe-bomb, on the other hand, usually is a crime, and there may be some justification in banning people from teaching others, how to do it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          There is no right, clear, or morally correct answer for any of this. It's all relative to the individual- whether that be the parent or the congressperson, it all comes down to trust.

          Do we trust humanity with an instructional video on how to build a bomb or how to kill?

          Proponents of free speech and free information begin to lose that trust when it blows up next to them. So then the bar is raised, and the next target is the bomb components. Or more directly for the sake of argument: guns.
          Take away th
  • by Siener (139990) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:19AM (#24976301) Homepage

    This just adds a bit of legitimacy to their cause. Now they can rightfully claim that they are being persecuted and censored. This is the same as what happens in parts of Europe where all things related to Nazis and Hilter are banned.

    It just drives it underground and gives it more street cred. If these things are out in the open it is a lot easier to keep tabs on and to criticize it which in turn makes it more likely that people will see it for the bullshit it really is.

    What ever the problem, censorship is almost never the answer.

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      I think much more "street cred" is given to them whenever an Afghan village is bombed by "coalition of the willing", or kids starved to death by sanctions, or elected government is overthrown, or country is occupied, or...

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:52AM (#24976639) Homepage Journal

      I agree with you and my question for those who might disagree with you is this:

      How is this different from what Google did in China at the behest of the Chinese government?

      "Oh w-w-w-ait! Th-th-th-that's different!"

      Sorry. No, it's not.

      Censorship is censorship. Just because you don't agree with something someone says doesn't make it not censorship to silence them and it doesn't make it right.

      • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

        How are you any different from a terrorist?

        "Oh w-w-w-ait! I'm I'm I'm not some idiot's stu-stu-stuttering imaginary strawman!"

        Sorry, it's Gitmo for you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Spazztastic (814296)
      Mod parent up.

      He sums up everything about why we should ALLOW these kinds of videos. Some savage beheading a telecommunications worker in Iraq? Allow it. Clips from Jesus Camp? Allow it.

      The other side of the argument could be that it just fuels people's anger towards certain groups. Just because a Muslim man blows up a disco in Israel doesn't mean your Muslim neighbor is going to do it to you. There's many variables that have to come into play when you consider censorship.

      Then again, I'm all for al
    • I dunno (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Friday September 12, 2008 @09:16AM (#24976951) Journal

      I dunno. I'm in Germany, where nazi things are as forbidden as it can possibly get, but I'm not aware of neo-nazis having much street cred or too many people thinking of them as freedom fighters. From the limited and flawed sample I have, it seems to me like there are more neo-nazis, white-supremacists and the like per capita in the USA where it's not forbidden.

      Bear in mind that most of Europe has been fucked up hard by WW2. You yanks know WW2 as this war that happened somewhere else, you had a one or two hundred thousand soldiers total, and generally it mostly happened to somewhere else. Here it's a lot closer to home. Germany got not only to lose over 5.5 million soldiers in the war and over 1.5 million civillians in the firebombings, but got to deal with the whole Gestapo and all first hand. There are familes who've had a member or two gassed by Hitler just because they had some chronic disease when that eugenics program was tried.

      Now there _are_ a few nostalgiacs about that time, and a few trolls posing as neo-nazis, but on the whole there just isn't that much reason to pine for those times. Which would kind of be required for them to have any significant amount of "street cred."

      Germany largely went pacifist and socialist after the war, mostly as a result of still remembering the war and the far-right dictatorship. (Not unlike the USA went pacifist after WW1, but without the isolationism aspect.)

      Other countries have even less reasons to cheer for it. France has been bombed by us in one direction, and then by the Allies on the way back. I haven't done a poll there, so I might be talking out the arse, but I don't think many of them pine for those times. And forbidding nazi symbols and the like, doesn't seem to have made people pine for those times more.

      Now there seems to be a signifficant amount of French nationalism, but really that's actually mis-labelled. France's "nationalism" and "right wing" aren't as much about nation or race, as about language and culture. The theme doesn't seem as much "go home if you're not white or French" as "go home if you don't freaking want to learn French." In a lot of countries that wouldn't even be considered "nationalism" or "right wing", but rather the baseline as expectations go.

      Just about the only countries where racism and nationalism have made a come-back are in the former Eastern Bloc. But there it's not forbidden, so you can't blame it on that.

      Finally, note that it's somewhat misleading to paint it as Europe forbidding it _all_ or that it's not allowed to talk about it in the open. We still have documentaries, books about it, and learn history in schools, ya know? So, yes, it is very much possible "to keep tabs on and to criticize it which in turn makes it more likely that people will see it for the bullshit it really is". Most of it, at least. All that's forbidden is nazi propaganda/hate-speech and, depending on the country, the sale or public display of crooked crosses and other nazi symbols.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MightyYar (622222)

        You yanks know WW2 as this war that happened somewhere else, you had a one or two hundred thousand soldiers total, and generally it mostly happened to somewhere else.

        We actually lost over 400,000 in that war :) Over 13 million were in the armed forces fighting. It's true that we didn't have a significant number of civilian deaths, but it wasn't a small fight by any measure.

        Still, no one compares to Russia, who lost like 13 or 14% of their total population. Even Germany didn't have that bad of a time of it.

        Most of the rest of your post I agree with, but I would point out that you've given the ability to restrict speech to your government. While it doesn't seem to have be

        • We actually lost over 400,000 in that war :) Over 13 million were in the armed forces fighting. It's true that we didn't have a significant number of civilian deaths, but it wasn't a small fight by any measure.

          I thought the majority of it was in the Pacific War, though? Which didn't have as much to do with Nazism as such, although admittedly the Japanese could be just as brutal.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Xtravar (725372)

          Today, it's Nazi paraphernalia... tomorrow, well, who gets to decide? Whoever is in charge? Because frankly that's a bit scary - though maybe just to me as an American because extremists often have a lot of pull in our politics (though thankfully not so much this election cycle).

          I think that points to a trait that is strongly American - distrust of government, no matter who's in power. From what I've heard, other nations don't suffer from this as much. It's possibly one of the reasons why our politics go so horribly wrong - because the voter base as a whole is schizophrenic. :)

          Not that I disagree with your distrust in authority, but I think other countries may have a little less of that paranoia.

      • Very insightful. Thanks for this beautiful post.

      • You yanks know WW2 as this war that happened somewhere else, you had a one or two hundred thousand soldiers total, and generally it mostly happened to somewhere else.

        My country's war dead were more than 400,000 [wikipedia.org]; the total number of troops the U.S. committed to the war effort was more like 16 million. [answers.com]

        I am not one of those Americans who likes to claim a lot of credit for what my ancestors did 60 years ago, but it's clear that your idea of how World War II affected America is as far off as many Americans' id

        • by Moraelin (679338)

          I wasn't trying to diminish your country's contribution. I was just taking a wild estimate about _Europe_ and fighting Nazis. From my limited knowledge of history, most of the US troops and casualties were in the Pacific War, which had less to do with Nazis and more with... well, I guess the Japanese delusions of military grandeur.

          Still, my bad. I suppose I should have made it much clearer what I mean.

  • by garcia (6573) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:21AM (#24976317) Homepage

    The Google-owned portal will ban footage that advertises terrorism or extremist causes and supporters of the change hope it will blunt al-Qaeda's strong media online campaign.

    So who makes the determination what constitutes "extremist"? Would this guy [youtube.com] be an extremist because he stands up for what he believes in while fighting what he believes are the US' illegal search and seizures on US soil?

    I'm sure the government thinks he's an extremist -- will Google?

    • by Spatial (1235392)
      If it's cheaper or easier than answering no, the answer is yes.
  • And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:22AM (#24976329)

    But how does youtube define "Terrorists"

    Enemies of the USA? (Banning Islamic military videos)
    Enemies of Islam?(Banning USA military videos)

  • When do they start burning books?

    • You can't burn books. That would raise your carbon footprint by huge amounts. Think of the children!
  • by loraksus (171574) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:25AM (#24976361) Homepage

    Truly, comrade, this is a day of glorious victory!
    We have cleansed al-Qaeda's videos from Youtube and have set their agents fleeing! While some may hide their terroristic videos on liveleak or any of these websites [wikipedia.org], the days of the insurgency and radical Muslim warriors are at an end!

    God Bless the USA!

  • far better to keep it up front so that everybody knows what is going on. THis will simply move to another site.
  • by Critical Facilities (850111) * on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:27AM (#24976373) Homepage
    Is this really necessary? I mean, prior to this recommendation, was Google/YouTube receptive to "terrorist" or "extremist" videos being posted on their site? I'm all for trying to keep that kind of trash off the internet where one can (and with proper controls so the process doesn't get abused and applied to things other than "terrorist" threats) but this just sounds kind of like a silly policy that states the obvious. Just sounds like some politicking to me. Not to mention the fact that there are so many other places that this stuff lurks, I'm not sure how significant this would be.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jmorris42 (1458) *

      > Is this really necessary?

      Yes. YouTube was lousy with the stuff. You could find the stuff without much effort.

      >...this just sounds kind of like a silly policy that states the obvious.

      It should have been obvious, but it wasn't. This actually is a major policy change for Google. And it isn't like they had a leg to stand on, because they DO censor YouTube already. Ask anybody who has ever posted a politically incorrect video, especially one critical of the Islamic terrorists, about how open Google i

      • That's interesting. I guess I've never searched for "how to make a suicide vest" on YouTube, so I have no basis for how much/little of this stuff was on their site. It's sad that there should have to be such a policy change to keep this type of stuff relegated to the "darker corners", but if what you say is true, I guess it wasn't an obvious requirement to Google or YouTube.
    • If YouTube/Google really wanted to help stop terrorism, then they would work with Government officials to collect information on the whereabouts and identity of those posting 'terrorist' videos.

      Then the problem quickly becomes, what is a terrorist video? Is my video about a remote control car shooting fireworks ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YfDiHIeLGk [youtube.com] ) a terrorist video, and are the CIA/FBI going to pay me a visit?

      I certainly hope not. But, I wouldn't be surprised.
  • by seanellis (302682) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:30AM (#24976407) Homepage Journal

    I give it a day or two before Scientology starts augmenting its fraudulent DMCA takedown notices, adding the charge that its critics are "extremists" and thus worthy of censorship.

  • by INT_QRK (1043164)
    Sometimes common sense, uncommon thought it may be, just has to prevail...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gadabyte (1228808)

      Sometimes common sense, uncommon thought it may be, just has to prevail...

      and we're still waiting...

  • to start up terrorismtube.com and howtomakebombstube.com

    interestingly enough, snipertube.com already exists

  • Wait a minute (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hesaigo999ca (786966)

    They banned a video that was disclaiming the scientology religion to be a fraud,
    now they are banning videos that help people train for their religion....sort of.
    I hope they ban all religious based videos including scientology videos trying to
    reach out to new members.

    Fair is fair , no?

  • by Pedrito (94783) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:49AM (#24976601) Homepage

    They're not going to ban Jedi training videos as well, are they? After all, they're part of the rebellion.

  • Military Videos? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RabidMonkey (30447)

    Does this mean that the multitude of videos posted by/for/about the US military, considered by some parts of the world to be terrorists, will be taken down?

    Why is it ok to show propaganda for the US military but not another military force? One could argue that the US military has killed far more people than "the terrorists" have.

    Thats no to say that I support "the terrorists", but lets be realistic.

  • by James Youngman (3732) <jay@g[ ]org ['nu.' in gap]> on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:54AM (#24976661) Homepage
    So, this is the end for the Mentos® + Diet Coke® videos then?
  • by Migraineman (632203) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:55AM (#24976667)
    So they're going to ban Mythbusters clips now? I mean, last week they showed how to make an improvised explosive using coffee creamer as the fuel. This week, they determined the necessary explosive amount required to blow up your average genetically-altered great white shark (albeit under the watchful eye of a California bomb squad.)

    Seriously, a bomb is fuel, oxidizer, and a containment vessel. Technically, the propane tank on your barbecue grill counts as a "bomb" in the right context.
  • by vga_init (589198) on Friday September 12, 2008 @08:57AM (#24976693) Journal

    ...then only outlaws will have outlaw videos.

  • sex videos are less offensive then terrorist training videos and since sex videos are against the rules.....

    So this really is not a news worth article.

  • This is deeply troubling. If a citizen of a sovereign nation takes up arms with his neighbors to drive out an occupying force, is he a terrorist? There are Americans who participate in this sort of training regularly under perfectly legal conditions, and I wonder if they will be banned from Youtube under this new policy, as well.
  • So does this mean Linux how-to videos are now illegal? I KID! I KID! They always were illegal under obscenity laws anyway.
  • Get anything that he has on youtube removed! We don't want anyone else hurt.
  • Why is it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    ...the magic words of Terrorism and Religion change the rules completely. I am not going to watch a training video and then go blow up a government building because I suddenly became radicalized, so why are they being taken down? Okay, so maybe we need to think of the children, so lets at least flag it as adult so net nanny will filter it out.

    What really irks me is these (factual) videos are being censored yet on youtube there are thousands of (non factual, religious extremist)videos claiming the Earth (n
  • by fantomas (94850) on Friday September 12, 2008 @09:26AM (#24977051)

    ...is another man's freedom fighter. The speed that politics moves, I wouldn't want to have to be the guy who chooses what's allowed and what's not. Who knows which groups the next president of the USA considers to be "evil terrorists" or "democracy loving freedom fighters".

  • by stoicfaux (466273) on Friday September 12, 2008 @09:42AM (#24977277)

    Time to take down those videos of MLK and his agitators espousing mass chaos and social disruption with his guerrilla warfare tactic of "civil disobedience." That's the trouble with banning terrorists or the "if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide" line. People/government have an annoying tendency to re-define "terrorist" and "wrong." What else can we ban? If not MLK, then what about Malcolm X? The NRA? The National Organization of Women for their support of mass-murder, err I mean abortion?

    I'd rather put up with a million KKK or terrorist videos just to make sure the next MLK, Ghandi, or societal conscience can be heard. Isn't that the real point behind the Freedom of Speech?

    • Time to take down those videos of MLK and his agitators espousing mass chaos and social disruption with his guerrilla warfare tactic of "civil disobedience."

      If you remember your history, the FBI put in a lot of time watching and trying to silence King. Some may argue assassinate also.

  • by DanOrc451 (1302609) on Friday September 12, 2008 @09:44AM (#24977305)

    Don't ban others speech. Speak better than them.

    Censorship is an act of desperation on the part of a losing ideology... and I hardly think that's applicable here.

  • Good. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Xest (935314) on Friday September 12, 2008 @09:48AM (#24977397)

    I realise saying good to censorship is often seen as taboo on Slashdot, but I do not think this is about whether YouTube should or shouldn't censor anymore, that decision was made long ago so I don't think this is a question of whether to censor or not to censor anymore.

    I say good because as the decision to censor YouTube has long been set in stone it's also long been clear that there is a horrific bias in the censorship there. Pro-scientology propaganda is allowed but anti-scientology propaganda regularly gets removed. Pro-islamic extremism propaganda has long been allowed yet any anti-Islamic propaganda has often been removed.

    I must make this clear, I absolutely don't advocate anti-Islamic propaganda because I think it only serves to increase hatred between factions and incite the whole situation but what I did think utterly stank is that anti-Western propaganda was allowed to flourish whilst the alternate and opposing extreme, anti-Islamic propaganda was removed as offence. I find it worrying that the burning of a Koran has up until now been classified by YouTube as more offensive than the sniping in the head of a US soldier.

    This is at least a good first step towards sanity, if YouTube can balance it's pro-Scientology slant by reinstating anti-Scientology videos or outright removing pro and anti-Scientology videos then the service will be a lot more respectable.

    It's still not ideal of course because as this was pushed through by a screaming politician it's still all about who shouts the loudest. At least both sides are shouting loud enough for YouTube to impose an equal policy on the matter now though on this issue at least.

  • ...so if someone posts footage of the RNC convention on YT, would they have to remove the 9/11 "tribute" video that showed the attacks? Wouldn't that be "lib'ral censorship" of the Republicans? Or would they leave it up and be helping the terrorists?

    Either way, they should remove all footage of Lieberman speeches. That man's voice is a scourge on the cause of staying awake.
  • i'd leave the videos up, and have google regularly feed me the ips of whomever watches them

    the videos will be gotten, youtube or not

    so it is far better for youtube to function as a honeypot, rather than not to have any value at all

    of course 99% of viewers will be harmless curious dorks. its the datamining correlation with activity on a given ip address that is of interest for homing in on that 1%

  • "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..."

    How, exactly, are we to interpret this sentence [ushistory.org] if not that terrorism is a fundamental human right?

  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Friday September 12, 2008 @10:47AM (#24978345)
    Or are we working on another "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it" here?

    And it seems to me that psychological terrorism could apply to an interesting range of things-- an al-Qaeda rant or an "evil empire" or veiled "all our options are on the table" rant from an American president for example.

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