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Social Networks Censorship Government The Internet

Eric Schmidt Proposes 'Hate Spell-Checker' For Radical and Terrorist Content ( 305

An anonymous reader writes: In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has proposed the creation of 'tools' to stop or limit the spread of messages and content intended to recruit terrorists. Schmidt says: "We should build tools to help de-escalate tensions on social media — sort of like spell-checkers, but for hate and harassment. We should target social accounts for terrorist groups like the Islamic State, and remove videos before they spread, or help those countering terrorist messages to find their voice."

Schmidt does not enlarge on whether he is talking about AI-driven systems capable of understanding thought well enough to make value judgments on it, or of the problems involved in auto-censoring speech in order to promote his vision of a new rapport between cultures on the internet.

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Eric Schmidt Proposes 'Hate Spell-Checker' For Radical and Terrorist Content

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  • Go fuck yourself (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @04:09PM (#51083553) Journal

    Kindly go fuck yourself.

    • PC double speak enforced by the minders' electronic eye.

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      Kindly go fuck yourself.

      Indeed. Oddly enough, there's a patent troll hiding under this bridge. A company I once worked for was sued by this patent troll that has a patent over using spell check to also check/filter offensive words, and specifically not just profanity but culture-specific offensive slang. In this specific case, the patent actually seems to apply as written and intended: extending a spell checker to block sending of offensive material based on a curated list of offensive words and expressions.

      It's a stupidly over

    • by halivar ( 535827 )

      Dear OverlordQ,

      I hope you're having a wonderful day so far. I am inquiring into whether it would be amenable for you, in the kindliest and gentlest way possible, to initiate forceful and vigorous lovemaking to the wonderful woman (a saint, really) who gave us, the world, the gift that is you.

      With kindest regards to you and yours,

      Sent from my Android with PolitiCorrect(R)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @06:00PM (#51084505)

      It's hard to imagine more dangerous hate speech in a democratic society than calling for the automatic suppression of free speech.

      He seems to be openly and directly inciting a form of domestic terrorism against the population, to be performed by corporations and government. He's always had questionable ethics, but this latest installment is quite beyond belief.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by istartedi ( 132515 )

      OMG! It's already happening. He meant to say "fuck yourself with a 10-foot rusty pipe wrapped in barbed wire and smeared with Habanero peppers", but it was auto-corrected. Authorization: section 5, quoting for demonstration purposes. Signed, Director section 5, unit 3, December 8, 2015.

      p.s., I'm not sure how long that last hack will actually work. Grabbed the test sections and units off 4chan this morning.

  • by bfwebster ( 90513 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @04:10PM (#51083555) Homepage

    Seriously? Seriously? He really doesn't recognize the full implications of what he's proposing? Time to drag out my favorite passage from Robert Bolt's "A Man for All Seasons":

    Roper: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!
    More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
    More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man's laws, not God's — and if you cut them down — and you're just the man to do it — d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @04:19PM (#51083635) Homepage

      Yup, fascists and fanatics want to censor things.

      Either because people don't agree with your politics, or your religion, or your choice of text editor, or flavor of ice cream.

      I consider people who want to resort to censorship to be essentially morally bankrupt assholes.

      But then, this is Eric Schmidt. So I already considered him one.

      I cringe at how readily Western society is prepared to become unhinged and start throwing away our freedoms in order to claim to be protecting our freedoms.

      Beware the guy who wants to cut through such things in order to achieve their agenda. Because in the end they'll stop at nothing and utterly fail to see the problems they're creating.

      I don't want to live in a world where some asshole billionaire is the arbiter of what can and can't be said.

      • by LesFerg ( 452838 )

        Yup, fascists and fanatics want to censor things.

        Either because people don't agree with your politics, or your religion, or your choice of text editor, or flavor of ice cream.

        Now you're just talking crazy talk; everybody knows that vanilla flavor is best.

        • Bullshit. Mint chocolate chip is the best.

          And vim is the best text editor.

          I propose we censor any speech which criticizes mint chocolate chip ice cream or which advances non-vi-style editors.

    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @04:23PM (#51083679)
      Schmidt has always been an idiot in these kinds of matters []. He either doesn't understand why some people would be freaked out by his solution or not trust it, or he realizes that but doesn't care.

      This will work until governments start using it to censor speech that most people feel should be heard. Then the service will collapse and be replaced by something that is more free.

      People need to understand that if you don't like what someone is saying, the way to stop them isn't to censor them or limit their speech, it's to use your own free speech to tell everyone why they're wrong. Suppressing speech does nothing to changes the hearts and minds of those who might agree with it and only serves to make that person appear a victim of your oppression, no matter how pure your motives may be. If you want to shut down terrorist groups like ISIS on social media, the best way to do so is to ridicule them. Who wants to join a group that's a complete laughingstock?
      • by johanw ( 1001493 )

        "This will work until governments start using it to censor speech that most people feel should be heard"

        The US government is already using these tactics to censor discussion about people they really don't like, like Snowden or Manning. Claiming the subjects to be "state secrets".

        • johanw, your post looked kind of weird.. here let me copy/paste:

          The ## ########## is already using these tactics to %enhance% discussion about people they really don't like, like ####### or #######. Claiming the subjects to be "##### #######"

          Not sure what you were trying to say, but I'm certain it was important...

      • by hsthompson69 ( 1674722 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @04:48PM (#51083885)

        Mod parent up. If you want to combat ISIS, you need to give clear and thorough critiques of sharia, and radical islam. Tamping down on "anti-muslim speech" or "pro-sharia speech" isn't the answer - having a robust marketplace of ideas is.

        Who knows, maybe one day islam will have its reformation period, and violent jihadis will be just as embarrassing to them as the Inquisition is to catholics.

        • If you want to combat Isis you need to give voices to assholes who are muslim. This teaches non-muslims that if a muslim says something you don't like it does not instantly turn him into a terrorist. And it teaches muslims that they're not just represented by peace-loving hippies who certainly don't want to upset anyone and love everyone so much.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Orgasmatron ( 8103 )

          Hilarious example, given the context.

          The only Catholics that are embarrassed by the Inquisition are the ones that never learned why there was one in the first place. In case you need a hint to get started, ask yourself what had been happening in Spain for the ~700 years prior.

          The Crusades are much the same. They weren't just a random Christian rampage out of the blue, but a response to something external. In the case of the Crusades, about 400 years worth of that something.

          Perhaps you've been talking to

          • I'm a (bad) Catholic, and while certainly the Inquisition wasn't particularly *odd* at the time and place it happened, that doesn't mean I'm not embarrassed by it.

            Having a broader contextual understanding of the horrors of various religious persecutions and wars doesn't make them any less embarrassing. Yes, Uncle Bob may be retarded, but watching him drool and hump the couch is still embarrassing.

      • it's to use your own free speech to tell everyone why they're wrong.

        That doesn't actually work. Just look at all the extremist stuff that's become popular with the ubiquity of the internet: far right-wing "press" here in the US, and the rise of ISIS in the middle east. Telling people they're wrong just doesn't work; people have confirmation bias, they read something that agrees with their preconceived notions, and pushes them even farther, and they ignore anything that opposes that viewpoint. It's even

        • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

          Isn't this really inevitable? I think man can not live without conflict. It's not the system that's broken but the people. It seems that wars are inevitable and all we can do is try to survive them because at the end of the day people are just people. You can't live in peace if people wont let you.

        • by tsotha ( 720379 )

          Just look at all the extremist stuff that's become popular with the ubiquity of the internet: far right-wing "press" here in the US, and the rise of ISIS in the middle east.

          So... you think the government should censor the 'far right-wing "press"' (as if there were such a thing)? If you were actually able to do that, just what do you think conservatives would do when they got back into power? And who could blame them?

          • I'm not saying anything should be censored; that's obviously a double-edged sword. I'm pointing out that the democratization of communication that the internet has brought us has had some very negative side effects. I don't think it's possible to put that genie back into the bottle.

    • This sort of thing is coming whether you like it or not. Freedom of speech is the freedom to oppress, and it's headed for the dustbin of history. Not accompanied by wailing and gnashing of teeth, but to thunderous applause.

      In its oft-cited Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the American Association of University Professors declares that "Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results." In principle, this policy seems sound: It would not do for a

      • by tsotha ( 720379 )
        There's no question the universities have become cesspits of totalitarianism. I didn't expect to see that in my lifetime.
  • Any censorship has to be effective against every person, ever. But people are pretty clever []

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @04:18PM (#51083615) Homepage

    our hysterical corporate overlords.

    This Muslim hysteria is turning out to be the best serous action and comedy on in one popcorn flick ever.

    • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

      The Trump hysteria is even better. People are going to start jumping out of buildings at some point.

    • This Muslim hysteria is turning out to be the best serous action and comedy on in one popcorn flick ever.

      Yellow bodily fluids? Eeeew!

    • by Rinikusu ( 28164 )

      Haifa and Khalid Blow Up White Castle - two lifelong friends self-radicalize and quest to suicide bomb a white castle but are thwarted by the New Jersey turnpike system.

  • He's on to something.
    But rather than a simple 'hate checker' that could suggest alernatives, why not go the whole hog.

    CLIPPY: "I notice you are talking hate on the internet. Do you need help? [Yes] [Obviously]"

  • The NSA already is keyword searching with Echelon and probably has their snooping services in Google already. I suppose if you encrypted it with a non-compromised encryption they wouldn't be able to get at it as easy, but you'd have to get that spell-check into every app and the terrorists would just use something else that is not compromised.

  • If ISIS wants to survive, it has to pay a livable wage [] like anyone else... We can drop the religious bullshit any time now...

  • China tries to do this this to an extent with their Great Firewall.

    They fail by a very large extent.

    What should be done is that commercial entities that emulate RTLMC over the air should have their licenses pulled. All this needs is a slight change to the Communications Act of 1934.

    Hate sells, but you're not allowed to make money with it on public spectrum. Do it elsewhere. Go suck a lemon, Roger Ailes.


  • China has been censoring posts for a decade. Posters then create synonyms that mean prohibited topics. Live censors then catch on and the posters create new ones.
  • and a cracker too. He is The Man, and the Man is keeping us down

  • by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @04:28PM (#51083735)

    How to differentiate hate speech and a discussion of hate speech. This is the same issue as the method that tried to censor pornographic images by using skin colour. Too many non-pornographic images, such as medical drawings, were censored.

    • If human beings can differentiate between the two, computers will be able to do the same eventually.

      • Eventually is a very long time. Computers will be able to figure out everything "eventually". What we are talking about is what is possible now.

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @04:36PM (#51083779)
    "Need help planning your next Jihad? Call 1-800-4JIHADS"

    "Looking for devout women who will treat you like a caliph? Visit"

    "Have you or a loved one contracted lung disease while training in the desert to be an ISIS warrior? Go to for information on receiving remuneration for your illness.
  • by reemul ( 1554 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @04:37PM (#51083789)

    I'd be a lot more open to this creep's plan to censor everyone else if Google-owned YouTube wasn't the host of most every jihadi recruiting video ever made, many posted by specially designated terrorist entities which Google is forbidden by law to work with, under penalty of an ugly fine which is apparently never applied to the well connected. If a music company doesn't like the background song in a baby's first birthday video, it gets pulled so fast there is a whooshing noise as electrons rush in to fill the digital gap, but if someone complains that YouTube is in violation of the actual damn law against doing business with a specially designated terrorist entity, some YouTube employee will tell you that they have received your complaint, then do nothing.

    So I have zero interest in this hypocrite being allowed to limit what I do or type onine while he sucks in ad dollars from scumbags watching innocent people get their heads hacked off.

  • Sure, you'll find islamic hate. You'll find christian hate. You'll find anti-gay hate.

    But what's going to happen to all the SJWs who use violent rhetoric? Or the Jeremiah Wrights preaching that #blacklivesmatter?

    Eventually, the only people left on the web will be Mormons and Buddhists.

  • Fight Uni!
  • Another thought... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @05:06PM (#51084047)

    We wouldn't even be discussing this if speech like TRUMP's gets a total fucking pass like it's been getting in the US media, outside of special interest shows like Maddow.

    Critical journalism in the US is largely fucking dead in the mainstream. Everyone is afraid they're going to lose their precious 'access' if they ask the tough questions and call people like TRUMP out on their bullshit.

    Things like "The Interview" over at the BBC do not exist at all over here.

    It's despicable. You're not journalists anymore. You're PR agents and 'entertainment.' Fuck off.


  • Will it censor Christian terrorists too, or does it just single out Muslim terrorists? Fuck Eric Schmidt. He's a pig snot eating radical Satanist that worships donkey balls.
  • Will all extremists will be required to have a Google+ account?
  • I have yet to see a single "image with text on it" facebook meme that didn't have spelling and/or grammatical errors. One thing that tells me for sure is that the generation that grew up with cell phones in their hands doesn't freaking know how to spell.

  • A hate spell checker? Come now, Eric, we can do better: how about something along the lines of a Flesch-Kincaid Hate Index?
  • by Macdude ( 23507 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @05:52PM (#51084455)

    Can we also have it check for posts that support denying people their free-speech rights?

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @06:04PM (#51084549) Journal
    The same reason what this fool is proposing won't work is the same reason that y0u'd h4v3 50m3 pr0bl3m5 wr171n6 c0d3 70 und3r574nd 51mpl3 l3375p34k-3nc0d3d 73x7, 7h47 54y5 3r1c 5chm1d7 5uck5 b16 6r33n d0nk3y d0n65: 7h3 3nc0d1n6 c4n ch4n63 0n 4n h0ur-by-h0ur b4515, 4nd y0u'd n3v3r k33p up. k1d5 1nv3n73d l3375p34k 70 637 4r0und pr0f4n17y f1l73r5 0n 0nl1n3 f0rum5. d0n'7 y0u 7h1nk 7h47 73rr0r1575 4r3 601n6 70 b3 47 l3457 45 1nv3n71v3?

    Additionally anyone can establish a code where one phrase means something else entirely; "I'm walking the dog in Central Park at 10:00am" translates to "I'm placing the IED in Central Park and detonating it at 10:00am". Good luck writing code that contextually gleans the true meaning of the former.
    • Actually, it was adults who invented leet, and it was back when everyone was still using BBS's. By the way, you are on my lawn.

  • If anything we should be critiquing ISIS videos on YouTube, tearing into them for the poor production value, bad acting, crappy cinematography, shitty writing, and last but not least how tiny their penises must be if they feel they need to post videos on YouTube that just scream "Look at us! Look at us! We're so awesome, we attack defenseless people, kidnap them, and cut off their heads! Ain't we the greatest!?". Be sure to put "Yakity Sax" music in the background. I'd sooner watch endless reruns of Jackass
  • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @07:07PM (#51084975)

    I [CENSORED] [CENSORED] when they [CENSORED] censor my [CENSORED] [CENSORED] speech aimed at [CENSORED]!


    [CENSORED] Engineer

    This message was screened for hurtful language for your well being. Have a nice day!

  • That is way in Evil territory Eric. Seize and desist. Those tools can go after anything anyone is offended by or worried about. They are a proposal for mass online censorship. They play right into the hands of enemies of freedom everywhere. That the executive chairman of Google, no less, would float such is one of the most terrifying things I have encountered. What the hell is the matter with you?

  • Enjoying the idea of a digital memory hole [] a bit too much?
    In the Soviet Union names, books, sentences, paragraphs, pictures, individuals also disappeared from art, culture, history and new editions of books.
    Thanks to a big US brand that always enjoyed the full protections of the US Constitution books and thought will now be "corrected" on a per decade or month or weekly whim of a select few in the private sector? A multi national private sector with deep traditional link
  • When I first read the subject, I thought they intended to use it against people who badmouthed terrorists, and not against the terrorists themselves. But that is because I have not really seen any particular concern about what the terrorists say about us, and a great deal of concern about our hate speech against terrorists.
  • by Princeofcups ( 150855 ) <> on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @07:50PM (#51085169) Homepage

    This is America. If I want to include the words radical terrorism nuclear bomb the white house kill the president in every one of my messages, then I will. As should everyone.

  • This just confirms what I've suspected for a long time: Schmidt is a fascist, and that's not hyperbole.
  • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2015 @01:18AM (#51086523) Homepage Journal

    The same guy who was hammering on the importance of free speech in defense of his contributions to the Proposition 8 (anti-gay-marriage law in California) campaign is now proposing a means of automated censorship?

Wasn't there something about a PASCAL programmer knowing the value of everything and the Wirth of nothing?