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The Internet Censorship Your Rights Online

A Proposal For Dealing With Terrorist Videos On the Internet (vortex.com) 177

Lauren Weinstein writes: Recent claims by some (mostly nontechnical) observers that it would be "simple" for services like YouTube to automatically block "terrorist" videos, in the manner that various major services currently detect child porn images are nonsensical. One major difference is that those still images are detected via data "fingerprinting" techniques that are relatively effective on known still images compared against a known database, but are relatively useless outside the realm of still images, especially for videos of varied origins that are routinely manipulated by uploaders specifically to avoid detection. Two completely different worlds. So are there practical ways to at least help to limit the worst of the violent videos, the ones that most directly portray, promote, and incite terrorism or other violent acts? I believe there are.
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A Proposal For Dealing With Terrorist Videos On the Internet

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    We can't even programmatically detect and filter APK. Something tells me we're going to have a hard time with terrorist videos.

  • by Artem Tashkinov ( 764309 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @07:47AM (#51164437)

    Firstly, such videos should not be removed, "Know thy enemy" you know. I guess the best way to deal with them is to put them behind the usual 18+ rating as youtube has already been doing for years to even slightly provocative clips.

    Secondly, most people, this journalist included, don't understand terrorism. Its goal is not to kill, but to be heard and to suggest fear. Your risk of dying of terrorism is many magnitudes lower than dying from other natural courses, including a vehicle crash or cancer.

    The best way to deal with terrorism is to neglect them totally. Don't let them on TV or radio, or Internet. Fight them behind the curtains.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      such videos should not be removed [...] Don't let them on TV or radio, or Internet.

      So we should fight to keep them off the internet, but if they somehow managed to get on, we should let them stay there?

      If that was not the message you were conveying, then please clarify.

      • I think that is the message, and it's pretty sensible. Don't fall for inadvertently publicising a video. Once it's out there, don't validate it by censoring it.

        And that's the end of it.

        How to work against them on the same medium? Don't post equal-and-opposite reactions -- this means your message is being controlled by the enemy.

        The way to change the mind of someone is to get them to explain the opposing point of view, but crucially, from their own perspective. You can't persuade a terrorist with a distorted

        • by bazorg ( 911295 )

          How to work against them on the same medium? Don't post equal-and-opposite reactions -- this means your message is being controlled by the enemy.

          This is so right and probably what the media has failed to do so far. In most of Europe I know there is a degree of press freedom, so they can do what they like, even if their reporting and way of working has a negative effect from the point of view of military strategy (or Cream Wobbly's strategy).

          As an example: in both recent occasions when there were daesh-related killings in Paris, the media was quick to interview random people on the street, which resulted in testimonies of the type:

          • They looked really
    • The best way to deal with terrorism is to neglect them totally.

      I assume you meant 'ignore', not 'neglect'? But no, we should definitely not try to ignore them, on the contrary. We need to make them unattractive in the eyes of vulnerable, young people, as well as work to ensure the the young are not vulnerable to the pseudo-religious claptrap of extremists. People only fall for this kind idiocy because they are unable to find any hope of have a meaningful future in society.

      We also, and I hate to say this, have to go and fight Daesh militarily with our own soldiers on th

      • I assume you meant 'ignore', not 'neglect'?

        Exactly. English is not my native language, so sometimes I use the wrong words.

        • Exactly. English is not my native language, so sometimes I use the wrong words

          Sorry if I sounded like I was trying to put you down - I just wanted to make sure I understood correctly; my own English isn't too brilliant either :-)

    • The best way to deal with terrorism is to neglect them totally. Don't let them on TV or radio, or Internet. Fight them behind the curtains.

      You must be an out of work journalist with this sort of common sense. No one will hire you I'm sure.

      The reason we have 'so many' school shootings these days is not because we actually have more (statistically, we don't actually) its because they are all televised, some of them nearly fucking live ... because the news media now days has to have us hanging on ever breaking peep about this shit.

      So you take people who want attention ... then give them wild amounts of attention ... and then they are shocked whe

      • The news media is the problem. Though you seem to actually have a brain, so keep up the good fight but good luck, you'll need it.

        Almost, but not quite.And you do hit right on the issue with the large amount of coverage given to events, and the level of coverage extending to some rather small events.

        We're mentally stuck in a small tribe mode. In a world with billions of people in it, bad things will happen somewhere, to someone, every day. But we react as if it's in our neighborhood. I don't have the exact number of people we are mentally adapted to have in our mental "tribes" but recall it was something like 50 could be wrong on th

    • Nope. These videos, again and again, have been cited by convicted terrorists as the reason why they went from moderate Muslims to murderous Muslims. Ignoring them won't help, in fact such head-in-the-sand tactics are have a 100% chance of failure.

      Does it even occur to you that the only reason that Islamic terrorism is so rare is because security services do an outstanding job of smothering it? This year there were something like 378 terrorist plots in France, of which 377 were successfully detected and

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BradMajors ( 995624 )

        What about the murderous Jews? Why aren't we similarly removing videos by extremist Jews? Videos are being used to recruit more Jews to kill more people.

      • by ShaunC ( 203807 )

        Does it even occur to you that the only reason that Islamic terrorism is so rare is because security services do an outstanding job of smothering it? This year there were something like 378 terrorist plots in France, of which 377 were successfully detected and disrupted.

        No, it occurs to me that the only reason acts of terrorism wearing any ideology are so rare is because there are very few actual terrorists trying to attack anyone.

        Wherever you are in the world, dear reader, stop right now and take 5 minutes to ponder how you might commit mass casualties in your city. They haven't made thinking illegal (yet), so pretend to be a psychopath for a few minutes and let that tape play out. Consider every scenario you can conjure up where you could kill or injure more than a dozen

      • by khallow ( 566160 )

        This year there were something like 378 terrorist plots in France, of which 377 were successfully detected and disrupted.

        Sure, there were. Since there were at least two success terrorist plots which weren't disrupted (remember the Charlie Hebdo shooting [wikipedia.org]) and a third attempt which failed only because there happened to be right there combat-trained people [cnn.com] willing to stop it. So right there, we know there were three terrorist plots which weren't detected and disrupted by the security apparatus this year.

    • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @10:03AM (#51165067)

      The best way to deal with terrorism is to neglect them totally. Don't let them on TV or radio, or Internet.

      So, you agree with TFA, then? Because "don't let them on the internet" seems to be what TFA is advocating.

      Personally, I prefer treating them like common criminals. Don't give them the credit of being "terrorists". Call them what they are: murderers/thieves/whatever. Don't treat their trials as media circuses; instead give them exactly the coverage any other criminal would get....

      • Personally, I prefer treating them like common criminals...Don't treat their trials as media circuses; instead give them exactly the coverage any other criminal would get....

        Just so we're clear here, you want us to start giving them book deals, reality shows, YouTube royalties, and movie rights?

        I guess you haven't noticed just how much we love rewarding hardened narcissists...

        • Oh come on, he was innocent, the jury acquitted because the glove didn't fit.

        • Just so we're clear here, you want us to start giving them book deals, reality shows, YouTube royalties, and movie rights?

          Sure! "Wow, I'm rich and famous. Maybe America isn't so bad after all."

    • by doug141 ( 863552 )

      "Firstly, such videos should not be removed,"

      "neglect them totally. Don't let them on... Internet."

      So, which do you want?

    • If you're going to censor those videos, perhaps it would be better to replace them with (uncensored) porn. Muslims aren't allowed to look at it, and it will probably give them something to think about. Perhaps ease some of the tension in the Middle East.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Nah, the best thing to do is engage. Maybe ask YouTube etc to help promote opposing views along side the extremist ones, but that's about it.

      We (the west) are not totally innocent or blameless here. We do bad things. Having this debate openly might actually be good for us too. And the reason the "terrorist" ideology is so attractive to some is that we don't engage with them and ISIS does. They feel like their own counties hate them and they don't belong (which to some extent is true) and get drawn into a wo

  • What I legitimately don't understand is why everyone is so sensitive about these people. They're religious wackos and mentally damaged, and and they do horrible acts. It's true. And yet, they're all the way to the east, and should one live in the United States, they're half the world away. We know our societies and ideas are superior to theirs, and in modern day society we all strive to have free lives. All these people do (to us, anyway) is make videos, and we know our ideas are moral while theirs are not,
    • by LQ ( 188043 )
      Let's say there are 5M Muslims in USA and 40M in Europe and lets say 0.001% of them are radicalised by stuff on the internet and moved to commit violent acts. You do the arithmetic.
      • by bentcd ( 690786 )

        Let's say there are 300M (mostly) law abiding citizens in the US, and 500M in the EU, and that 0.001% of them are radicalized by these blatant attacks on civil liberties. You do the maths.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Let's say there are 5M Muslims in USA and 40M in Europe and lets say 0.001% of them are radicalised by stuff on the internet and moved to commit violent acts. You do the arithmetic.

        That's still small change compared to all the other millions of people radicalised by shit on the internet. Get rid of those bullshit anti-Planned Parenthood videos first.

    • They are not way in the east. They have a global presence which is extended further every day. They may even live next door.
      You are not safe just because your in the US. We can ignore them, and they will continue to fester... We can fight them, and give the message they spout more validity... What we cannot do is take definitive and final action because it is too horrible to contemplate. (read as nukes)

      What we have not done is ask: What exactly caused them to come into being? What do they want?
      The ne

      • What exactly caused them to come into being?

        Sex.

        What do they want?

        Sex.

        How do we keep them from ever getting it?

        They aren't getting it. That's why they are angry and are willing to die for any cause. They know they have no future.

        • Sex

          While true, the real reason is money. Nobody works for free. And mercenaries are comparatively well paid. The angry ones work for cheap, but still, not free. When the great empires, in their competition for more turf, quit shipping them money and weapons everything will calm down very quickly. Either way, they should keep their proxy wars better contained.

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        They are not way in the east. They have a global presence which is extended further every day. They may even live next door.

        You also have gang members who live next door. White supremacists live next door. Evangelical christians who support bombing abortion clinics and oppressing homosexuals live next door. Anti-government preppers live next door. Militant atheists who want to abolish all forms of religion (while purposefully ignoring that they themselves are bordering on religious fanaticism) live next door.

        There are already a lot of bad, less bad, and not really bad just misinformed people living next door to you that are

      • They are not way in the east. They have a global presence which is extended further every day. They may even live next door.

        And they may be under your bed.

        The danger of being hurt or killed by terrorists is so vanishingly small that one has to wonder about the impulse behind the fear. It's interesting that the agenda of the terrorists is the same as the agenda of the political elite - to make us live in complaint fear. You're more likely to die of toenail fungus than from a terrorist attack, and yet about

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        Nonsense. You're just engaging in mindless fear mongering unsubstantiated by actual facts or mathematics.

        I have already been the victim of much more severely limited probabilities so I am no longer impressed by either "terrorists" or "crazies with guns".

        Not that I would have been impressed before. I can do the math.

      • They are not way in the east. They have a global presence which is extended further every day. They may even live next door.

        Exactly! Right beside the Mexican Rapists that want to take our jerbs, and the chocolate people that want to rape our white wimmin!

        I had no Idea that Donald Trump had a Slashdot account!

        • Does it make you feel better to intentionally misquote Trump and make him out to be something he is not?

    • Some terrorists execute people by cutting off their head, while others prefer to use the technology and throw bombs and shoot rockets onto cities like it happens in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan...
    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      The reason: Pakistan. This darling country is becoming a nuke super-market. They are now interested in building tactical nuclear weapons because, goodness knows, those sneaky Indians are attempting to subvert the Pakistan culture with Bollywood or something.

      All it would take for a real disaster is for those nice terrorists to do a deal with some disgruntled Pakistan military personnel and get their hands on a nuke. It might be difficult to slip it into the U.S. but they could take out a major city in Russia

    • Why does our society collectively feel so insecure about these people...?

      Because there is big money in the fear industry. Regardless, everybody here is still on this religious angle, when the fact is that these people are nothing but paid mercenaries, and compared to regional wages, they are very well paid. So, please, we can drop the charade. This is business.

    • Why does our society collectively feel so insecure about these people, and make the situation worse by legitimizing their cause with ineffective actions, as opposed to those other groups?

      1. When they get lucky, terror acts are vivid and sensational -- media can't ignore.
      2. Politicians reap benefits by playing the terrorist game.
      3. No one wants to die by violence, or see their loved ones die that way, however low the numerical risk.
  • I'm going to need Bennett Haselton to post a comprehensive analysis of this proposal and compare and contrast it to his own algorithm before I can make a truly informed decision to ignore this topic.

  • One word (Score:2, Informative)

    by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
    People. The only way to deal with it on places like Youtube is to have viewers flag the videos and then have actual people review the videos to see if they are in fact terrorist related. It also needs to be written out and clearly defined what exactly is considered "terrorist". Anything less than that is ripe for abuse. Not to mention that automating the process would be a nightmare, as the summary alludes to. Sure, having people whose only job is to check and see if videos are terrorist related, but i
    • You don't want people dealing with this. They'll abuse it and take down innocent videos of puppies and kittens.

    • That system can too easily be DDOSed. Just start flooding youtube with controversial (maybe terroristic) videos, and all of a sudden, there aren't enough employees at google to keep up with the mess.
  • We can do speech to text, and search for groups of key words, that have a high statistical correlation. We can resolve video to a series of stills and use the same hashing methods and flesh tone detection porn filters use. Its actually not hard at all if you don't care about a high false positive rate.

    The result though will be a very high false positive rate that makes these services way less useful.

    I come back to it AGAIN the political sentiment is that something has to be 'done' about the the Internet.

    • Do you really think a politician that would make a "Great Firewall of America" would stop at that? Next, it would be that "the terrorists" and "terrorist sympathizers" are in America posting online trying to radicalize our children. So we need the government to look at every packet sent to make sure it's not a terrorist-packet. Yes, the NSA already tries doing this, but the politicians will push to have it 100% legal and without any checks on their power. Because checks are restrictions and you can't re

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        No its not an either or but it is a situation where the 'we have to do something' crowd is going to have their blood sacrifice. Think of it just like the TSA. The TSA has not really made air transportation secure, but 'we did something about it' the TSA exits. There are not really any strong calls now to fix the remaining problems / address the remaining risks.

        I think our political energy out to spend stopping good encryption from being effectively outlawed, stopping government intervention in private on

        • So let's say we make a Great Firewall of America that stops terrorist videos from being viewed here. How we do it doesn't matter right now, but we do it. Mission accomplished, right?

          No. Because it will get out that someone in RANDOM_COUNTRY can view those videos and become radicalized*. The politicians will demand that we fix this problem with our firewall. Never mind that someone from outside the US viewing a video hosted outside of the US wouldn't have anything to do with US-based Internet services.

    • To me Trump's vague statements about shutting some of that down are probably the best thing to run with. I would rather see Great Firewall of America where we largely cut off traffic to and from the rest of the world.

      Thank you Kim Il Jung!

      Your approach and North Korea's are remarkably identical.

      Um - no thanks. if you want to be isolated from the world, move there, not try to turn the US into the best Korea.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So these videos you can watch and censor, and yet other people, well if they saw them they'd become radicalized?
    So what makes you so special that you don't get radicalized?
    Really Nanny Lauren? You think you are so special?

    Youtubes policy on violent videos is its choice, those videos move to Liveleak, beheadings, killings etc. and are often shown selectively on Fox news. So apparently they're not so radicalizing, rather can be used as counter-propaganda.

    > "Have you seen any of the current ISIL recruitment

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ignore them.

    AC

  • Come now (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rmdingler ( 1955220 )
    If you begin by removing videos by crackpots that you find offensive, where then, do you draw the line?

    Don't eat the pudding that suggests Muslims are the only god-belief group filled with folks who would punish those who disagree with them.

    Hatred is a flammable, tangible thing, and it will burn itself out quickly enough.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And an anti-religious nut decided to do some cleansing of the ignorant religious folks with one of this years largest US mass shootings. Don't eat the pudding that radicalism is limited to gullible religious folks.

      • And an anti-religious nut decided to do some cleansing of the ignorant religious folks with one of this years largest US mass shootings. Don't eat the pudding that radicalism is limited to gullible religious folks.

        You don't have to be gullible religious folks to be terrorists. But it helps.

  • The best solution would be that any time a terrorist video is found, the soundtrack is automatically replaced with Yakety Sax [youtube.com].

  • Yes, there are always weak minds that can be influenced. But, on the other hand, the terrorists look like rabid dogs caught up in a frenzy or at times look like some sort of clown show. Maybe letting them rant away earns them more disrespect than anything else. So far their revolution has yielded them misery and loss. Maybe if they suffer enough they will get a clue.
  • Lets say that your proposal is implemented in the full glory that you think it should be, Lauren.

    What happens when your crowd starts filtering out content based on what they don't like?
    What if your "large scale designed to average out variations in cultural attitudes" turns into a stuffed ballet box for one ideology/political party?

    More importantly, what happens when the messages go underground to websites that are not part of your anti-ISIS cabal?

    Seems to me that the best we can do is make the report inapp

    • Lets say that your proposal is implemented in the full glory that you think it should be, Lauren.

      What happens when your crowd starts filtering out content based on what they don't like?

      Eventually we would be living in a world where the periodic table of elements would be classified.

      That is not even remotely sarcasm. A knowledgable person could look at that and come up with some nasty stuff. So we ban that. Also the knowledge that nasty things can be built, but then we have to make certain people don't understand science.

      In other words, this quest for banning things, for shutting the US off from the rest of the world ends up planting us firmly in the dark ages. And not any "safer".

  • You mean censorship? Ahh yes, well we've already established that the internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. Carry on. Every success with your endeavors, etc. Pssst: it won't fucking work.
  • Shoot at the screen, and post the picture.
  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @08:31AM (#51164591) Journal

    Require all of the videos to be played back at 150% speed, with the musical accompaniment of the Nyancat song, with all voices replaced by audio clips of 1980s children's television shows and subtitles in the style of the doge meme.

    Just about as practical to implement and probably more effective.

  • We are working out the final bugs for a filter to differentiate between our (approved) jingoism from their (unapproved) incitement.

  • Video recognition. This Vienna-based company is called SailLabs [sail-labs.com]. I'm sort of acquainted with the CTO, and got a demo once. Pretty awesome. They can analyze hundreds of video streams in near-real time.

  • So the big idea is to crowd source detection, where people will volunteer to spend their time rooting out videos of a dubious nature?

    This sounds like ;

    A) an excellent way of getting yourself on a watch list as a consumer of videos of the kind that gets you noticed by the authorities.

    B) an excellent excuse if you are a consumer of videos of the kind that gets you noticed by the authorities.

  • I think that we, as reasonable people, can agree that any video found guilty of massacring civilians, bombing things, poisoning the water supply, or similar atrocities can be considered a 'terrorist video' and duly punished with a life sentence to a neglected LTO tape in an offsite vault somewhere.

    For videos that just consist of an encoded series of frames and maybe a soundtrack; perhaps we should stop hyperventilating.
  • There exists a legitimate threat, as evidenced by San Bernardino, Paris and other successful attacks that militant groups have been able to pull off. I think we can also expect many more of these going forward. That threat is being greatly exaggerated however. We need to keep cool and examine it at a rational level. It's unfortunate that people don't seem to have the slightest understanding of probabilities. e.g. comparing the odds of being killed or injured by a terrorist vs. the odds of being killed

  • to say that they don't want anyone to have the freedom to say what they want.

    If a private service wants to ban them or whatever, that's fine, but having major presidential candidates railing about how we should be colluding to censor them everywhere is fucking scary. That's a very slippery slope and more indicative of a terrorist victory than any beheading video.

  • If I'm not mistaken, once YouTube starts removing videos for content, outside of the parameters of law, they become responsible for policing all content. Fact is... ISIL is usng 21st century techniques, we can't respond to that by still thinking in the paradigm of the '80s.
  • Figure out a way to trick them in to using copyrighted material and sit back while they are banished from the internet with DMCA take down notices! Blam, you're welcome.
  • When the first of the concentration camps in NAZI Germany were liberated, there was some doubt among those not present about the veracity of the reports. The sheet scale of the horror was hard to comprehend as it had never been done in modern history. Thousands of pictures and movies were made of the camps in order to preserve the evidence of just how bad humanity can be. Hiding the truth of those horrors does not prevent them from recurring.

    The truth about what terrorists say is important for people to

  • This is the internet! After you've seen one beheading, you've seen 'em all. Unless they get creative and mix up their style, nobody will give a shit about those videos anymore in a month or two.

  • by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @01:31PM (#51166363)
    The West is still running all the plays in Bin Laden's playbook, I see.

    The very idea of censoring them proclaims our hypocrisy even more loudly than their crimes against humanity: Freedom of Speech (TM) is only allowed for White Christians. Even worse, it lends credence to their conceit that such videos can easily destroy the very concept of a secular, open, democratic society (although even that concept is fraying badly due to self-harm allowed by power-mad fascists). Cowardice, plain and simple.
  • Take the original video off line, and replace it with one of a Special Forces unit taking out the person that posted it on line. Let them all think we have a nice all expense paid resort vacation awaiting them at Guantanamo Bay. All you need do to enter the contest is to post your favourite terrorist slasher video.

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