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Call For Tech Giants To Face Taxes Over Extremist Content (bbc.com) 179

Internet companies should face a tax punishment for failing to deal with the threat of terrorism in the UK, security minister Ben Wallace has said. From a report: Mr Wallace said firms such as Facebook, Google and YouTube were too slow to remove radical content online, forcing the government to act instead. While tech firms were "ruthless profiteers," governments were spending millions policing the web, he added. Facebook said Mr Wallace was wrong to say it put profits before safety. YouTube said violent extremism was a "complex problem" and addressing it was a "critical challenge for us all." In an interview with the Sunday Times, Mr Wallace said tech giants were failing to help prevent the radicalisation of people online. "Because content is not taken down as quickly as they could do," he claimed, "we're having to de-radicalise people who have been radicalised. That's costing millions."
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Call For Tech Giants To Face Taxes Over Extremist Content

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  • AKA Censorship (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Paleolibertarian ( 930578 ) on Monday January 01, 2018 @11:04AM (#55843573) Journal

    Threatening content providers with SPECIAL tax treatment if they have the wrong content is censorship plain and simple.

    • Re:AKA Censorship (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday January 01, 2018 @11:28AM (#55843739) Homepage Journal

      Sure it's censorship. That's the whole point of it. The big difference between many European countries and the US is that they are more open about doing censorship when deemed beneficial for society as a whole. WWII happened on their own soil, and they want to take steps to prevent it from happening again.

      But most Americans appear to be for censorship as long as it doesn't affect them, and isn't called censorship. Suppressing science, suppressing medical information, suppressing sexuality, suppressing freethinkers, suppressing seditious speak, ... that is apparently fine. But suppressing hate speech is not?

      • Re:AKA Censorship (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Paleolibertarian ( 930578 ) on Monday January 01, 2018 @11:34AM (#55843779) Journal

        No. Suppressing speech is not fine. However forcing broadcasters and content providers to carry speech from "opposing viewpoints" to provide some sort of equality is also wrong. It violates the N.A.P.

        • . It violates the N.A.P.

          No it doesn't. Content providers don't have to carry speech from opposing viewpoints, but then they don't have the ability to avoid being sued for copyright infringement because they are managing their online content.

          Also, the NAP is stupid. But since you're not even applying it correctly...

        • It violates the N.A.P.

          Why wait for the revolution when you can pretend its already happened! I'll clue you in on this one, Libertopia is a fantasy of a tiny fraction of americans and complaining a british politician isnt following a rule soundly rejected by even the majority of americans is flat out silly.

          Look, I dislike censorship as much as the next guy, but if you want to engage in a debate, at least make an attempt to live on the same planet as them.Nobody gives a shit about "The NAP". Hell even Ayn Ran

      • Re:AKA Censorship (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2017q4@virtual-estates.net> on Monday January 01, 2018 @12:59PM (#55844255) Homepage Journal

        WWII happened on their own soil, and they want to take steps to prevent it from happening again.

        Yes, because Hitler was such a big fan of Free Speech, that the dangerous concept must be suppressed. For the Greater Good[tm].

        Suppressing science, suppressing medical information, suppressing sexuality, suppressing freethinkers, suppressing seditious speak

        Without citations, this is all meaningless FUD.

        But suppressing hate speech is not?

        Please, cite the part of the First Amendment, which makes an exception for "hate speech" — however defined.

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          Yes, because Hitler was such a big fan of Free Speech, that the dangerous concept must be suppressed.

          He was a big fan of hate speech. And it worked.

          No more.

          • by mi ( 197448 )

            He was a big fan of hate speech. And it worked.

            He and Stalin were also big fans of censorship [historylea...site.co.uk] — are you sure, you are after the right thing?

            Maybe, you ought to outlaw mustache, aquarelle painting, and vegetarianism — because Hitler was into all three — just to cover all the bases?

            • by arth1 ( 260657 )

              Maybe, you ought to outlaw mustache, aquarelle painting, and vegetarianism â" because Hitler was into all three â" just to cover all the bases?

              You overlooked the second part of my sentence, "and it worked".
              Mustaches, paintings and vegetarianism didn't bring about the holocaust. Hate speech festering in the hearts of the listeners did.

              • No i don't think that explains it. Government propaganda made the people tolerant of government policies, and complicit, and the state made sure to obfuscate the worst parts of those policies. But you make it all about the hate aspect of the propaganda. You can engineer the explicit hate part out of it and remain effective and meanwhile you can suppress the news getting out as hate speech because the rules usually work best for the strong party. A lot depends on balance of power. If you set up propaganda ag

                • by arth1 ( 260657 )

                  No i don't think that explains it. Government propaganda made the people tolerant of government policies, and complicit, and the state made sure to obfuscate the worst parts of those policies. But you make it all about the hate aspect of the propaganda. You can engineer the explicit hate part out of it and remain effective

                  Without hate speech, Kristallnacht could never have happened. Many of us think it must never happen again.

                  And what I see is the same rhetoric and hate speech happening again, and the ones doing it not realising what ugly tools they are becoming. Back in the 20s and 30s, there were jews that were terrorists, unscrupulous money lenders who cared little about whos lives they ruined, and showed contempt for non-jews. But there were also many good and fine people. Hating jews instead of the actions of indivi

                  • Yes I believe hate speech is part of the explanation of the Kristallnacht. Orders of magnitude smaller than what happened to the Jews in WW2 though. Kristallnacht also became possible because the government incited to do violent things against which other laws exist(destruction of property, looting, beating up people). If these laws had been enforced the scale would again have been an order of magnitude smaller. In a state where people are protected by rule of law the impact of hate speech can be minimized

          • >He was a big fan of hate speech. And it worked.

            He was also a fan of censoring all other viewpoints. And it worked. It should be noted that Hitler came to power not because he was elected - because he lost the election for President in 1932, but because he was appointed Chancellor by Hindenburg (who won the election).

            Antisemitism in Germany was less prevalent in 1932 than in France or Poland at the same time. It really kicked off into high gear when Hitler replaced Hindenburg after his death and
        • by gijoel ( 628142 )

          Yes, because Hitler was such a big fan of Free Speech, that the dangerous concept must be suppressed. For the Greater Good[tm].

          He was also a fan of hate speech. Had there been laws against it back then his rise to power and WW2 may have been curtailed.

          Without citations, this is all meaningless FUD.

          Do you even read what you wrote? How about Steven Harper suppressing science. [hakaimagazine.com] What about Trump's banning the use of certain terms such as 'diversity', 'vulnerable', and 'evidence-based' [slashdot.org]. What about banning a group of people from actively serving their country. [abc.net.au]

          It took me longer to write this post than it did to google those terms. Maybe you should do something about the log in yo

          • He was also a fan of hate speech. Had there been laws against it back then his rise to power and WW2 may have been curtailed.

            The Weimar government was indeed worried about the nascent NSDAP. So worried that the army sent one of their intelligence-branch corporals to infiltrate it. And so he did. Too bad that corporal was Literally Hitler.

            What about Trump's banning the use of certain terms such as 'diversity', 'vulnerable', and 'evidence-based'.

            He didn't. [nationalreview.com] "Ban" was part of style guide instituted by car

          • by mi ( 197448 )

            Do you even read what you wrote?

            Yes, I asked for citations. Which you attempted to provide.

            How about Steven Harper suppressing science

            No such thing has ever happened. The people mentioned are government employees — Donald Trump is their new manager. Nothing to do with the First Amendment. (Hint: your mom telling you to stop cursing is not violating the Amendment either.)

            What about Trump's banning the use of certain terms [...]

            Again, the "ban" applies only to government employees — the people, we

      • >Sure it's censorship. That's the whole point of it. The big difference between many European countries and the US is that they are more open about doing censorship when deemed beneficial for society as a whole. WWII happened on their own soil, and they want to take steps to prevent it from happening again.

        TIL that WW2 was caused by a lack of censorship.
    • Doesn't matter, more and more people are all for it. So, how do we protect our rights from the majority if we can't teach them to respect those rights voluntarily?

      • Re:AKA Censorship (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Paleolibertarian ( 930578 ) on Monday January 01, 2018 @12:09PM (#55843959) Journal

        An excellent question. I would start by reminding you that the U.S. was formed as a Republic and not as a Democracy. The Bill of Rights was intended to protect the minority from the depredations of the majority. However the BOR is being ignored more and more by the government and its minions.

        Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          This is where Europe differs. The US Constitution only protects against the government doing stuff to individuals, and relies on the law to create some kind of society that people can actually live and prosper in.

          The two are often at odds - stopping harassment can involve censorship, which is apparently constitutional.

          In Europe we are more explicit about this balance and codify it in law, rather than relying almost entirely on courts to do it. In some ways it's better to do it that way, for example it keeps

        • by twosat ( 1414337 )

          Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

          By using a similar analogy, the USA's solution is to have one wolf''s vote overrule that of two sheep on what's for dinner?

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Time for social media to protest an imposed tax on words?
      Will every comment on social media need a revenue image to say that comment was government approved?
  • by Dzimas ( 547818 ) on Monday January 01, 2018 @11:12AM (#55843645)

    Imagine if Wallace had called for a special tax on newspapers and television stations for failing to "deal with" the threat of terrorism in the UK. That said, the bizarre paid story approach that Facebook uses should be outlawed.

    • Providing an economic incentive for a government to label something as 'extremist' doesn't seem like a good path to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Instead of censuring internet companies for being too slow to remove radical content, how about censuring the UK government for inviting millions of immigrants who had no intention of assimilating British culture?

    If those immigration officials didn't know in advance that this would result in terror attacks, they were in willful denial.

    • What? How else is the UK going to broaden its tax base? More migrants of low status working to support the rich parasites.

      • How else is the UK going to broaden its tax base? More migrants of low status working to support the rich parasites.

        Apparently, the anti-immigration Republicans haven't thought about this.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Monday January 01, 2018 @11:20AM (#55843693)

    Because today it's terrorism, tomorrow it's someone who criticizes Islam or says that Brexit is a good thing.

    • There's no need to over complicate this. We already have a definitive set of rules for social conduct and interaction. It's called The Rust Code of Conduct [rust-lang.org]. Thankfully, there's already an organization dedicated to upholding The Rust Code of Conduct. It's called The Rust Moderation Team [rust-lang.org]. Together they will stamp out all injustice, intolerance, bigotry and hate. They will create a world with diversity and inclusion.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      You mean saying Brexit is a *bad* thing, right? That's borderline treason these days.

      Sadly it will not be resolved in my lifetime. When we end up smashed on the rocks all the blame will be on people who were not patriotic enough, who dared to "talk Britain down" aka be realistic. And like the campaign to leave, the campaign to rejoin will never end.

      • Today, the government line is that Brexit is good.

        Tomorrow, who knows which side will be in power.

        It's already got to the point online that you can't have a positive opinion of Brexit without people tearing into you with insults and abuse - the "anti-Brexit" side is very vocal and strong on social media and are out to destroy any "pro-Brexit" commenters by any means possible.

        • It's already got to the point online that you can't have a positive opinion of Brexit without people tearing into you with insults and abuse - the "anti-Brexit" side is very vocal and strong on social media and are out to destroy any "pro-Brexit" commenters by any means possible.

          I'm OK with that. I've spoken to many Brexiters, and I've yet to meet one who didn't vote brexit for stupid reasons. One chap on here voted Brexit because he couldn't buy creosote any more because of the EU. He flipped his shit and

          • by Cederic ( 9623 )

            I've yet to meet one who didn't vote brexit for stupid reasons

            I've yet to meet one that did.

            I voted to leave the European Union. I don't want my country to be part of a European superstate.

            Maybe you think that's a stupid reason.

            • I've yet to meet one that did.

              Have you asked? I've met people who voted to stay for stupid reasons, even if I agree very strongly with the conclusion. I think if you've never met anyone who voted to leave for stupid reason it's because you never looked. 50% of people are less bright than the average so it stands to reason that a lot of people voted in general for stupid reasons.

              Nonetheless, I'm an optimist so I shall assume you're my first exception. I'm not being sarcastic.

              Maybe you think that's a stupid r

              • by Cederic ( 9623 )

                What the fuck makes you think I vote on utilitarian grounds? Go read Thaler.

                As for a European superstate it's hard to define because so few Brussels bureaucrats are willing to articulate what they're trying to achieve. It's clear they want a common foreign policy and common currency, and those alone drive standardisation across a range of other policies, none of which can suit all members of the EU equally.

                The UK could continue to fund the development of the rest of Europe or we could focus that investment

                • What the fuck makes you think I vote on utilitarian grounds?

                  Fine get angry if you wish. Are you interested in a reasonable discussion or not?

                  I presume that youre making your choices because believe in some overall sense its for the best, because why would you not?

                  One interpertation of that sort of thing is utilitarianism. Was there as an example.

                  Except of course that from a mathematical perspecitve, multi-objective is a bit... well... not fully well defined, so the best thing to do is to try to evaluate so

                  • by Cederic ( 9623 )

                    Too long, can't be arsed. Buy me a beer one day and we can do this in detail.

                    I've been voting against my europhile MP for 18 years. I've seen the EU as damaging to the UK for longer than that, and events in Greece hardly helped.

                    I'm also very aware of the non-EU migration, but even if we can get the Government to tighten that it wouldn't help with unlimited EU migrants (including the naturalised immigrants some EU countries will provide once the beneficiaries of open border policies gain citizenship).

                    Yes, th

                    • I've been voting against my europhile MP for 18 years. I've seen the EU as damaging to the UK for longer than that, and events in Greece hardly helped.

                      Fair enough but I'm still not clear how the EU is damaging the UK. What's been damaged.

                      I'm also very aware of the non-EU migration, but even if we can get the Government to tighten that it wouldn't help with unlimited EU migrants

                      Last year there were about 170,000 non EU migrants vs 100,000 EU ones. While the EU ones are theoretically unlimited they are not in

                    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

                      Hmm. Working time directive has been an irrelevance anyway, every job I've had has required an opt-out and zero hour contracts are a far bigger issue than people actually having work.

                    • Hmm. Working time directive has been an irrelevance anyway, every job I've had has required an opt-out

                      It's illegal to require you to opt out.

                      https://www.gov.uk/maximum-wee... [www.gov.uk]

                      and zero hour contracts are a far bigger issue than people actually having work.

                      There's nothing in the EU which prevent the government acting on zero hours contracts so this isn't a reason to leave the EU.

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      tomorrow it's someone who criticizes Islam

      Good luck criticising that archaic superstitious nonsense in the UK even today.

      Elected members of fucking parliament get censured (not a typo) for criticising the religion of (trucks of) peace.

    • >tomorrow it's someone who criticizes Islam

      Tomorrow? That's already yesterday. The UK WILL prosecute you for hate speech for doing things like...quoting passages of the Koran to demonstrate that Islam isn't exactly founded on an ideology of peace.
  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Monday January 01, 2018 @11:20AM (#55843695)

    ... outside social media and address the root of most of the problems.

    " ... violent extremism ... " isn't a social media problem -- it's a conversation about " ... violent extremism ... " in the real world.

    Those real world problems are due to lack of diplomacy and governance and statesmanship.

    Blocking evil content does not block evil.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The guys blowing themselves up don't do it because of international politics. They do it because they were radicalised online and in religious establishments. Radicalisation is the problem.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      ... outside social media and address the root of most of the problems.

      " ... violent extremism ... " isn't a social media problem -- it's a conversation about " ... violent extremism ... " in the real world.>

      Fixing social issues is hard. Why would a government do that when they can use it as a means of boosting their revenue from the private sector?

  • All those terrorists are nice local kids radicalized by Google and Facebook. Sure, sure...

  • by bagofbeans ( 567926 ) on Monday January 01, 2018 @11:33AM (#55843771)

    ...by not being a party to killing civilians in so many foreign countries.

    • by Kernel Kurtz ( 182424 ) on Monday January 01, 2018 @11:55AM (#55843895) Homepage

      ...by not being a party to killing civilians in so many foreign countries.

      This. The West - the US and Britain more than others, but all the collective West - obsessively meddles in other countries politics, meddles in other countries wars, arms and props up brutal dictatorships, and obviously in doing make lots and lots of enemies.

      People ask "why do they hate us?".

      I ask "what, are you fucking stupid?"

    • Because this worked so well for Tibet...

      Radicalization is not caused by countries being engaged in war. Terrorist groups might use this for propaganda purposes but it's not the root cause. Further, not all wars are evil.

      Propaganda and radical ideology creates terrorists; nothing less, nothing more. Why is it that more Muslims die by the hands of other Muslims than non-Muslims? Notice that this has nothing to do with countries killing civilians. Why are "honor killings" so popular in the Middle-East? It's a

      • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

        Radicalization is not caused by countries being engaged in war. Propaganda and radical ideology creates terrorists; nothing less, nothing more.

        War has nothing to do with it? Okay, imagine that tomorrow you pass some guy on the street who asks you to join an attack on a US government building that is likely to end in your death. Imagine what your response would be to this person.

        Ok, now imagine that that same guy asks you to join in the same attack - after your entire, completely innocent, extended family

        • Radicalization is not caused by countries being engaged in war. Propaganda and radical ideology creates terrorists; nothing less, nothing more.

          War has nothing to do with it? Okay, imagine that tomorrow you pass some guy on the street who asks you to join an attack on a US government building that is likely to end in your death. Imagine what your response would be to this person.

          Ok, now imagine that that same guy asks you to join in the same attack - after your entire, completely innocent, extended family has been killed by drone strikes at a wedding.

          Believe what you will, but study after study has shown that the vast majority of suicide bombers come from affluent families that are untouched by war. They are just brainwashed in school (college/university no less) while the rest of us are not. On the other spectrum, they found many suicide bombers wanted to commit attacks to redeem their "family honor" after failing to make it anywhere in life. There is a problem in Arab culture that attaches great importance to subjective forms of "family honor" and mak

  • No censorship, no fear of being banned (unless you spammed). I know it's still accessible but seeing BurfordTJustice is posting in alt.home.repair the writings on the wall.

    • The usenet still exists exactly because the masses never caught on. If you could reach a sensible amount of people with it, that thing would be outlawed so fast...

  • The only reason that the big tech companies says it is a "complex problem" is because they don't want to hire people to review the massive amounts of drivel that gets spewed out on their website. Of course, someone will say "it is impossible" to review it all because there is "so much content", but that is baloney. You might need to hire hundreds of thousands of people to do it, but they are making billions so they could do it.
    • You might need to hire hundreds of thousands of people to do it, but they are making billions so they could do it.

      Hmm, billions divided by hundreds of thousands...that works out to about $10K annually per new employee. Assuming they aim at not making any money, of course.

      So you're advocating that they hire a lot of Minimum Wage workers to sort through their content to save you from the horror of seeing something you don't want to see?

      Yeah, I can see where minimum wage workers will be really great at sort

      • Don't forget the OP is probably an advocate of the $15/hr minimum wage. So in fact, you could NOT hire that many employees.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Government clowns can't figure out how to tax corporations, period. How are they going to tax corporate "badness" when they can't even tax their profits?

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday January 01, 2018 @12:00PM (#55843925)

    How about giving people no reason to become extremists? How about giving people a reason to live instead of making them susceptible to promises of a great afterlife because they notice that they can't get anywhere in this life because everywhere they look they see a dead end?

    No, that's unpossible, right? That would cut into the bottom line of the people paying you, you old ho!

  • by jcr ( 53032 )

    Ben Wallace is a brain-dead fascist prick.

    -jcr

    • Well, at least there has been some education if you only realised *today* what Ben Wallace is. Others have known this for some time.

      I note the BBC slyly put their own opinion about this on the article, "effectively a fine", as that is exactly what it is. Tax is paid according to income, not action that is deemed criminal. I don't pay more tax if I do over a Post Office. I may well pay a fine, but the amount is in no way dependent upon how much I earn.

      To even attempt to call this a tax is so fucked up and co

  • I mean after all one persons extremist content is another man's right to free speech, if this is something serious then there needs to be some safeguards to prevent legitimate free and protected speech from being targeted

  • Their content is created by society, so they reflect society. If you don't like what you see reflected, breaking the mirror is a natural impulsive response but it doesn't actually change society. It just lets you pretend what you saw isn't there anymore. But since it was just a mirror, it's still there, only hidden and still festering.

    If you're concerned about people being seduced by extremist content they encounter (be it online, in newsletters/books, or just by talking with other people), your effor
  • It is the responsibility of government to prevent radicalization, by assuring kids a quality education so they will grow up able to know when someone is using bullshit to trick them into destructive behavior, and by assuring adults justice so the messages of extremist wackos wonâ(TM)t find fertile ground in the minds of people who think their society has gone to shit.

    For example: in America, an extremist wacko conspiracy theorist NUT convinced huge swaths of the country that America was no longer

  • It's a money grab, power creep, and blamestorming, all in one. "See, it's not our fault, we told the tech companies to stop terrorism! They couldn't so we took their money!"
  • Better to simply give them a set goal and tell them it is the law, with fines on them if they fail to meat the goal.

    Something simple like "down within x minutes", with penalties for taking the wrong stuff down.

    • oh so you''re for censorship and against free speech

      you should move to N. Korea, they've got it under control

  • If you outlaw hate speech, just define anything you dislike as hate speech and you legally shut down the opposition. Take, for example, groups like antifa. They call anyone to the right of Stalin a nazi. They define speech they disagree with as hate speech. Then they use violence to prevent speech because stopping "nazis" and "hate speech" is a good thing.

  • Those bad guys are forcing honest governments to impose censorship, which they HATE! Ha ha ha!
  • I don't care for the KKK OR the Black Panthers but I respect their right to say the stupid things that they say .... perhaps rather than policing speech we embrace free expression
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Farmers should be fined for producing food that goes to extremists. They know that these extreme groups can't exist without food, yet the just keep producing it. It's just ruthless profiteering and it's time we put a stop to it.

  • than doing what is right.

  • If government expects private companies to assume the functions and responsibilities of government (extraordinarily dangerous idea) they should be getting a cut of existing tax dollars as compensation for that work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    > "Because of encryption and because of radicalisation, the cost of that is heaped on law enforcement agencies," Mr Wallace told the newspaper.

    Becoming moderator of the entire internet will heap far more on law enforcement.

    Censorship is also likely to result in more extremism. On the one hand companies will play it better safe than sorry eliminating any content that might fall foul of the law. On the other hand this kind of authoritarianism will turn more people against the government and law enforcement

  • Whoever is in the opposition is an extremist.

    Venezuela is our shining example for removing extremist content.

    Also the IRS auditing organizations specifically because they aligned themselves with the TEA party is another shining example.

The young lady had an unusual list, Linked in part to a structural weakness. She set no preconditions.

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