UK targets jihad websites-Inquirer
February 7, 2012
Government wants ‘extreme’ web sites shut down
ISPs expected to aid censorship
The Inquirer: February 6, 2012
THE AUTHORITARIAN UK GOVERNMENT is asking internet service providers (ISPs) to help it rid the world of ‘extreme’ political web sites.
A report from the UK Home Affairs Committee has appeared on government web sites this morning and warns of an increase in such web sites and calls for more help in shutting them down.
“More resources need to be directed to these threats and to preventing radicalization through the Internet and in private spaces,” blathered Keith Vaz, chairman of the committee. “These are the fertile breeding grounds for terrorism,” he blustered.
According to its research the internet is one of the “most significant vehicles for promoting violent radicalism”, and is even worse than “prisons, universities and places of worship”, the committee’s report said.
“Witnesses told the Committee that the internet played a part in most, if not all, cases of violent radicalisation,” it added.
That is a bold claim, but it is enough to justify an internet witch-hunt it seems. “The Committee recommends that internet service providers themselves should be more active in monitoring the material they host, with appropriate guidance, advice and support from the Government,” added the Committee.
“The Government should work with internet providers to develop a code of practice for the removal of material which promotes violent extremism.”
Unfortunately, although it does not make much of it, the Committee’s investigations found that actually there is not much of a link between the internet and radicalism.
“Many of our witnesses cited the internet as the main forum for radicalisation,” says the report before admitting that this contradicts other government research.
“This seemed to be contradicted by more recent Home Office-commissioned research, which concluded that the internet ‘does not appear to play a significant role in Al Qa’ida-influenced radicalisation’,” it admitted.
“Even those witnesses who attributed a significant role to the internet tended to support that report’s conclusion that some element of face-to-face contact was generally essential to radicalisation taking place, including with regards to the extreme far right.”
However, it has an argument to get around this inconvenient fact, which is that the internet can influence people.
“By definition this does not deal with the issue of self radicalisation which by its very nature takes place in isolation and concerns have been expressed about the impact of ‘Sheikh Google’ on individuals who may be vulnerable, but have not been identified as starting on a journey of self radicalisation,” it claimed.
The report was greeted with disappointment from Loz Kaye, the leader of the UK Pirate Party. “Violence is born of too little information, not too much. We need a free functioning Internet if the aim is to engage,” he said.
“Yet again it seems that politicians’ solution to any problem is to pass the buck to ISPs.” µ