Friday, August 19, 2016

Trump Wants To Cut Off Internet Access to ISIS and Other Similar Groups

“Shut Down the Internet” – How Do I Know – Just a Suggestion

Very good article follows by Bree Fowler, AP Technology Writer (The Associated Press) (little changes in format to fit the blog – otherwise fully intact).

INTRODUCTION NEW YORK (AP) -- Donald Trump constantly has called for the U.S. and allies to cut off Internet access to the ISIS and other extremist organizations. Problem is, there isn't a way to do it. Trump first made the demand during a debate back in December, saying in part that the government should work with “brilliant people in Silicon Valley to keep violent extremists offline, even if that means shutting down parts of the Internet.”

But that's not possible from a technical standpoint. The U.S. can't turn off the Internet in other parts of the world. And even if could, such a move would likely hurt more than potential attackers, and it would hinder the government's ability to keep tabs on them.

Here's a look at Trump's idea and why it won't work.

More recently, in another speech Trump blamed Hillary Clinton and President Obama for the rise of ISIS and the instability in the Middle East, he pledged to pursue military operations to “crush and destroy ISIS,” adding that Internet attacks and financial warfare will be essential in dismantling Islamic terrorism and concluding: “We cannot allow the Internet to be used as a recruiting tool, and for other purposes, by our enemy. We must shut down their access to this form of communication, and we must do so immediately.” His proposed actions wouldn't be limited to ISIS as he singled out al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah as necessary targets.

THE FIRST OBSTACLE IS THE INTERNET ITSELF: The U.S. doesn't control the Internet – no one does because the Internet is a global web of networks that are all owned by different governments, companies or individuals, no single entity has the ability to turn it off in parts of the world that it doesn't control.

The only recourse is to destroy the electric grid and other infrastructure in that region — but that's extreme, and it still might not work with the availability of power generators and such. Even within the U.S., ferreting out extremist groups and kicking them off the Internet isn't realistic, given how rapidly the Internet grows and changes. And people have a long history of finding their way around Internet restrictions, whether it's democracy activists in China or Iran, or tweens looking to circumvent their school's firewall.

THE SECOND OBSTACLE IS THE SOCIAL MEDIA: Groups such as the Islamic State have mastered social media for recruiting and spreading their message. Both Twitter and Facebook say they don't tolerate posts that promote violence and will remove such posts when reported by users. Accounts linked to such activity are shut down. Twitter said Thursday that it's suspended 235,000 accounts for the promotion of terrorism over the past six months. But there's nothing stopping banned users from opening new accounts under different names, turning such efforts into the equivalent of “Whack-a-Mole.” So far, Internet companies have resisted preemptively blocking posts, partly because that would require judgment calls about what constitutes terrorism — a definition that differs around the world.

THIRD OBSTACLE (the main one that Trump apparently does not like one bit) IS THAT PESKY FIRST AMENDMENT: Civil libertarians say any attempt to filter out the online activities of extremist groups would inevitably infringe on the free-speech rights of Americans, because it's impossible to block out that speech without blocking legitimate speech, too. While First Amendment protections don't extend to people in other countries, the law enforcement and intelligence communities have mixed feelings about shutting down terrorist chatter online. They say such chatter can help them monitor terrorist activities and prevent a future attack.

THE FOURTH OBSTACLE IS WHAT DO ABOUT CYBER WARFARE: Trump says cyber warfare is one of his key strategies for destroying extremists, but it's not an entirely novel concept.

In theory, hackers for the U.S. or its allies could mount an Internet attack to shut down a terrorist group's recruiting or communications operations, or they could just hack in to surveil the group. While they may not admit it, most countries that have spies now have state-sponsored hackers, too. Many of them see cyber warfare as a cheaper and safer alternative to traditional military action, sanctioned or otherwise. China is widely thought to be behind last year's hack of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. And some experts believe Russia is behind the recent breach targeting the DNC and other DEM Party entities.

Many experts say the U.S. and Israel fired the first shot of the cyber warfare age and were both behind Stuxnet (explained here and also seen in this 10-minute  video). Stuxnet was (and still is) a computer virus that disrupted an Iranian uranium-enrichment facility beginning in 2010 and set back Iran's nuclear ambitions. Neither the U.S. nor Israel has acknowledged any involvement.

My summary: Thinking and proposing things the way Trump does is one thing and encouraged by anyone running for the office, but folks, what he proposes flies in the face of logic, common sense, and any semblance of rational or proven facts about most of anything. The man is shallow when it comes to politics and government and running the country let alone our national defense. He may be good in business and even that is suspect in some circles and logically he should be nowhere near the Oval Office except maybe on a guided tour, even if that is possible, either.

Donald J. Trump is potentially a very serious menace to our entire system and processes of government, cherished freedoms, liberty, and even our basic and overall security (this from the Washington Post). That is not a narrow view from any rabid partisan standpoint, either. It is my honest assessment of Mr. Trump, and I’m pretty sure it’s the same view of millions of others. But, will find out for sure in November won’t we? Hang on tight ~ ~ ~

Thanks for stopping by.

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