Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chairman has challenged the technology industry to collectively use intelligence to aid the fight against terrorism on the internet by creating “Spell-checkers, but for hate and harassment”.
Schmidt wrote in the New York Times that people, technology companies and even governments should all play a role in ensuring that the internet is to be used for the betterment of mankind, and not destruction. He wrote: “We should make it ever easier to see the news from another country’s point of view, and understand the global consciousness free from filter or bias.
Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company wrote: “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.”
Eric Schmidt argued that, the internet has delivered what it was built and designed to do “a world where anyone anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity”.
Schmidt then said: “For all the good people who can do with new tools and new inventions, there are always some who will seek to do harm. Ever since there’s been fire, there’s been arson.” Schmidt concluded that “it’s our responsibility to demonstrate that stability and free expression go hand in hand”
Schmidt’s call resembled call made in a speech presented by President Barack Obama on Sunday evening who argued that “the internet erases the distance between countries, we see growing efforts by terrorists to poison the minds of people like the Boston Marathon bombers and the San Bernardino killers” Obama encouraged all leading tech companies to “make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice”.
Taking control of terrorism on the net has affected the US presidential race, both republican and democratic candidates stressing for increased levels of censorship on the internet. In a speech, Hilary Clinton said: “We’re going to have to have more support from our friends in the technology world to deny online space. Just as we have to destroy [ISIS’s] would-be caliphate, we have to deny them online space.
“And this is complicated. You’re going to hear all of the usual complaints, you know, freedom of speech etc. But if we truly are in a war against terrorism and we are truly looking for ways to shut off their funding, shut off the flow of foreign fighters, then we’ve got to shut off their means of communicating.”
On another occasion, Donald Trump presented a similar call, shortly before demanding that the Muslims are not to cross the US borders. “We are losing a lot of people to the internet,” Trump said. “We have to do something. We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening.
“We have to talk to them [about], maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some way. Some people will say, ‘Freedom of speech, Freedom of speech’. These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people.”