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United States Government The Internet Politics

U.S. House Says the Internet is Terrorist Threat 457

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-is-my-chilli dept.
GayBliss writes "The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 1955) last month, by a vote of 404 to 6, that says the Internet is a terrorist tool and that Congress needs to develop and implement methods to combat it."
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U.S. House Says the Internet is Terrorist Threat

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  • Sensationalist FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KingSkippus (799657) * on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:19AM (#21504717) Homepage Journal

    Holy crap, that title and summary is misleading.

    I just read the bill (linky [govtrack.us], it's not that long), and the Internet is mentioned only once:

    The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

    That's it, nothing else. The bill's purpose is to establish a committee to study violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism, and to assist federal officials in training and education efforts to prevent such things.

    If you disagree with spending tax dollars to do that, then I don't have a problem with that. If the committee comes up with some outlandish plan to regulate the Internet as a result of their research, then I agree we need to get worked up about it. But the bill does not say that the Internet is a "terrorist threat," and it sure as hell does not define the Internet as a "terrorist tool that Congress needs to develop and implement methods to combat."

    • by faloi (738831) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:23AM (#21504773)
      Of all the times to need mod points... This is among the most sensational, FUD filled summaries I've seen on /., and that's saying a lot.
      • by Hierarch (466609) <CaptainNeedaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:03PM (#21505401) Homepage
        Beyond that, I actually wish I had a way to apply mod points to an article instead of a comment. This is the worst I've ever seen on slashdot. (Which tells you I haven't been reading as assiduously as most of you, I'm sure...)
        • by The Great Pretender (975978) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:27PM (#21505795)
          I should have read the article, I just had my computer arrested and sent to jail for conspiring with terrorists.
        • by s13g3 (110658) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @01:05PM (#21506433) Journal
          Please mod parent article flamebait/troll.

          Would you really expect anything less from CmdrTaco? Not that I think the people who work for the major media and went through 4 years of it in college are doing any better a job, but I think that he (and thereby /. and it's audience) would benefit greatly from his taking a few journalism courses. He's got the hang of sensationalism alright, but perhaps he should examine the finer aspects of journalism like clarity, consistency, intellectual honesty, in-depth research providing valuable insights to the reader instead of FUD, etc., etc. It's not as if he hasn't been at this a few years now... You'd think that, being a commercial website focused on delivering news and information to geeks, that, just perhaps, by now they'd have learned how to do a little research and actually provide some real information and intelligent articles instead of just blindly passing along whatever some troll dragged up off of a random news site.

          You know, actually, I think a system to apply mod points to articles themselves and perhaps not just the person who passed along the article, but the editor who posted it would be a nice addition. Add karma into the mix, and perhaps we'll eventually see who the best of the /. editors are, with the potential for good, community conscious editors to rise up from the user pool who have some concept of what "news for nerds" really means, which would involve real information based on honest inquiry and research instead of just forwarding along unfounded FUD. Give a stable selection of long-time readers with positive karma and posting scores the ability to see articles before they're posted and vote on their relevance, accuracy and "truthiness" before they're slammed out to the general readership... and maybe even the ability to edit those submissions into something that actually resembles news and information, and we might have something worthwhile going here. As it stands, /. is every day becoming more like a blog or sci/tech oriented version of del.icio.us, and less a medium for reliable, thought-provoking news and information.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by thej1nx (763573)
            On the other hand it speaks volumes about the US government and the politicians, that people almost readily are willing to believe anything about them, and that the editor would approve the submission so casually.

            It is not like that one can say with any certainty, that the congress is not likely to pass such a bill(Internet deemed a "terrorist" threat/tool and people with a internet connection at home, required to be finger printed and put under surveillance) in near future. They have passed the DMCA, copy
        • by Garabito (720521) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @01:28PM (#21506751)
          Maybe voting down the story in the firehose [slashdot.org] could have an effect.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hobo sapiens (893427)
          No, you're right. I think this gets voted as "Worst Slashdot Story Ever" or at the very least "Worst Summary Ever" or maybe even "Most Successful Troll Ever".

          I am not into the usual Zonk bashing, because I don't think he's a bad editor. This one was from Taco himself. What gives here?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by etinin (1144011) *
      Still, look at this:

      (3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

      I've never seen any terrorist propaganda in the web and I don't think any american has ever become a terrorist because of the internet... They're starting with this statement, tomorrow they may pass a bill to effectively censor the internet.

      • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:36AM (#21504951) Journal
        I have seen terrorist propiganda on the web. Plenty of people have.
        I've also seen US propiganda. For that matter, I've seen propiganda for every country and continent with a significant population or wielding significant world power (i.e. not Antarctica). Beyond that I've seen [insert religeon-of-choice here] propiganda, political party, and corporate propiganda,

        Propaganda is all over the net. It doesn't take much effort to find it for any PoV,a nd often times, it finds you without you looking. The trickier propiganda is the more subtle kind - the kind that is either well developed or subtle.
        • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:47AM (#21505157)
          I've seen plenty of terrorist propaganda too. For example, look at the Lancet Report which claims that not only around 650 000 people have died between 2003 and 2006 in Iraq due to bringing democracy to that country, but even more hienously it claims that at least 30% of those deaths were caused by direct coalition actions. Clearly, this study only serves to destroy the morale of our troops and it should not be permitted to exist on the web.
          • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @02:12PM (#21507401)
            You were modded funny, but this is also quite insightful.

            A)Simple disagreement with an idea that is being widely spread automatically makes it "propaganda" to the one disagreeing.

            B)Many of our politicians have argued that some accurate speech should not be spread because it can cause feelings that they disagree with, such as low morale for our soldiers or high morale for our enemies. Unfortunately, they've been very effective at silencing those that disagree (see above) with this line of reasoning.

            Some people accuse the Lancet Report of being inaccurate. I don't know if it is or not, but if you think it's inaccurate then say so. As soon as you start arguing that it's hurting morale, then I know you're full of shit. If it was simply wrong, then saying/proving that should really have been enough.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Exactly! And it was endorsed by subversive organisations such as the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence [bbc.co.uk]. Bunch of pansy, bed-wetting, bleeding-heart liberals.
        • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:52AM (#21505239) Homepage Journal
          The trickiest propaganda is that which everyone knows to be false, yet habitually act as if it were true.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          And propaganda is not necessarily "bad". Propaganda is a means to spread your ideas. You can be passive and hope someone goes to the library or a webpage and reads up on you or you can be active and drop fliers, knock on doors etc. Most "propaganda" on the web I wouldn't label as such. If you go to www.jihad.com you are looking for information not having it forced on you, information isn't propaganda just because a particular group wants you to know it. Heck I'd love for everyone to have a basic understand
        • I've seen propaganda for the Antarctic. See this link!

          http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/af/Tux.png/180px-Tux.png [wikimedia.org]

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Blakey Rat (99501)
          You can see propaganda on mainstream news sites, if nowhere else. Look at the coverage of recent riots in France on CNN, and notice how the culprits are always described as "youths." They used to be described as "Muslim youths" a few years ago, but the word "Muslim" was dropped. Also look at the photos the BBC decided to run to accompany their article, and notice how it includes photos of burning cars, buildings, and cops-- but there's not a single photo of any of these "youths".

          I'm not a crazy conservative
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Pope (17780)
            Did the BBC & others go out and interview every single rioting "youth" to discover what religion they were? If not, then dropping the "Muslim" adjective is the proper thing to do. Leaving it in is far more inflammatory, no pun intended.
        • For that matter, I've seen propiganda for every country and continent with a significant population or wielding significant world power (i.e. not Antarctica).


          You'd better watch out... those penguins can be awfully crafty! Last I heard, they were recruiting hollywood big-names like Morgan Freeman to their cause.
      • by brunascle (994197) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:37AM (#21504965)

        I've never seen any terrorist propaganda in the web and I don't think any american has ever become a terrorist because of the internet...
        i agree, but it depends on your definition of terrorist.

        going by most peoples' definitions, e.g. Al Qaeda, then probably not. but if you include anarchist groups, earth first, etc, then there are plenty of examples. and i'm pretty sure the government's definition is the latter.
        • by Elemenope (905108) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:29PM (#21505817)

          The government's definition of terrorist is so plastic that, like justification for traffic stops, it can be made to fit any case. I imagine without too much imagination someone like me could be called a "terrorist" in the government's eyes because I expressed faux shock in an earlier post today that Ron Paul and B. Obama, being so sensible, haven't been shot yet, since nobody so sensible should ever get to be president in the US. (Note to Secret Service: still kidding. Seriously.)

          The problem is, people organize for all sorts of reasons, and frustration (justified or otherwise) often leads to radicalization, and along with that, rash words. If the government was really serious about combatting terrorism, esp. domestic terrorism, it would seem more sensible to go after root causes than to waste a huge heap of resources policing the great wide world of the Internet for anything that sounds even remotely scary and dangerous.

      • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:40AM (#21505031) Homepage Journal

        They're starting with this statement, tomorrow they may pass a bill to effectively censor the internet.

        In that case, then let's all get worked up about it tomorrow. I don't like the idea of creating a movement and protesting stuff that may happen. Right now, they just want to study it and help in education efforts against it, and that's fine with me. Like I said, if you don't think the tax dollars are worth it, that's one thing, and I can respect that opinion. But to present it as if the bill itself is an attempt to censor the Internet is just plain incorrect.

      • by aadvancedGIR (959466) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:46AM (#21505139)
        Same for me, I saw all my Ben Laden speachs on major TV evening news.
      • Now google for "reuters propaganda" and voila, propoganda, on the net. Offcourse the sites you find are also propoganda.

        'Terrorist' propoganda is very easy to find, if you never come across it, well, you must have had your head in the sand. Given that you are apparently ignorant of this, why should we attach any credit to the fact that you think no terrorists have ever been recruited over the internet.

        It is like you saying "I never seen porn on the internet and I don't think Y" don't matter why Y is, the

      • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:16PM (#21505617) Homepage Journal
        And once again we as americans sit back and do nothing.

        The personal, as everyone's so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally.

        Get angry.

        The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here -- it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide out from under with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can.

        Get your message across. That way you stand a far better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous, marks the difference -- the only difference in their eyes -- between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people, they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it's just business, it's politics, it's the way of the world, it's a tough life, and that it's nothing personal. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.

        As told by Quellcrist Falconer, and I have to agree.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by sm62704 (957197)
        I've never seen any terrorist propaganda in the web

        I see you've never been to this site! [whitehouse.gov]

        -mcgrew
    • I visit slashdot for two reasons now:

      - Force of habit to see the lion's share of interesting articles related to science and technology, even if some are a bit old.

      - To see what politically driven garbage gets submitted and accepted to the main page today, and maybe even have a good laugh.

      No one here, is interested in actually discussing the real merits or drawbacks of this bill. Just spreading sensationalist lies based in the belief that any law related to terrorism or homeland security is really intereste
      • by Goaway (82658)
        I come here for the trolls, and even they have seem to be getting fewer and further between.
        • by Nimey (114278)
          Kuro5hin.org is famous for its trolls, and gods know it can use some more story submissions.
      • by UncleTogie (1004853) * on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:54AM (#21505265) Homepage Journal

        No one here, is interested in actually discussing the real merits or drawbacks of this bill.

        Actually, I'd already submitted this [slashdot.org] for discussion back on the *2nd*, 'cause I'd noticed some provisions in the bill that are a little vague... Read the passage I quoted there for an example.

        FUD aside, it has more potential for abuse than the DMCA, and that's saying something...

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          The summary you submitted on the 2nd is more misleading than this one. In it, you stated "One of the main problems here seems that the wording is so vague that simply resisting arrest {an offense that, in the US, is generally considered to be using force} could be deemed prosecutable under the current draft." Nothing is prosecutable under the current draft of the legislation, because it doesn't define any crimes.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Reziac (43301) *
          You ought to quote your journal entry here in the discussion, where more people will see it.

          I had similar thoughts ... the potential ramifications in conjunction with other bills that also purport to "prevent terrorism", and the possibilities toward ever more selective law enforcement (such as your examples in your journal).

          The camel's nose is in the tent, all right. :(

      • that any law related to terrorism or homeland security is really interested in oppressing Americans for purposes of control, and nothing else
        You've just described a superset of fascism and there are a growing number of people inside the US and especially outside that think the USA is starting to show signs of a fascist regime.
      • by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:10PM (#21505537) Journal
        You got mod points, but it doesn't seem like you are putting emphasis where it needs to be. With what was stated in the bill, it is also plausible that public libraries, Popular Science magazine, the Radio Shack catalog, the USPS, the public switched phone systems, and dozens of other things that might qualify as helping to spread terrorist ideals, assist in terrorist activities, or otherwise be used by terrorists.

        We all know the folly of prohibition. If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. I think that applies here. The Internet does NOT need to be singled out, and by doing so elected officials are signaling their intent to scrutinize and censor the Internet. Do you really think that the Internet had anything to do with the OK city bombing, or the Unabomber? Do you think that the Internet helped the DC snipers? do you think that law enforcement will use any valid data they get on terrorist activities from the Internet... or will they fsck it up like they did with the relevant data they had about the 9/11 plan to use planes? To date I have not seen ONE case where post 9/11 knee jerk reactions and Patriot Act provisions have helped to stop any terrorist activity. In fact, all the actual successes I've heard of came about through standard pre-9/11 law enforcement methods.

        Don't naysay people who worry just because your myopic view of the writing on the wall is all blurry. Remember, in the beginning the Patriot act seemed like a good idea to a lot of people. In fact it seemed like a good idea to the very people that are suggesting this bill be passed into legislation. fool me once, shame on you... fool me twice, shame on me !

        You, and the rest of the world, would do well to be VERY worried about anything that even suggests a hint that it might be the intent to monitor, datamine, censor, or filter the Internet by the government. Do you think that the Great Firewall of China is a good idea? You should read how the Chinese government describes it.

        If the Internet is abused in anyway in the name of security from terrorism, sit back and wait until you need permission to buy bug spray for your house, or you get a visit from the Feds when you purchase household chemicals in one month period that can be used to create explosive devices. Wait till your car/truck has to be searched prior to entering any major metropolitan area.

        How long will it be before you give up all your freedom for these little efforts that don't ACTUALLY say that they intend to use them to take your freedoms?

        And finally: For fsck sake man! Why are we now fighting 'home grown terrorism' at all? when the Unabomber was active.. did we need this? When the DC snipers were active, did we need to fight home grown terrorism? When the OKC bombing took place, did we need laws to fight home grown terrorism? The short answer is NO. The reason that we need it now is so that the executive branch can continue to push war powers privileges to further shrink the rights of citizens. As long as there is a WAR on terror or drugs, they will get to push your rights right down the toilet. Terrorists, and the origin of the term comes from the French Revolution http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism [wikipedia.org] and guess which side the 'terrorists' were on? Every successful terrorist has broken at least a couple normal laws that are already in force. Making special provisions or laws for crimes committed by people who are 'deemed' terrorists is nothing more than a tool to take your liberties.

        Should we call mass murderers terrorists? Should we call arsonists terrorists? Should we call anti-war protesters terrorists? Should we call gay-bashers terrorists since they are promoting their ideology through violent action? Sure, now lets just lump in all hate crimes... hell, lets just make any violent crime a terrorist offense. That kid that started the fires in California: is he a terrorist? And you are totally screwed if you do something unusual in Boston, perhaps there we can call jaywalker
        • by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @01:43PM (#21507007) Homepage Journal

          It establishes a commission, which will study some things, and suggest some things, any or all of which are required to be Constitutionally valid. It also calls for the establishment of a vaguely defined academic center to study the problem.

          It doesn't prohibit anything. It doesn't call for the prohibition of anything. In theory the commission could come back with suggestions to prohibit things, but a) they might not - they could come up with monitoring strategies, figure out why the terrorist propaganda works on some people, and provide counter-propaganda strategies, and b) suggestions of prohibition would still have to become law.

          Commissions are generally a way to look like you're doing something, when in fact nothing is being done.

          So unclench.
        • Sure, your being smug because you know your friendly federal agents who are not ACTUALLY going to be monitoring the Internet have already classified Me as a possible terrorist agent. They'll be wrong, but that is what they are wont to do.

          Your post is so damned crazy, I don't know where to start. Take off your tin-foil hat. Go outside and get some fresh air.

          You got mod points, but it doesn't seem like you are putting emphasis where it needs to be. With what was stated in the bill, it is also plausible that public libraries, Popular Science magazine, the Radio Shack catalog, the USPS, the public switched phone systems, and dozens of other things that might qualify as helping to spread terrorist ideals, assist in terrorist activities, or otherwise be used by terrorists.

          Moderators are apparently attracted to really long posts, but don't read them.

          You COMPLETELY missed the point of the bill, and jumped to wild conclusions. I can't even stomach arguing your idiotic points, and I doubt anyone else can.
          Please, start watching more C-SPAN, stop reading blogs, and try to get half a clue how our government actually works before putting your silly conspiracy

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Waffle Iron (339739)

        I visit slashdot for two reasons now:

        I disagree. AFAICT, you actually use your early subscription privileges to compulsively scan every new article on slashdot to find those that are in any way critical of centralized government authority. Then, no matter what the particulars of the issue, no matter how benign or draconian the actions in question, you write a long multiple paragraph f1rst p0st where you express your staunch support of each and every case of expanded government authority or surveillance powers. Blissfully ignoring the lesso

      • by RingDev (879105)
        Isn't this the same type of legislation that was used in the 60's-70's to infiltrate anti-war movements and incite violence to give the Government more power to arrest and prosecute those people who would have been perfectly legal vocal objector's had the Government not paid to motivate them?

        Maybe it's just a bit too conspiracy theorist, but the balance between investigating violent radicals and harassing innocent dissenters is a fine one, and this bill sure looks like a step well over that line.

        Of course,
      • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:33PM (#21505869) Journal
        Just spreading sensationalist lies based in the belief that any law related to terrorism or homeland security is really interested in oppressing Americans for purposes of control, and nothing else.

        Isn't it? The fact that anti-terrorism measures oppress the american people is self-evident. This might be permissible (might) if it was actually done to increase our security. What evidence is there that this is the case? Has ANY measure taken since 2001 done anything to actually prevent terrorism?

        Frankly I don't see any, and the only conclusion I can come to is that the entire "homeland security" debacle is a power grab pure and simple.


        When you're that jaded, to the point you really believe that, I guess I can see how it wouldn't be possible to have any real debate or intelligent consideration of the topics.


        That's a nice ad hominem dismissal of a very important viewpoint. I think you're the one who doesn't want any real debate on the issue. Otherwise you wouldn't dismiss it without intelligent consideration.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gription (1006467)
      Your forgetting that there is nothing scarier then people communicating!!!

      (The sad part is that it is that while it is a funny statement, it is basically true and some fool will probably try and ban unapproved communication so they will feel safer. (and then once they are 'safer' they will still be much more likely to die while driving to the 7 Eleven...))
      • by Chas (5144)
        You've never seen some poorly socialized slob trying to pick up a girl have you?

        "Scary" only BEGINS to describe it...
    • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:28AM (#21504847) Journal
      darn.

      I wanted to see them get lost planning where to send the tanks on the invasion of the internet... They have to find tubes big enough for the tanks after all!

      Or GWB trying to decide which of the internets to invade.
      • I'll just fly my server into some government building ;)

        Now on to the Beowulf cluster version of this joke.
    • Taco just wanted a chance to pimp his chili.
    • Hm... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mateo_LeFou (859634)
      Thinking over that line in the bill a bit, it occurs to me:

      Communication of *any kind "has aided in facilitating violent radicalization" -- because all communication can be propagandistic.

      The question vis-a-vis combating terrorism is whether the (pun) *net effect of interconnectedness via a series of tubes is to increase or decrease radicalization.

      It's really a question about whether you trust the good information to get out at a faster rate than the propaganda.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by maclizard (1029814)
      I agree. Generally, I am the first to jump on the anti-government bandwagon, but this bill does not say the internet is a terrorist threat.
    • by palegray.net (1195047) <`philip.paradis' `at' `palegray.net'> on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:45AM (#21505111) Homepage Journal
      There are problems with your post:

      (1) You apparently read the article. We don't "read" around here... we telepathically absorb article details from around the globe.

      (2) You took time to derive logical deductions and causation factors from the ideas presented in the article. Way too much effort; your time would have been better spent trying to one-up the wild assertion that is the story headline.

      (3) You implied that Congress has acted in anything less than a knee-jerk, know-knothing, insert-more-hyphenated-words-here manner. Anyone Slashdot user with half a brain knows that Congress has never produced any meaningful debate or results in all of history.

      Sheesh, man... go drink some coffee and wake up, or something...

    • by kwerle (39371)
      WTF, Taco?

      How about a retraction or correction? Just once admit that it was really dumb to post this "story".
    • by totallygeek (263191) <sellis@totallygeek.com> on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:09PM (#21505509) Homepage

      Holy crap, that title and summary is misleading.


      Partially true. Why specifically name the Internet? We could substitute the word with any of the following: Postal system, library, school system, etc. This sets a horrible precendence and seeds the idea that the Internet must be controlled or even dismantled.

      • Did you read the bill? Or did you respond to someone else's post about someone else's post about the post that said the Internet is mentioned only once?

        `SEC. 899B. FINDINGS.

        `The Congress finds the following:
        ...
        `(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

        Why specifically name the Internet? We could substitute the word with any of the following: Postal system, library, school system, etc.

        And now your suggestions, with my own

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bishiraver (707931)
      My problem with it is simply that they're swinging at windmills. What sort of evidence do we even have that there are violent radicals planning huge attacks in this country?

      The plots that have been foiled so far have been more of "a bunch of hicks with half-baked ideas that could never even come to fruition short of massive incompetence on the part of generic law enforcement" deal.

      Then again... massive incompetence is what a lot of this country's current problems boil down to. Either that, or calculat
    • by natoochtoniket (763630) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:27PM (#21505793)

      Let's play word-substitution here:

      The Free Press has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

      Freedom of Speech has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

      I don't see any difference between a "Press" and "The Internet". Paper and web sites are both just media for publishing. The fact that a lot of stupid or misleading stuff gets published is not new. One definition of "propaganda" is "speech by your political opponents". Political speech is, of course, the most highly protected form of free speech.

      Seems to me the bill is facially unconstitutional.

  • Let's see... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:19AM (#21504735)
    Sponsored by a Democrat.

    Consponsored by 10 other Democrats (and 4 Republicans).

    Passed 404 - 6.

    The summary:

    Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 - Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to add provisions concerning the prevention of homegrown terrorism (terrorism by individuals born, raised, or based and operating primarily in the United States).

    Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to: (1) establish a grant program to prevent radicalization (use of an extremist belief system for facilitating ideologically-based violence) and homegrown terrorism in the United States; (2) establish or designate a university-based Center of Excellence for the Study of Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States; and (3) conduct a survey of methodologies implemented by foreign nations to prevent radicalization and homegrown terrorism.

    Prohibits the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to prevent ideologically-based violence and homegrown terrorism from violating the constitutional and civil rights, and civil liberties, of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.


    Wow, sounds like something we really shouldn't be looking into!

    The bill contains the word "Internet" ONCE in the Findings section, in the sentence:

    "The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens."

    Hmm. If someone could explain to me how that isn't a factually correct statement, I'm all ears.

    Also, if someone could explain how that implies that the "Internet" is exclusively defined as a terrorist tool, as is the implication of the summary, that'd be great.

    It says what it says: "The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens."

    True or false?

    And we, as a nation-state that ostensibly values our own existence and structures of government, shouldn't be looking for ways to prevent "violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism"? Of course it all matters how it's done. But it appears there was a good deal of consensus here -- almost complete consensus -- and no one can argue it was done for publicity or because of pressure, since this was a relatively low profile bill.

    Conclusion:

    Terrible, terrible, terrible summary, from someone who probably buys the hype that every homeland security or terrorism related law is a secret plot to create a police state, shut down the internet, or trample the Constitution -- anything other than, you know, actually legitimately trying to find ways to do what they say they're going to do in the text, and which is the actually the charge of many components of government (e.g., counterterrorism).

    Why not include all the articles about the Senate version, too, and how it eviscerates free speech, guts the Constitution, creates a world of "thought crime", and how the mainstream press are covering it all up because they're administration lapdogs, and how liberal Democrats really don't understand what they're authoring, sponsoring, and passing (or, better yet, how Democrats are really far right, and Republicans are ULTRA, super far right, and no "liberals" are left in Congress)?

    Or maybe we can just use slashdot as a pulpit for more crackpot garbage instead of any real debate?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by andytrevino (943397)

      The bill even includes an entire section on how any actions the DHS takes "shall not violate" civil rights and civil liberties, and requiring an auditing mechanism of those actions:

      `SEC. 899F. PROTECTING CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES WHILE PREVENTING IDEOLOGICALLY-BASED VIOLENCE AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM.

      `(a) In General- The Department of Homeland Security's efforts to prevent ideologically-based violence and homegrown terrorism as described herein shall not violate the constitutional rights,

    • by snarkh (118018)
      "The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens."

      Hmm. If someone could explain to me how that isn't a factually correct statement, I'm all ears.


      The statement may sound plausible, but do you have any evidence that it is factually correct?
      It seems to be just an opinion, not fact.
    • by Carik (205890)
      "The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens."

      Hmm. If someone could explain to me how that isn't a factually correct statement, I'm all ears.


      It's entirely factually correct! Every time I look at an American news site, I'm exposed to "broad and constant streams" of propaganda about terrorism. Of
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wytcld (179112)

      providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens

      There have always been "broad and constant streams" of every sort of propaganda available to "United States citizens" because of that pesky Constitutional "right" called "freedom of the press." That is, if we're willing to call narrow and intermittent streams "broad and constant." That's a matter of perspective, maybe. But any good public library has a broad selection including radical materials that any

      • The entire premise of your comment is wrong.

        No one is saying speech, or freedom thereof, should be the first of anything to "go".

        They're simply stating that the internet is used as a tool for radicalization, and it is: it allows people who may be susceptible to such views, for whatever reasons, to cooperate, organize, communicate, and reinforce one another's positions and ideas. It's significantly different than the conventional press, because the internet, and information sharing in general, is a much grea
    • by Vellmont (569020)

      Hmm. If someone could explain to me how that isn't a factually correct statement, I'm all ears.

      Also, if someone could explain how that implies that the "Internet" is exclusively defined as a terrorist tool, as is the implication of the summary, that'd be great.

      There's a larger premise here. If you mention anything specifically as "aiding/creating/whatever terrorists", it must mean it's some kind of special class of thing that's doing that. I'd say that the interstate highway system "has aided in facilitat
    • by db32 (862117)
      Well unfortunately for you, rational thought was declared a "thought crime" already. Please report to a processing center where we can waterboard the intelligence right out of you. They are after all "gathering intelligence" right?

      In all seriousness its depressing to see this trite on front page like this. Talk about lost credibility. I frequently point people to the more technical/science related articles on what the government or megacorps may be up to and then this kind of insanity shows up. I am
    • All that hot air, and no actual insight. Barely even informative.

      Yes, the text is sponsored by democrats. Where's the relevance? Considering the consensus behind it, Teletubbies could have come up with it. Yes, it is important to look into preventing violent radicalization. Duh. As you so eloquently said, the how is the problem.

      Here's why I'm at the very least mildly suspicious of this: Congress has proven time and time again that it will use the threat of terrorism to pass any bill, and that the powers in
    • by mangu (126918)

      "The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens."

      Hmm. If someone could explain to me how that isn't a factually correct statement, I'm all ears.

      Easy. The bill specifically mentions Islamist extremism as one of the motivations for terrorism. The internet contains plenty of images of naked women. Acco

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      Consponsored by 10 other Democrats (and 4 Republicans).

      What people don't seem to understand is that we have ONE viable political party in the US, the Corporate Republicrats.

      How many Senators voted for the Bono act? ALL of them. How many voted against the PATRIOT (AKA "Cowardly Congress is Scared Shitless Act)? Three. Which wing of the Corporate Republicrat Party voted for the Bankrupcy Deform Bill last year? Both of them. How many Senators are for legalizing marijuana? Zero. How many Representatives? Zero.

      T
  • Keep in mind. (Score:3, Informative)

    by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot@@@exit0...us> on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:20AM (#21504743) Homepage
    Just because it passed in the House doesn't mean that it will get anywhere in the Senate.

    The House tends to do stupid things that the Senate will ignore or stop.

  • If the Internet is labeled a terrorist tool, you can bet we'll see a great deal more of regulation and wiretapping on the part of the US government against its citizens, while also inadvertently providing a shield for tyrannically governments such as Syria and the People's Republic of China, who can just use the "terrorist tool" excuse for their repression, and point to the US.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:21AM (#21504759)
    against this. He said he would never vote for controlling the internet in general.

    But I guess he voted for the terrorists now.
  • Firehose (Score:5, Funny)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gmaUMLAUTil.com minus punct> on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:22AM (#21504771) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure glad we had the Firehose to filter out crap like this.

    Oh, wait...
  • Oh C'MON! (Score:5, Informative)

    by rindeee (530084) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:23AM (#21504781)
    How did this submission get green lit?!?! This is completely irresponsible. Cripes Taco, go back to posting dupes or something.
  • by higgins (100638) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:24AM (#21504795)
    Slate has a pretty decent write-up about the bill [slate.com].
  • The Internet is a communications tool, just like radio, the telephone, and the telegraph.

    I'm sure all have been used by insurgents, terrorists, and rebels.

    These same tools are used every day for good purposes.

    *YAWN*
  • After all, we helped build it, and look at how we're terrorizing the world right now. Damn right it's a terrorist tool - *OUR* terrorist tool.
  • "Sirs, I respectfully suggest we begin an operation to download the Internet for further analysis. Budgetary requirements to fulfill this necessity will begin at 500 Billion USD, adjusted for our bad dollar value to approximately 800 Billion USD."

    "I concur! Commence downloading! The sooner we start, the sooner we'll get to the bottom of this Internet conspiracy!!"

    [[Thunderous applause]]
  • (9) Certain governments, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have significant experience with homegrown terrorism and the United States can benefit from lessons learned by those nations.
    No fucking way am I going to sit by and let my government take advice from sissy countries like Canada and Australia. Write your congressman and tell him that we need to ignore completely any and all progress made by other nations...the future of America depends on it.
  • Last time I checked, there was not 404 Democrats in the house. So a vote of 404 to 6 would most likely include Republicans as well.

    And I'd like to know why the 6 voted against it - after RTFA (you did, didn't you?) it seems like the bill is worthy of passing.
  • by GreatRedShark (880833) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:44AM (#21505093)
    Does anyone else find it amusing that the number of votes it passed by was 404?
    I guess to reflect what will soon happen to the internet...
    (and the captcha was "congress". hmm...)
  • Definitions... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bmo (77928) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:46AM (#21505141)
    "`(4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term `ideologically based violence' means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs."

    Well, that's it then. This bill renounces the motivations behind the Revolutionary War.

    I want a law banning Independence Day celebrations, any burning of the Gaspee in effigy (Tea in the harbor? Wimps. _We_ burned a British tax ship to the friggin waterline), Bunker Hill battle reconstructions, and anything else related to "violence in the name of ideology"

    What a fucking joke.

    --
    BMO
  • by Spinlock_1977 (777598) <Spinlock_1977@ya ... m minus caffeine> on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:53AM (#21505247) Journal
    Poor Al Gore - looks like he invented the very weapon that will destroy the US.
  • Yeah, ok. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mikachu (972457) <jjburke.hunter@cuny@edu> on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @11:58AM (#21505333) Homepage
    404: Intelligence not found.
  • Keep crying wolf (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zen_of_it (1182823) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:15PM (#21505609)
    Look I've been reading slashdot for years now, but you guys really need to tighten up your editorial. You keep crying wolf when it comes to anything government related and the cracks are starting to show. I know you guys hate Bush with a passion(I'm not too fond of the guy myself), but you can't let hatred be the prism you view everything through or you become that which you hate. I've read the bill and really tried hard to figure out how you've drawn such conclusions, but don't see anything that would warrant such a sensational headline. I'm starting to see the lefties turning into what they despise most; a PROPAGANDA MACHINE! Don't let it happen guys!! I don't exactly see things the way you do, but realize the value in having other's opinions. The problem is your opinions; more and more everyday; seem to have less basis in reality and therefore aren't even worth arguing over. You're starting to look screwy. In conclusion; take a breather before hitting post on your next sensational headline.
  • Yet another reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:30PM (#21505823) Journal
    This is why we, the techs and the geeks, need an organization that can both educate and lobby Congress.

    It was just a few years ago that someone asked "Who represents you, the geeks, to Congress?"
    He started an organization and it died because all the people who complain about things like this don't bother to provide support to groups that would help prevent this kind of thing.

    If you haven't learned yet, you can't unring a bell. Once something becomes law (DMCA, Copyright extensions, PATRIOT Act, etc, H1B laws) it is damn near impossible to get rid of it.

    Quit bitching about it and do something about it. Help create a group to educate and lobby Congress on our behalf.
  • by DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:35PM (#21505909) Homepage
    To prevent homegrown terrorism, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

    SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007'.

    SEC. 2. PREVENTION OF VIOLENT RADICALIZATION AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM.

    (a) In General- Title VIII of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 361 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new subtitle:

    `Subtitle J--Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism

    `SEC. 899A. DEFINITIONS.

    `For purposes of this subtitle:

    `(1) COMMISSION- The term `Commission' means the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism established under section 899C.

    `(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.

    `(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

    `(4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term `ideologically based violence' means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs.

    `SEC. 899B. FINDINGS.

    `The Congress finds the following:

    `(1) The development and implementation of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.

    `(2) The promotion of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence exists in the United States and poses a threat to homeland security.

    `(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

    `(4) While the United States must continue its vigilant efforts to combat international terrorism, it must also strengthen efforts to combat the threat posed by homegrown terrorists based and operating within the United States.

    `(5) Understanding the motivational factors that lead to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence is a vital step toward eradicating these threats in the United States.

    `(6) Preventing the potential rise of self radicalized, unaffiliated terrorists domestically cannot be easily accomplished solely through traditional Federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts, and can benefit from the incorporation of State and local efforts.

    `(7) Individuals prone to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence span all races, ethnicities, and religious beliefs, and individuals should not be targeted based solely on race, ethnicity, or religion.

    `(8) Any measure taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism in the United States should not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, or civil liberties of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents.

    `(9) Certain governments, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have significant experience with homegrown terrorism and the United States can benefit from lessons learned by those nations.

    `SEC. 899C. NATIONAL CO
  • Dual use (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davecl (233127) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:56PM (#21506253)
    Screwdrivers and printing press also tools of terrorists. Must be combatted as well...
  • by fzammett (255288) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @02:01PM (#21507271) Homepage
    One of this generation's greatest thinkers, the comedian Gallagher, I think said it best:

    "There's a reason 'Congress' begins with the word 'con'. 'Con' is the oppsosite of 'pro', so 'Congress' must be the opposite of 'progress'."

    My friends, wiser words have never been spoken.
  • by jank1887 (815982) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @02:02PM (#21507289)
    Hmmm... where's the button for me to bury this headline/summary as misleading/inaccurate???

    A really digg-worthy headline though. I must commend whoever put it together. Would have hit frontpage on digg in 3 seconds with misleading garbage like that.

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