The Internet Jihad: Congress takes notice.
It’s surprising (for me at least) to see an elected official in the United States Congress take notice of the “Internet Jihad“. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), a member of the House Anti-Terrorism Caucus, has submitted legislation (HR. 224) that specifically targets web service providers based in the United States like Youtube and addresses the use of these services by Islamist groups for propaganda distribution. I initially learned of this bill via Robert Spencers Jihad Watch and upon doing further research found it quite refreshing to see the topic is making into mainstream political discussion.
The full text of the bill, and a means to track it’s progress, can be found at GovTrac’s entry for bill H.Res. 224. The highlights of it are as follows:
(1) terrorists view the Internet as a key tool in their ongoing jihad to recruit members, spread information, and distribute propaganda for their cause, and, in doing so, they have turned the World Wide Web into a new battleground in the War on Terror;
(2) in a time of war, terrorist videos amount to enemy communications;
(3) while Congress should not regulate the Internet, the owners of websites that share user-posted videos should exercise proper corporate governance and take steps to remove enemy propaganda from their sites;
(4) if the owners of these website suspect that a user on their site is a member of or affiliated with a known terrorist organization, they should cooperate with law enforcement and the intelligence community to report questionable postings; and
(5) Congress recognizes and applauds the work of the SITE Institute, the Society for Internet Research, the Middle East Media Research Institute and others for their work in combating online jihad and creating a resource for public education of the terrorist’s use of the Internet in the War on Terror.
While this bill distinctly addresses the distribution of video, I would say that measures need to be taken regarding other terrorist materials as well. Audio and text files are distributed by much the same means as video. Free file hosting sites like “Putfile” are routinely used to distribute Islamist materials, even seemingly benign sites such as the Internet Archive and Blogspot are being used in this fashion with little or no corrective action being taken by the service provider.
Note the hyperlinks in item (5) above regarding MEMRI, SoFir and SITE, while the Islamists have thier information warfare effort, the West definately has theirs as well. These sites are but a sampling of similiar web sites that are undertaking the effort to combat Islamic Terrorism on the Internet. I’d like to direct your attention to The Jawa Report, The 910 Group, The Counter Terrorism Blog and The Fourth Rail to name a few more.
This bill is a tiny step in the right direction for the information warfare side of the “war on terror”, hopefully a discussion regarding the full scope of this problem will be had by Congress in the not too distant future.
(This is also cross posted at Juba Sucks!)