When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. So perhaps its not surprising that when everyone and their dog pops above the parapet with a killer idea for how to deal with Isis, they all seem to suggest doing much the same thing they are always doing.
For example, if you’re a copyright lawyer, then clearly the answer involves using copyright law. Because Isis may be happy to slaughter thousands, but they know that home-taping is killing music.
Paul Rosenwig, the founder of homeland security consulting company Red Branch, has a cunning plan. “What, if anything, can be done to compel providers to take down accounts when they are unwilling to do so voluntarily? The answer, to my mind, lies in an analogy to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).”
You know, the DMCA, the American law which, let’s be honest, hasn’t been totally successful in completely removing illegal content from the internet and therefore might not be a model piece of legislation for navigating the tricky waters of governmental oversight of the internet.
Rosenwig’s idea is elegant, in a way. If you can’t get someone to take Isis propaganda down voluntarily, then make it so that continuing to host it is a crime. But not just any crime – a crime against copyright law, the worst sort of crime on the internet, maybe.
His proposal would allow a government-sanctioned third-party to claim copyright on any content associated with a terrorist organisation, and then fire off their own take-down notices.
Surely … surely there is a simpler solution than that?
We are legion. We are many. We are never gonna give you up
Anonymous certainly hopes so. It’s taken the hammer/nail cliche to the other extreme: when the hammer you have is “the power of arsing around on the internet”, then hopefully you can defeat the forces of international terrorism by arsing around in a really really targeted way.
After reaffirming its “war” with Isis in the days following the Paris attacks, the hacktivist collective has had some concrete success at combating Isis propaganda online.
A hundred thousand twitter accounts have been taken down and five thousand YouTube videos reported to, and subsequently removed by, the service, since the cyberwar began in January. More controversially, Anonymous has also taken to bombarding the websites of Isis-affiliated groups with distributed denial of service attacks, in an effort to knock them offline.
It’s debatable how much such efforts actually help the larger movement against Isis, but the amount of effort Anonymous is putting towards the cause is impressive.
But not everyone involved in Anonymous is fully dedicated to riding the world of terror. Some have a second motivation: the lulz. Which might explain the latest proposed tactic. Anonymous planned to irritate Isis to death by Rickrolling them.
Given the short attention spans of pretty much everyone who spends too much time on the internet – Hal 90210 included – the plan is about as likely to see fruition as Red Branch’s weird copyright idea. But we’ll keep you up to date.
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