You are here

Google-YouTube asked to take down terrorist content by Senate Homeland Security Chairman

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Joe Lieberman "Monday called on Google to remove Internet video content produced by terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda. The videos – readily available on YouTube –show assassinations, deaths of U.S. soldiers and civilians, weapons training, incendiary speeches by al-Qaeda leadership, and other material intended to encourage violence against the West."

  • This link includes the Chairman's press release and the Committee's Monday letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
    • (An interesting historical sub-text to this letter, that is worth mentioning, is that in 2000, Senator Lieberman was the Vice Presidential running mate of current Google Senior Advisor Al Gore, a former Vice President of the U.S.)

I link to this Senator Lieberman announcement because it will be telling how Google responds to this reasonable request from Homeland Security oversight authorities, given that Google is the funding patron and well recognized corporate leader of the "net neutrality" movement that has branded net neutrality as the "First Amendment of the Internet." (Never mind that the Internet has never had a constitution to amend.)

  • Will Google be reasonable and recognize that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional freedom of speech has limits such as the prohibition against yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theatre, because it could panic and endanger people.
  • Will Google grasp the analogy that these terrorists, whose purpose is to kill, maim and terrorize Americans and other democracy/freedom-loving citizens of the world, do not constitute free speech that deserves Google's protection? 
    • Or does Google view the U.S. Constitution as an insufficiently global guide and vehicle for its expansive mission to "organize the world's information to make it universally accessible and useful." 

How long it takes Google to respond to Chairman Lieberman and/or to comply fully with the Chairman's reasonable request, will tell us a lot whether Google is tethered first to the U.S. Constitution, or if Google takes its own counsel and has its own ambition to be the global arbiter and defender of free speech on the Internet?

  • Simply, is "neutral-extremism" an oxymoron or Google's world view?