You don’t need boots on the ground, armed drones or bombs to assist in stopping ISIS from spreading its global reign of terror. The war has long been about ideology as much as public beheadings, and in the digital age, it’s equally important to hinder the dissemination of hateful online propaganda and apprehend leaders of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State.”
But when is censorship really an acceptable reaction to anything? Apparently, now, since the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center deems the “more aggressive takedowns across social media platforms” of late “a really good thing.”
Nick Rasmussen on Wednesday participated at a Justice Department meeting where Apple, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and MTV executives, among others, brainstormed measures for “combating ISIS on social media.”
Twitter in particular has been on an account shutdown spree recently, and Facebook seems to be following suit, sparking the rage of hacking groups supportive of the ISIL “cause.” These have threatened to go after both the social networks themselves and their CEOs and founders, though so far, there’s no indication of Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey’s lives being in any sort of danger.
Meanwhile, it’s sure interesting to see Apple willing to collaborate with the DOJ even as the FBI turns up the heat on Tim Cook to yield and authorize the unlocking of private data stored on an iPhone 5c used by a San Bernardino shooter at the time of the December 2015 tragedy.
But it’s unclear exactly how Cupertino might “counteract the terrorists’ messaging strategy.” Anti-ISIS ads, maybe? Closer iMessage monitoring? Web browsing tracking? Wouldn’t the latter two go against the company’s encryption-protection beliefs? Is this all a publicity stunt to prove Apple doesn’t “side with terrorists”?