Should Internet Service Providers
Using websites to spread their message, they have increased their reach In the 21st century, spreading Its radical messages and galnlng recruits In the West. This growth has sparked serious debate about the role of Internet intermediaries (ISPs like AOL or BT but also OSPs like Facebook, Google and Twitter) in the combatting of extremist, dangerous groups using the web as a platform. Some groups suggest that It Is should fall to the Individual Intermediaries to self-police and to block sites that promote various brands of extremism.
Others question whether this action will adulterate free access to the internet more generally, or if this duty should fall to private agents and not the state. It is necessary to make something clear in this debate that the arguments stand in most legal contexts. With some tweaks one might use these arguments to discuss a mandate from the state to require that ISPs block these sites, or to discuss the arguments In the context of a regime In which ISPs have freedom to allow or disallow these sites.
The various arguments have different weight and different emphasis given the paradigm considered. The arguments presented in this debate seek to be open enough to be utilized in varying contexts. For the purpose of this debate, “extremist” can be taken broadly to mean any group hat promotes popular revolution or violent action against the state, individual human beings or groups within society. This definition is quite broad, and the arguments put forward In the following debate can be used quite effectively even If the definition is broadened or narrowed to a degree.
In my point of view, freedom of speech certainly may be curtailed when real harms can be shown to arise from it. Extremist sites serve as centers of dangerous dissent, whose members threaten all of society. They promote a message that Is fundamentally bad speech, because it cannot it cannot be argued with and promotes ims that are so anathema to free society that its dissemination represents a true threat to people’s safety. The threat extremists represent to free society demands that their right to speech online be curtailed.
By blocking these sites, ISPs certainly are denying some freedom of speech, but it is a necessarily harmful form of speech that has no value in the global commons. Thus, there is essentially no real loss of I OF3 Also, it makes it more difficult for extremists to spread their content when blocked. The ISPs are the gatekeepers of information. When the internet places no moral udgments on content and the ISPs let all information through without commentary, it lends an air of permissiveness to the beliefs put forward, that they are held by reasonable people.
The internet is a great tool for education, but also one that can be used to sow misinformation and extreme rhetoric. Extremist groups have been able to use the internet to a remarkable extent in promoting their beliefs and recruiting new members. Worse still, the administrators of these extremist sites are able to choke of things like dissenting commenters, giving the illusion that their view is ifficult, or even impossible to reasonably challenge. In doing so they create an echo chamber for their ideas that allows them to spread and to affect people, particularly young people susceptible to such manipulation.
The best example of this activity is in the international Jihadist community and its reaching out to people in the West. Young disaffected Muslims have received an introduction to militant Islamism from sites often based abroad, but also some domestically, increasing the number of believers in an extreme, militant form of that religion. By denying these people a latform on the internet, ISPs are able to not only make a moral stance that is unequivocal, but also to choke off access to new members who can be saved by never seeing the negative messages.
Also, ISPs are better placed than governments to decide who to block. As the access providers for the internet ISPs are best placed to implement policies for blocking extremist sites and so are the natural option for deciding when and which sites to block. Furthermore, because the state is often slow due its extensive bureaucracy, it is less able to respond with alacrity to extremist sites popping up online. ISPs on the ther hand are likely to be able to act as soon as they are informed of the existence of a website whereas working through government would simply add an extra layer of requests and orders.
The ISPs blocking the site also creates a fire break between the state and the action so not giving the extremists the ammunition that state intervention might give them. Essentially, the good result of eliminating these sites from public access is accomplished faster, more effectively, and with lesser backlash than if any other agent did the blocking. However, sometimes censorship may provide propaganda victory to its targets (the xtremists).
While some people might be enticed by the mystique of extremism as transgressors, far more people will be put off by the positive statement of denying them their favored platform from which to speak. There will always be extremists, but their views must always be challenged and their influence curtailed wherever it is found. In conclusion, ISPs should have the right to ban extremist content. Even though some rights regarding on the freedom of speech may be negatively affected, netizens should be protected from harmful dissident content that may lead to severe
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