Ian Collins is Leading Britain's Conversation.
8 June 2017, 10:55
James O’Brien: The Internet Is The Unregulated Wild West
In the wake of recent terror attacks, the spotlight has once again been shone on how the world deals with extremist content posted online.
A Youtube hate preacher who called for the “black flag of Sharia over Windsor Castle” has finally had his page blocked.
In a number of videos posted online, Abu Haleema, an acquaintance of one of the London Bridge attackers, also preached against anyone who works against Sharia Law - claiming they would go to hell.
Despite his videos continuously being flagged, it wasn’t until yesterday (Wednesday) that Haleema’s content was blocked in the UK.
But how do you go about regulating against such hateful content? Jame’s O’Brien pondered over the subject as he tried to draw a comparison to “the real world”.
“If you had to describe the internet to somebody who had no idea what it is - what would you point at in the non-digital world?
“Is it like a notice board? Is it like a television station? Is it like a multi-media journalism platform?
“There is no way I could go on the radio and tell you to go to Syria and fight for a prescribed terrorist organising.
“I couldn’t write a newspaper article telling you to construct some sort of suicide vest and detonate it in a crowded concert hall.
“I couldn’t even put it up on a notice board in a public place - I would be breaking the law if I put it on a piece of paper and put it through your letter box.”
As James continued - he pointed out how readily available extremist content was available online.
“You can sit down in your bedroom right now, flip open your laptop and watch very articulate, very sophisticated arguments spouted by very persuasive people that are encouraging you to become a murderer.
“I don’t know if you can make that illegal but it bloody well should be shouldn’t it?”