Saturday, January 09, 2016

Obama administration, Silicon Valley meet do discuss countering enemy "propaganda" recruiting youth


The Washington Post, in a story Saturday morning by Greg Miller and Karen De Young, l reports “New tack against ISIS propaganda; US to revamp faltering online war; Task force to coordinate efforts to counter recruiting”, front page.

A meeting was held by Skype in Washington and at a location in a hotel in Silicon Valley.  US Tech companies are reluctant to become police in this problem (related to Section 230, at least indirectly), other than by stating terms of service (like the “Twitter Rules”) which now explicitly ban recruiting for terrorism.  But companies are generally dependent on users to report it, beyond some very crude online screening.   It would seem plausible that messages from some countries could be looked at more closely (something both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump seem to be proposing now, although earlier some ideas had been proposed to shut down many social media functions completely, see Dec. 8).
 
State Department efforts to distribute “counter propaganda” seem to be ineffective.  Young men and women who are susceptible to such ideology are confused by growing up in a collective social culture (often religious) but surrounded by a hyper-individualistic outer culture that lets people “get out of things”.  Susceptibility to propaganda is a hallmark of heavy socialization. It's one of Validmir Putin's favorite concepts.
   
The meeting apparently did not address the other big question of providing a “back door” to encryption that allows criminal and terror-associated communication to go dark.

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