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Censorship Google United Kingdom Youtube Your Rights Online

Google Reveals "Terrorism Video" Removals 194

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-it-down dept.
jones_supa writes "Google has revealed it removed about 640 videos from YouTube that allegedly promoted terrorism over the second half of 2011 after complaints from the UK's Association of Chief Police Officers. The news was contained in its latest Transparency Report which discloses requests by international authorities to remove or hand over material. YouTube had also rejected many other state's requests for action. Overall, Google summed it had received 461 court orders covering a total of 6,989 items between July and December 2011. From those, it said 68% of the orders were complied with. Google added that it had received a further 546 informal requests covering 4,925 items, of which it had agreed to 43% of the cases."
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Google Reveals "Terrorism Video" Removals

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  • Censorship, much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by evorster (2664141) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:10AM (#40359387) Homepage
    Why is it that some people believe that if they hide away from something that something ceases to exist?
    • I believe its called 'creating an illusion'.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Google also censored the 16-year-old girl who was reading from her Bible the passages that forbid gay marriage. (They claimed reading a text that has been revered by billions of humans beings over 6000 years is "hate speech".) Sometimes they are a little heavy-handed with their removals. Meanwhile they left the videos calling her a "cunt" and threatening to murder her as okay.

        • by Grygus (1143095) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:56PM (#40362959)

          Hate speech doesn't stop being hate speech because someone writes it down. It also doesn't stop being hate speech because a whole lot of people agree with it. The Bible is less than 500 years old. If people did not submit the other videos for removal, then it's not a judgment call on Google's part.

          I have no idea how your post got modded insightful.

          • On the other hand, saying that there is no such thing as same sex marriage is not hate speech. Saying that you should kill gay people who marry would be.

          • by cpu6502 (1960974)

            >>>Hate speech doesn't stop being hate speech because someone writes it down. It also doesn't stop being hate speech because a whole lot of people agree with it. The Bible is less than 500 years old.
            >>>
            I stopped reading here. The various books Christian Bible was consolidated around 300 A.D. making if FAR older than a mere five hundred years!!! (How could you be so dumb???)

            >>>I have no idea how your post got modded insightful.

            Ditto! "500 years." That is in no way insightful. T

    • by zero.kalvin (1231372) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:21AM (#40359523)
      I guess they know that, but they want to make it harder for anyone to find these things. Now I understand if it is regarding material on how to construct IEDs or similar things. But if these videos promotes terrorism then why not let them? Look at this from my point of view, arabic is my fluent language and I have easy access to that sort of material, but I am not going to be convinced by these videos just because I saw them. However there is a positive side for this, by hearing what they have to say, I gain more information on them and the way they think. So for me the average person I can better articulate my objections to these people, and be able to say with knowledge why these people are bad, and not just "they hate us for our freedom" - Sorry to break this to you, they don't hate you for your freedom. Now for you, who is not from that region, or someone who doesn't speaks arabic, you should have access for these videos because how else would you understand them if they were not presented to you ? The state is stupid to think that people would suddenly resort to terrorism just because they saw some bearded asshole with a machine gun and screaming "death to the infidels" --- Not letting you see that is more dangerous than you actually seeing and understand what he is saying. ~~~Rant over
      • Re:Censorship, much? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Loughla (2531696) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:33AM (#40359625)
        I've always wondered this, but my own investigations have proved futile:

        Sorry to break this to you, they don't hate you for your freedom

        So, if they don't hate us for our freedoms (I'm with you on this point - that's the whitewashed, political reason), what do they hate us for? Is it our economic policies? Our military strategies? What is it?

        Because I'm at a total loss, and I can't get any real information about this in the states. Why did the Islamist extreme folks start wanting us dead? Who kicked that off, and what the hell is it all about?

        • Re:Censorship, much? (Score:5, Informative)

          by jonnythan (79727) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:39AM (#40359695) Homepage

          Because of our involvement and activism in the middle east. We have steadfastly supported Israel since its creation, we invaded Iraq and toppled its government, we have participated in the overthrow of Iran's government, etc etc. We've messed with and in many cases toppled with the national governments in Iran, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and others.

          We've been dicking around in their business for 70 years. It's easy for the US to send some troops and equipment over and have a massive influence by installing dictators, killing people, etc. - all while pretending it's perfectly acceptable. They don't have the resources to do that, so we get car bombs.

          • by fishthegeek (943099) on Monday June 18, 2012 @11:32AM (#40360311) Journal
            Bull crap. Thomas Jefferson was a president who had to handle Muslim piracy with warships, which escalated into the First Barbary War. The Europeans didn't have any stake in the middle east when the Moors invaded Europe, which created the sentiment of containment that sparked the crusades. You need to stop drinking the kool-aid. Many other countries have steadfastly supported Israel since it's re-establishment in 1948, and the list of countries that support, and trade with Israel is huge (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_relations_of_Israel [wikipedia.org]) so simply stating that our support of Israel is causal in certain groups hating the United States is nothing more than ill informed nonsense. Some (certainly not all) Muslim states have ALWAYS engaged in violence against non-Muslims, and it will always be that way. I write all of this as a vet of the Persian Gulf War; so I have been there and, I will also say that some of the most hospitable, kind, and wonderful people I have ever met were also Muslims in the middle east. I do not want anyone to get the impression that I have a grudge against Islam because I do not. That said, history isn't kind to the idea that certain Islamic states (or groups if you prefer) hate us for any reason other than because we're not them.
            • by cpu6502 (1960974)

              >>Bull crap. Thomas Jefferson was a president who had to handle Muslim piracy with warships, which escalated into the First Barbary War. The Europeans didn't have any stake in the middle east when the Moors invaded Europe, which created the sentiment of containment that sparked the crusades.
              >>>

              I fail to see how events of 200 or 800 years ago have any relevance to present events. The young men who join terrorist armies are not fighting because of some ancient war. They are fighting because o

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by cdrguru (88047)

                Those who refuse to learn from history are condemmed to repeat it.

                Just because people in your age group feel that events 200 years ago have no meaning to them does not mean other cultures feel the same way. In part, Jews have a worldwide problem because many Christian people hold a grudge against something 2000 years ago. Conflicts today in many cases rooted in conflicts many years ago. Irish and Scottish independence is rooted in events more than 600 years ago and the brutality that was inflicted upon t

                • by cpu6502 (1960974)

                  >>>Just because people in your age group feel that events 200 years ago have no meaning to them does not mean other cultures feel the same way.

                  Our soldiers have been showing photos of the WTC attacks to the locals. So far they've found NO locals that even knew what the building represented, or that there was an attack. These people have next-to-zero education, and only care about the present, and their own little world. They SEE the Americans are killing their neighbors but have no idea why.....

                  • by tibman (623933)

                    You must be talking about some really backwater locals. I have never seen an Iraq city that didn't have internet cafes and tv. My experience is limited to Iraq and Kuwait but i didn't find them to be stupid. Some were uneducated but that doesn't equate to them being simple. A good comparison would be American "country folk" who get a bad rep from "City people". They are typically viewed as backward (from popular view), but surely not stupid.

                    If you really want to get into who is killing who.. it's Arabs

                • The formation of Israel may have been a mistake, but it was a mistake that was designed in the aftermath of WW II

                  FTFY

              • It's relevant because violent attacks have been a part of the middle east region for thousands of years and will continue to be. It doesn't matter what the United States does (except for adopting Sharia) because as long as we aren't the same as them we, and everyone else, will be targets.
            • by Bigby (659157) on Monday June 18, 2012 @12:09PM (#40360779)

              US monetary and political support for Israel dwarfs all other countries combined. You follow up your argument that saying they hate us because we aren't them. So why don't they focus their attention on Switzerland? The Vatican? Canada?

              We are the big fish in transgressions against their will. Whether their will should be tolerated or not is another story, but the transgressions are the cause, not just because we are free or we simply exist.

          • The concept of warmongering Islamic fundamentalism, and the associated terrorist activity, predates the creation if the state of Israel, not to mention invasion of Iraq etc. Sayyid Qutb wrote the works that outline most ideas [wikipedia.org] guiding al-Qaeda and the likes today back in late 40s to early 50s, and was preaching them even before that.

        • I wrote this some time ago in another discussion, while it's not the same subject. If you read it you can understand how it is related. http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2546664&cid=38189330 [slashdot.org]
        • by Teun (17872)
          One single but simple to check reason for some Muslim fanatics to hate the US is the occupation of their second most holy place by Israel and the support Israel gets from the US.

          Any person with access to a (public) library, newspapers, news magazines or the internet can find many more reasons.

          A discussion about the validity of these claims is often difficult but in any case lost on those guys.

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          >>>what do they hate us for?

          Because we keep killing Arabs. We've been killing Arabs ever since we first attacked Iran in the 1950s and overthrew their democratic government (replacing it with a dictatorial government). More recently we starved a million Iraqi children by blocking food shipments into their country (90s) and directly killed or maimed another 2 million during Bush's Iraq War. Then we bombed Yemen and bombed Libya, killing about 50,000, and permanently disabling another 200,000 with

          • by bkaul01 (619795)
            Iranians are Persian, not Arab. And we've killed plenty of Europeans and East Asians in various conflicts without it leading to jihadism. It's not an issue of ethnicity, but one of an extremist religious cult amongst various Muslim peoples that teaches that terrorism is a desirable means of spreading Sharia Law throughout the world. That's not to say our meddling really endears us to the people in Arab states, but it's not sufficient to explain the level of hatred that exists.
        • by Artraze (600366) on Monday June 18, 2012 @11:15AM (#40360111)

          Regardless of why they might say they 'hate' the US (infidels, meddling, etc.) the real reason is, at the end of the day, not a whole lot different from why the US 'hates' the terrorists: They want an enemy.

          They have a lot of social and political problems, and because they cannot fix them (and really, do not want to because that would require advocating their control) they create a war. It lets the leaders accumulate more power while giving the people someone to blame for their problems other than their leaders.

          Why the US? As the 'most powerful' country it's easy to come up with reasons (and not necessarily inaccurate ones!) that it could have negatively impacted people (e.g. selling arms to Israel, trade stuff, cultural influence, etc). That also means that you are expected to lose your war, which is nice because it means you don't really have to try that hard because you can also blame your failings on them being too powerful. This gives a bonus of making you then underdog and any small victory huge. The are also a few other things like being non-islamic and well known and all that.
          (As you'll note, the basic ideas here are what makes terrorists, in turn, a great enemy for the US: far away, impossible to actually defeat, and different(==bad).)

          • by Pope (17780)

            Why the US?

            Because the US is the biggest meddler in the region, plain and simple.

        • You should watch the outstanding documentary "Taliban: Behind the Masks" It won't give you a full answer to your question, but perhaps a partial one. Ignorance plays a crucial role.

          Nowadays, with all the media and the Net, people often forget how different life can be in remote places. Then again, from what I remember of the documentary, the taliban themselves do not seem to be so different from us even if they have a wholly different frame of mind.

        • by JazzLad (935151)

          People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk. We're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome.

          (Young) River Tam, Serenity [imdb.com]

        • by moeinvt (851793)

          "....what do they hate us for?"

          This is why it's important to have free and open communication. We can listen to Bush say "they hate us for our freedom", when we should be getting the word from their point of view.

          Various Al Queda figures have said repeatedly that their main grievances are U.S. military occupation of their holy land and unconditional U.S. support for Israel.

          With regard to Iran, the U.S. CIA conducted a coup to overthrow Mohamad Mossadegh, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran,

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          So, if they don't hate us for our freedoms (I'm with you on this point - that's the whitewashed, political reason), what do they hate us for? Is it our economic policies? Our military strategies?

          The biggest reason they hate us right now, according to surveys and writings from people in the region, is that US drones are rountinely blowing up civilians with no involvement in terrorism. In addition, if you show up at the funeral of a person killed in a drone strike, you're now on the suspect list. I mean, imagine you're a typical Yemeni man who goes to work, does some shopping, heads home to your family, and finds that instead of a home and your wife and kids, you have a pile of rubble and a bunch of

        • Re:Censorship, much? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by phantomfive (622387) on Monday June 18, 2012 @12:34PM (#40361125) Journal
          They hate the US because of Lady Gaga, because she is immoral and sinful. Not because of her fashion choices, but because they are opposed to music. American culture is corrupt, and it is spreading to the Middle East. (Note that Western Europe at one time had huge fights over whether music was moral or immoral as well, so this is not something unique to Islam).

          Sayyid Qutb [wikipedia.org] was an important proponent of this way of thinking, and had a lot of influence in the formation of Al Qaeda. Some people [wsj.com] suggest cultural immorality [wsj.com] is more important to global jihadism than what the US did in Iran 50 years ago (remember Iran is not Arab anyway), but who knows if they are right. Certainly American 'immorality' is an important aspect.

          The way I see it for Bin Laden, he was a rich powerful guy, wanted to get into politics (ambitious people often do), but the only way to do that in Saudi Arabia where he lived was to have a revolution. There was absolutely no way to have a revolution with the US supporting the Saudi government. So the obvious first step is to remove the US from the situation. The simple way to do it is to hit Americans hard somewhere, then they run. Americans don't stick around, they run, just like after the Beirut hotel bombings. After America was gone, it would leave Bin Laden free to start a revolution, and it would also make him look very powerful. Middle Easterners are drawn to power, much like in the European middle ages (or really for most of history).

          Because lets be honest, with all the mistakes and problems the US has caused in the Middle East, we are still much nicer and better than their own dictators.
          • The important thing to understand is that there is a difference between motives of individual people in the Islamic terrorist movement, and the driving ideology of that movement as a whole. Most certainly, there are many muji's that are there because their country was attacked etc. And it's quite possible that bin Laden got involved originally because of US support of the ruling Saudi regime. But once they become part of the movement, their concerted action is driven by ideology of that movement - and that

      • Understanding your government's enemies, even if you disagree with them, is dangerous to your government. If you do not believe what your government tells you, you might not support them anymore. The videos are dangerous to some, but that is okay.

      • by evorster (2664141)
        I pretty much agree with you. Censorship in all forms are bad.

        Hate Speech? - Let the world see what a douchebag looks like for real.

        CP? - The damage is already done.. find the bastard who did it, and do bad things to them, but taking the sick depraved things off the net does not do anything to stop it happening in the first place.


        I fully believe that people _need_ to see the horrors of what other people are doing, so that they have a sense of perspective.
      • Now I understand if it is regarding material on how to construct IEDs or similar things.

        This, also, is protected speech under the first amendment. Even some questionable material should remain available. Picking and choosing what is acceptable and what is not is the first step on a slippery slope to tyranny and dictatorship.

        Now if someone is doing something illegal on video, threatening illegal action, or inciting others to illegal action, then that should be removed. Saying "Go build one of these and throw it at a government building" should not be allowed. Simply showing HOW to build one sho

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          >>>Now if someone is doing something illegal on video, threatening illegal action, or inciting others to illegal action, then that should be removed. Saying "Go build one of these and throw it at a government building" should not be allowed.

          The U.S. Supreme Court has already said that such speech is protected by the first amendment. They said the only time it would be outlawed, is if the person was actually holding a gun or weapon and saying, "I'm going to kill you." The case where they made this

        • by cellocgw (617879)

          Nobody is going to 'join the terrorist cause' because they saw someone shouting nonsense about the 'evil western powers'. The personal ideals videos are harmless except to my ears and opinion of the Human race.
          The successful conversion of millions of US citizens to dittoheadism suggests otherwise.

      • by Bob9113 (14996)

        how else would you understand them if they were not presented to you ?

        I think it is potentially a mistake to believe that our Western political machine wants us to understand Muslim extremism. Irrational fear is a much more effective means of controlling the public than dispassionate analysis.

        I might hesitate to say such a thing were the evidence not so painfully clear. I love what my country is supposed to stand for, but it is hard to claim that we are on the path of our principles when there is a push to [buzzfeed.com]

    • by jonnythan (79727)

      The idea behind suppressing undesirable or illegal videos is the same idea behind advertising. Companies spend money on advertising because advertising works. Deleting or otherwise suppressing what amounts to "terrorist advertising" is helpful to suppressing terrorism itself (or at least active recruitment/incitement to terrorism).

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Only 640 removals is more like censorship, little. A drop in the sea basically.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      Why is it that some people believe that if they hide away from something that something ceases to exist?

      Google is a business, they don't have to follow freedom of speech in youtube.

      If the Terrorist really want to their videos being hosted, they will have to host it themselves, Youtube/Google isn't required by any laws to show them.

      Youtube isn't a public forum to speak your mind, it's a business that can exclude anything they want.

      • by moeinvt (851793)

        I understand your point, but the point of this story is that the removals are being done at the request of government authorities. This is not Google making independent decisions about what to remove.

  • Terrorism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Once upon a time, the term 'terrorism' was used for attacks that inflict terror upon the population. Now, it seems to be used indiscriminately and anyone you don't agree with is a terrorist.
    • by equex (747231)
      yup that is the case
    • Note that Google didn't claim that the videos were terrorist, but rather that they "promoted terrorism". Most people would consider a video that supported the militant operations of al-Qaeda to have "promoted terrorism".

      On the other hand, a video that urged extending legal protections to al-Qaeda detainees, such as those in Gitmo, might be widely disagreed with in some circles, but would not be censored by Google for this reason, because it's not promoting terrorism proper. Make sense?

      tl;dr -- It's fun to

      • I believe you're stating your opinion on what 'promoting terrorism' means, not the governments in question or Google's. Would a factual documentary that showed some element of the Taliban, for example, in a positive light be considered 'promoting terrorism?'

        In an age where much political dissent is treated as 'promoting terrorism' there is a pretty obvious slippery slope.

        • I agree re: the slippery slope. The Taliban is an interesting case. It's true that they have been allied with al-Qaeda at various times; but to the extent that we find factions of the Taliban to be fighting a defensive war for parts of Afghanistan, it isn't completely accurate to classify them as terrorists. At some point it seems hopeful that we could determine that al-Qaeda has been sufficiently exterminated along with many of their Taliban allies, that Afghanistan is engaged in what amounts to a civil
      • I think a much better use of their time would be to remove videos that are blatantly detrimental to common knowledge, like factual statements about the existence of Nabiru, or pseudoscience claiming the end of the world, or 'cure AIDS by praying', various conspiracy theories, etc. These things give people false hope which they believe as fact because it is presented in a semi-professional manner. That is the REAL danger on YouTube.

        • by moeinvt (851793)

          At one time it was "common knowledge" that the Sun orbited the Earth, the earth was flat, taking a bath more than a few times per year was unhealthy, Newtonian mechanics was completely accurate, The Knack was going to be the new music of the '80s and Iraq had WMD.

          Thank goodness you weren't around to censor information that was detrimental to common knowledge.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Loughla (2531696)
      I find it interesting that the words terrorist and troll have evolved to mean roughly the same thing.

      Terrorist - someone I don't agree with - probably lives somewhere sandy.

      Troll: someone who I don’t agree with - probably lives in a basement somewhere.

      • Terrorist: Blows up buildings and transportation.

        Troll: Blows up chat rooms and forums (with nonsense)

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          Terrorist: Blows up buildings and transportation.

          Well, by that definition the US military is by far the biggest terrorist organization on the planet. Of course, the US military's official definition of "terrorist" is "Any male person between the ages of about 14 and 50 that we just killed in a drone strike."

  • 32% (Score:4, Funny)

    by hackula (2596247) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:22AM (#40359527)
    The 32% they absolutely refused to take down were videos of cute little kittens.
  • by Psyborgue (699890) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:24AM (#40359539) Homepage Journal
    Free speech concerns aside, I'm much more afraid of terrorists promoting their agenda in the dark than those who shout it from the rooftops. It's a lot easier to keep track of people stupid enough to put themselves out in the public sphere (and those who associate with them).
    • by funwithBSD (245349) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:37AM (#40359673)

      No free speech issues here at all. The service is privately owned, they can decide who can show what on their service. You have no rights on their private service.

      Now, perhaps you can be mad about who they choose not to serve, but they have the rights, not the people uploading the images.

      • by Psyborgue (699890)
        That's very true, but here we have a government ordering a private entity to take content down, unless i'm misreading the summary.
        • Summary and original article imply APCO is a government agency.

          It is not.

          • by Psyborgue (699890)
            Aha. Maybe Google wasn't aware of this either. The name of the association sounds mighty governmental.
          • by moeinvt (851793)

            TFA mentions much more than APCO, for instance

            "the firm said it had received 461 court orders covering a total of 6,989 items between July and December 2011."

            • Yes, but not regarding terrorism.

              Again, the Slashdot summary reads like the other removed items were terrorism related, and they were not.

      • No free speech issues here at all.

        Of course there are free speech issues involved. It's just that this kind of censorship is perfectly legal.

        • by guises (2423402)
          Yes. Just because the first amendment doesn't apply doesn't mean that this doesn't impact speech, or isn't important.

          Insistence on asserting absolute property rights over a forum that Google has made every effort to sell as a public one is also very narrow-minded. If a private entity can censor on a whim, then the only way to have free speech would be to prevent private ownership of public communication mediums.
      • by Hatta (162192)

        In a world with a strong public commons, private restrictions on speech don't affect free speech much. But in a world where the public commons has been impoverished, where almost everything is owned and controlled by (and to benefit) private interests, then freedom of speech only belongs to those who own the means of communication. That's not what we should expect from a democracy.

        We once made it illegal to censor or tamper with communications on the state of the art communication network of the day... t

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:24AM (#40359543)

    I bet if you could see the list, many of these "terrorists" would turn out to be people just criticizing their governments and revealing government secrets.

    • by Bigby (659157)

      The term "terrorist" is defined by the eye of the beholder. Even though it means something like "a person whose goal is to increase fear among a certain population". They'll use it instead of the real word they are looking for: treasonous. Because treason could be a Good Thing and terrorism can't.

  • Ban all infomercials from YouTube and classify videos promoting terrorism as infomercials.

  • "It’s not just the right of the person who speaks to be heard; it is the right of everyone in the audience to listen, and to hear. And every time you silence someone you make yourself a prisoner of your own action because you deny yourself the right to hear something." -- Christopher Hitchens

  • Since terrorist has become commonly used to refer to anyone that the government does not like for any reason what so ever, you have to wonder how many of these video actually had anything to do with terrorism.

  • If they claim to be about free speech why didn't they just remove the content, why did they terminate accounts (which on YouTube means you are forever banned and it is a violation of their terms of service to EVER in your life to create another account!)?

    The difference is like between censoring an article from the newspaper, and blowing up the newspaper office!

    Google's handing of YouTube is scary.

    The bans for 3 allegations of copyright infringement, which is NOT required by the DMCA, which says you have to

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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