Social Media was unfathomable when our founding fathers laid down the foundation for our country. The United States government is said to be two hundred years behind our technology, which make it nearly impossible to monitor and create laws without imposing on our first amendment. With more and more people relying on technology to get their information, terrorist as well as politicians take advantage of the situation for their personal gain (Curry 1). Although there are laws on how politicians can use social media, there are close to no laws on how to deal with cyber-terrorism. Terrorist groups are able to use the internet in many ways, and the primary goal is to spread their terroristic ideology through social media and the dark web (Vili?‡ 7). For huge terrorist groups like ISIS and others it has never been easier for them to recruit, and promote their cause due to social media world-wide platform.
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1993, a new era of globalization had come. Technology was a bright and new tool that was adamant to stay. However, the United States government could not have predicted what was to come in the following years with such advancements in technology. Cyber-attacks from hackers became regular in 1995 from a national and foreign level. Despite best efforts to regulate and moderate the internet; it soon became too much for the government to handle. President Clinton and his administration the time was taxed with national and foreign security breaches, due to the introduction of computers. Clintons’ intentional response was to issue several executive orders in an attempt to strengthen the nation’s security systems (Boys 1).
Rutenberg discusses how many pro-ISIS propaganda and recruitment is happening on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. While these companies acknowledge there is a problem, and claim to actively seek to take down these profiles there is still a lot more they need to do. Rutenberg then goes on by saying that while the United States cannot shut down the sites, they should be able to regulate key words or, like Germany impose huge fines on these platforms that fail to take down hate speech within twenty-four hours which he acknowledges is unlikely (Rutenberg 4). As for a more practical discussion stripping anonymity from social media users is a more acceptable topic for those who wish to stop or track down any acts of terrorism. Meaning that not only the platforms know who you are, but so does the government which in turn provide a safer user-interference.
Bud Kennedy a Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter also offered insight on the business side of social media. Kennedy stated that The job of any platform is to keep, the people on their site as long as they can (Kennedy).Meaning if platforms were to take down ever flag or reported thing they would soon be out of business. Big platforms like Facebook and other social media claim to be the middle man and just pass on the information. Kennedy then stated if that is how they see themselves, then the government should be allowed to regulate the platform.
According to Patrikarakos the government and the platforms are to blame for allowing such propaganda to be posted on their public platforms.
Patrikarakos states that platforms believe that they are just neutral platforms for social interaction, when they are businesses and they make a lot of money marketing ads to keep us on their platform (Patrikarakos 1). Which means these money hungry businesses usually do not turn away advertisement, monitor or shutdown large user accounts who are able to keep consumers on their platforms. Patrikarakos explains that the social media companies’ efforts are inadequate, and as for the government they need to draft a clear legislation from what can be said and posted on the websites (Patrikarakos 3).The author also recommends that we as a nation need to agree upon strict guidelines for what can be posted on social media platforms, and when they are broken heavy fines and public censure should be applied to the crime (Patrikarakos 3).
The Democratic and Republican parties clash on many issues however, Cybersecurity is one thing they agree upon. The republican GOP declared that cyber-attacks have become a routine, and countries like Russia have seen cyber operations as warfare strategy even at peacetime (Republican National). Both Parties want to uphold liberty and security to keep American lives safe from any cyber-attack (2016 Democrat Party).
Although, both parties have drastically different ways to deal with the situation on hand. Democrats continue to push for peace both physical and cyber, by limiting troop presence, and stopping the enemy from requiring nuclear warfare. Trumps administration is pushing congress for more troops at enemy countries and participate in war crimes, torturing terrorist families, and the vilification racial groups (2016 Democrat party).
Matroianni discusses that the government should catch up with the 21st century, however it will be tough because of legal, technical and ethical considerations. Matroianni states that immigrants who are vetted is still a flaw system because the government is behind in technology (Matroianni 1). Under the Trump administration the United States government now investigates five years prior into their social media accounts to insure they have not been on active terrorism sites, but the system is flawed. However, major media companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Google have fought back against a Senate proposal that would require these companies to alert federal authorities about any suspicious terrorist activities. This protocol brought up privacy concerns because if consumers believe their account activity would be directed to the government they would not use the company’s platform out of fear (Matroianni 2).
Senate bill 2517 is being reviewed in senate, this considered bill will ensure that the united states combat terrorists’ and terrorist organizations’ use of social media will be closely monitored (Senate 1). If this bill should be enacted it will ensure that are law enforcement be educated, and trained on how to find and identify possible terroristic threats to our country via social media.
Former President Bill Clinton on May 1998, addressed a PDD-63 on Critical Infrastructure Protection. This Presidential Decision allowed Clintons’ administration to establish a Senior Directorate for Infrastructure Protection on the National Security Council Staff; which would allow for the government to solidify any vulnerability to both cyber and physical attacks (Boys 1). Any breaching of national security can be detrimental to our nation, for cyber-attacks could cause the United States to be open for an attack from other nations.
Although a permanent solution for cyber-terrorism is decades away; especially with our monumental strides we make yearly in technology. A temporary solution is feasible, we should as a country choose to expand our unprotected speech that is not protected by our first amendment. Once that is in place our government will be able to prosecute the in-question party or individual. These individuals should then be tried and if found guilty should face a heavy fine or prison, depending on the severity of the crime.
As for social media platforms they should have forty-eight hour time frame to be able to take down any flagged or reported terrorist propaganda, recruitment, or threat to national security as well as alert the NSA. If the media companies fail to comply the government should regulate their platforms, as well as receive heavy fines or be sentenced to prison.
Social Media is vast and ever-changing, and while are laws cannot always reflect our progression it is up to the people to help the government along the way. While there is no permanent solution in the near future they’re certain actions we, and our government can take to end cyber-terrorism. National security should be a top priority for everyone; if a rival nation was to successfully hack or nation’s infrastructure it would open the United States to be attacked. That being said it should be monitored or regulated by the federal government, for it could mean a matter of national security.
Mass and Social Media. (2019, Jul 18).
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