Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton Plan to Close Parts of the Internet: Censorship in America?

By Anthony Massey on Dec 18, 2015 11:57 AM EST

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have indicated in recent statements that they want to close off parts of the Internet to combat the ISIS threat, as social media is a primary recruiting platform of the group. However, would such action be the first step to widespread censorship in America?

Censorship in any form is a hot topic in America. Any time a whiff of it is caught by the Internet, a backlash tsunami of outrage slams against whoever is responsible, at least when it comes to censorship in America. But recent comments by both Trump and Clinton have indicated that freedom of speech on the Internet may become more restricted if either becomes president.

In response to Wolf Blitzer's question during the recent CNN debate, "'Are you open to closing parts of the Internet?'" Trump responded with "I would certainly be open to closing areas where we are at war with somebody. I sure as hell don't want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our Internet. Yes, sir, I am."

Hillary made similar arguments recently, claiming as The New York Times put it, "the only solution was to engage American technology companies in blocking or taking down militant websites, videos and encrypted communications." In an attempt to head off the standard arguments against interfering with free speech, she said "You're going to hear all of the usual complaints, you know, freedom of speech, et cetera. But if we truly are in a war against terrorism and we are truly looking for ways to shut off their funding, shut off the flow of foreign fighters, then we've got to shut off their means of communicating."

This is one of the first elections where, rather than choosing between Tweedledee or Tweedledum, we'll be having to pick between the devil we know or the devil we don't. Freedom of speech on the Internet is one of the things that makes it a curious, useful, painful, boring, good and evil tool. It has the potential to be used by any side for their own purposes, and while taking down ISIS recruiting mechanisms is a good thing in itself, but what it sounds like the candidates are proposing is just another step towards censorship of the Internet.

So what do you think about these candidates plans? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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TagsInternet, Censorship, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump

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