You will not be surprised to discover that Joe Barton comes from Texas, a US state renowned for the calibre of its philosophers, scientists and professional thinkers.
Barton’s cunning plan to stop terrorists is to shut down websites, including social media networks.
He asked Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler if the commission can shut down websites because “we need to do something” because of the terrorist attack in Paris.
“They have declared war against us and they’re using the Internet in an extremely offensive, inappropriate way against us, and we ought to be able to make it, at a minimum much more difficult and hopefully, absolutely shut it down.”
“ISIS and the terrorist networks can’t beat us militarily, but they are really trying to use the Internet and all of the social media to try to intimidate and beat us psychologically,” Barton said.
Addressing Wheeler during an FCC oversight hearing held by the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Barton continued:
“I know they pop up like weeds, but once they do pop up, shut them down and then turn those Internet addresses over to the appropriate law enforcement agencies to try to track them down? I would think that even in an open society, when there is a clear threat, they’ve declared war against us, our way of life, and they’ve threatened to attack this very city our capital is in, that we could do something about the Internet and social media side of the equation.”
Wheeler said that the FCC’s authority did not really extends to censoring the Internet. He said that the Congress could update its definition of a “lawful intercept” under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, in which an ISP intercepts a suspect’s Internet traffic and sends a copy to a law enforcement agency performing surveillance.
The FCC’s net neutrality rules prevent Internet service providers from blocking transmission of lawful content, but without overriding ISPs’ obligations to meet “the needs of emergency communications and law enforcement, public safety, and national security authorities.”