U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman: Google’s Blogger Needs a Terrorist-Flagging Feature

Last week, the New York Police Department arrested Jose Pimentel for building a pipe bomb that he planned to use to hurt and potentially kill U.S. military personnel (though whether he was actually capable of doing so remains in doubt). What does this have to do with tech? Pimentel used Google’s Blogger to host his site. Because of this, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut sent a letter to Google earlier today, asking the company to institute a way to flag terrorist content on Blogger. The letter was obtained and published by political blog Talking Point Memos.

“Blogger is being used by violent Islamist extremists to broadcast terrorist content”

According to Lieberman, ““Pimentel’s Internet activity — both his spreading of bomb-making instructions links and his hate-filled writings — were hosted by Google. […] As demonstrated by this recent case, Google’s webhosting site, Blogger is being used by violent Islamist extremists to broadcast terrorist content.”

What really seems to upset Lieberman – who may not be quite sure whether he is a Democrat or a Republican, but never shies away from the media spotlight – is the fact that, “Unlike YouTube’s Community Standards, Blogger’s Content Policy does not expressly ban terrorist content nor does it provide a ‘flag’ feature for such content.”

He also notes that Google, through its standards for YouTube, “has affirmatively stated that terrorist content will not be permitted on some of your sites. I strongly believe that Google should expand that standard to include your other platforms.”

Google then, says Lieberman, should institute a “flag” feature that would allow anybody to report potential “terrorist” activity on Blogger. How exactly this feature would work isn’t clear. Neither are the standards by which Google would have to decide whether a site is too extreme for Blogger. As of now, Pimentel’s site remains available.

Lieberman and the Internet

Lieberman is an outspoken critic of Wikileaks and also favored an Internet kill-switch for the U.S. when he introduced the “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010” bill.