The Obama administration is seeking some help in trying to fight against online recruiting techniques that are used by terrorist groups. Government officials are reaching out to receive assistance from the major technology firms of Silicon Valley in order to better combat extremism. Reports indicate that White House officials will meet with representatives from Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, YouTube and other companies.
The meeting will be attended by Chief of Staff for the Obama Administration Denis McDonough, Chairman of the National Security Agency Admiral Mike Rogers, leading spy James Clapper and FBI director James Comey. The discussion is set to take place in a government building in San Jose, CA.
A message sent to the companies from the White House read, “In what ways can we use technology to help disrupt paths to radicalization to violence, identify recruitment patterns, and provide metrics to help measure our efforts to counter radicalization to violence? How can we make it harder for terrorists to use the internet to mobilize, facilitate, and operationalize attacks, and make it easier for law enforcement and the intelligence community to identify terrorist operatives and prevent attacks?”
Many American officials have criticized the technology companies for not doing enough to stop communication between terrorists and potential recruits. Although some technology companies have expressed willingness to assist in the efforts, they are largely nervous about being viewed as too eager to provide the government with access to personal user information. As such, technology companies have been working to increase the security of encryption, much to the displeasure of the government.
Last month, President Barack Obama stated that one of his goals for his final year in office is to work more closely with technology firms to ensure national security.
The President said, “We’re going to have to continue to balance our needs for security with people’s legitimate concerns about privacy.”
The issue is extremely delicate for the technology firms, as free speech is protected by the United States Constitution. It’s only when a concise and present threat is involved that they can get involved. Indeed, the line between protected free speech and the instigation of violence is still very unclear.