back to article 'Shut down the parts of internet used by Islamic State masterminds'

US Congressmen have called on America's broadband regulator to figure out how to shut down websites and social media accounts used by the Islamic State. At an oversight hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee at which all five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) were present, Joe Barton (R- …

  1. Charles Manning

    Well that's a good solution

    Also shut down the roads that ISIS drive on, but leave the other roads open.

    We can also burn stuff in the air that ISIS breath so they have no oxygen, but leave the other air untainted.

    Sheer brilliance!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well that's a good solution

      Come now, you don't expect a US legislator to use common sense do you?

      This is the same country wherein one of its states once tried to make Pi=4 by law.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well that's a good solution

        Further reference for that Pi=4 attempt.

      2. Francis Boyle

        Re: Well that's a good solution

        Come on, that's just stupid. The Bible clearly says pi is three. (yes,I know - Muphry and all that.)

        1. Doctor_Wibble
          Devil

          Re: Well that's a good solution

          > The Bible clearly says pi is three.

          I think you misunderstood the intent and the accent there, the actual quote is

          "All pie should be free"

          Though bearing in mind that since greed is one of the deadly sins, it is important to pace oneself but only after ensuring an adequately vast oversupply. God helps those who help themselves, so get your own.

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: greed is one of the deadly sins

            Gluttony is in there as well, if pies are going for free.

            Lust as well, if its warm apple pie

            1. Doctor_Wibble

              Re: greed is one of the deadly sins

              > Gluttony is in there as well

              D'oh! That's the one I meant, I blame the people who overcomplicated the concepts of 'gimme' and 'mine' and 'gerroff'.

              I won't talk about Lust, because that's just dirty.

          2. Chika
            Trollface

            Re: Well that's a good solution

            "All pie should be free"

            I liek pie... ;b..

        2. Kiwi

          Re: Well that's a good solution

          The Bible clearly says pi is three

          Actually, it doesn't.

          http://www.purplemath.com/modules/bibleval.htm gives a good breakdown of the issue (first result of a search for "bible pi=3" on DDG).

          "Solving, we get pi = 540/172 = 135/43 = 3.1395348837..., or about 3.14.

          Um... Isn't "3.14" the approximation we all use for pi? Perhaps those Phoenicians were fairly accurate after all.

      3. LucreLout

        Re: Well that's a good solution

        @Stuart Longland

        Come now, you don't expect a US legislator to use common sense do you?

        This is the same country wherein one of its states once tried to make Pi=4 by law.

        Yes, that is more than a little dumb, however, let he whose country is without idiots cast the first stone.

        1. Chika
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Well that's a good solution

          Yes, that is more than a little dumb, however, let he whose country is without idiots cast the first stone.

          Agreed, but then these other countries aren't calling for a ban on a group using methods of open communication on the internet.

          Yet. (Give it time...)

        2. Bob Dole (tm)

          Re: Well that's a good solution

          >>Yes, that is more than a little dumb, however, let he whose country is without idiots cast the first stone.

          The problem seems to be that there are a lot of people in various countries who believe that they don't have any idiots. So, they tend to cast quite a few stones. It's those people we're trying to stop.

          1. P. Lee

            Re: Well that's a good solution

            >The problem seems to be that there are a lot of people in various countries who believe that they don't have any idiots. So, they tend to cast quite a few stones.

            This post is closest to reality. This isnt solved with tech - web or military, this is a war of values. Not even education will help here. Much as the "ignorant foreign ragheads" idea may play well in the tabloids, they are not the attackers. The question is, are we going to allow and encourage debates about values? Do we allow space in our school systems where students can talk about ideas and values and defend their points of view, or do we squash all discussion in the name of multiculturalism (which is faux) or secularism? Do we allow debate about the role of women or polygamy or the philosophical basis and implications of our value systems? When we push religion into the "private only" sphere we do nothing to allow young people exercise critical thinking about the content of the value system they grow up in. In the secularist rush to exclude all but what they hold dear from from public life, they push all religious activity underground, where it can fester out of sight and unchallenged.

            For all the flak these "extremist" cultures take, what does the west have to offer in it's place, philosophically? Historically, Christianity - love god and your neighbour as youself. Now what do we offer? Science doesnt cut it as a religion. It offers no hope for the future, no sense to existance, no answers to pain and no hope for justice. In the vacuum, all sorts of silly and unpleasant ideas flourish. Until we offer more than amusement til you die we will have problems. Actually we will always have problems, but they are our problems, domestically created.

            Despite the atrocities and the itch up do something, we really need to consider if our response is proportional. How much crime do we chalk up to the "cost of living in a free society?" Moving everything online provides a great choke point for spying, far easier than anything the Stasi could have hoped for. I already see Australian tabloids calling for "extremists" to have their rights stripped. No civil rights for those who don't think "right", apparently. Is this what we've come to? The same thought processes as the jihadists? Merely a struggle between power groups with no moral high ground? The secularist would say yes because morality is just a tool to ensure group survival and has no inherent significance.

            I disagree, but unless we get past the skyfairy jokes and engage people regarding what values control their thought patterns and decision-making, what they hold to be most worthy of their time and effort - the content of their religion - how can we hope to influence them? If we do hope to influence them away from destructive beliefs, what do we intend to use? Do we have more to offer than a different tribe - a different group with a will to power?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well that's a good solution

        "Come now, you don't expect a US legislator to use common sense do you?"

        If you read the Wikipedia article, it suggests that the proposal was presented in a very confusing way by an influential mathematical crank, and that reaction to it was strong - including ridiculing of the Indiana legislature by other States and newspapers; and that a real professor of mathematics was able to gain access to a number of senators and explain what was wrong with the bill.

        So what it actually proves is that back then, legislators were far more willing to listen to scientific evidence and act on it than they are now.

      5. Tim Jenkins

        Re: Well that's a good solution

        I think the clue was in the (R-TX) bit.

        http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/simpsons/images/4/45/The_Rich_texan_tapped_out.png

      6. Fatman
        WTF?

        Re: Well that's a good solution

        <quote>Come now, you don't expect a US legislator to use common sense do you?</quote>

        No, but you can easily see him pandering to a certain block of voters.

        In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, I have seen reports of attacks on Muslims in the US.

        What these stupid rednecks do not comprehend is that attacks on Muslims, and blatant hatred of all Muslims is EXACTLY what ISIS wants. How else can you approach other Muslims in these countries, except by pointing out that they are not welcome, and radicalize them??

        One could make the case that Christians should be persecuted in the USofA because of abortion clinic bombers. So, go after the terrorists, not all believers of a specific religion.

        1. Chika
          Coat

          Re: Well that's a good solution

          What these stupid rednecks do not comprehend is that attacks on Muslims, and blatant hatred of all Muslims is EXACTLY what ISIS wants. How else can you approach other Muslims in these countries, except by pointing out that they are not welcome, and radicalize them??

          Calm down, dear!

          Actually, you are right. ISIS are effectively a radical Sunni faction who are trying to provoke the West into war. That was what all the beheading and the shooting at Charlie Hebdo was about too. The problem is how to detect a terrorist and how to deal with them. Consider that one imprisoned or executed terrorist in our eyes becomes a hero in the eyes of the radicals.

          After all, these radicals are people with a firm belief in a teaching that dates back to the bronze age, further coloured by disagreements in interpretation. It's not surprising that a redneck would become somewhat angered by that since most rednecks, as far as I know (please correct me as I'm not American) tend to have a similar belief system, only using a different book.

      7. Peter Simpson 1
        FAIL

        Re: Well that's a good solution

        Different state, though.

        And it was pi=3.2, not 4.

        In fairness, it WAS in 1897.

        Texas and Florida seem to be in a race to be dumbest (with Kansas and Oklahoma coming up fast)

      8. David Haworth 1
        Coat

        Re: Well that's a good solution (Off topic)

        > This is the same country wherein one of its states once tried to make Pi=4 by law.

        ... whereas it's quite easy to make Pi=4 using mathematics.

        Consider the metric space where distance between two points is the greater of the x-distance and the y-distance. This is actually quite well-defined.

        A circle is the set of all points that are at the same distance from another point known as the centre.

        In our metric space the lines x = 1 and x = -1 (-1 <= y <= 1) and the lines y = 1 and y = -1 (-1 <= x <= 1) are all the points at a distance of 1 from the origin. Therefore they form a circle of radius 1. The diameter is 2, the circumference is 8. Pi is defined as the ratio of the circumference to the diameter, i.e. 4

        The area of this circle is 2x2 = 4. The area of a circle of unit radius is Pi - also giving a value of 4 for Pi.

    2. Robert Helpmann??
      Childcatcher

      Re: Well that's a good solution

      Also shut down the roads that ISIS drive on, but leave the other roads open. We can also burn stuff in the air that ISIS breath so they have no oxygen, but leave the other air untainted.

      Yeah, that's pretty much how a bombing campaign works. Well spotted! And while I hesitate to draw close parallels between the online and physical worlds, I would think that online activists (and government entities, too) have been able to do just these sorts of targeted attacks on web sites. So it is possible on a technical level.

      My question would be is it an appropriate response? If a country is going to war, or whatever passes for an online war, wouldn't taking down enemy assets, especially those used for propaganda, be considered a legitimate goal? If so, then what methods do we want our governments to employ? I know that some of these questions need to be hashed out between countries, but that there are differences of opinion as to how the final agreement will look.

      Also, the conflation in the article between websites and domain names is troubling. It is quite possible to host an unregistered web site or to register it with an alternative registry, though it may blunt the propaganda role of such a site. Also, missing from the critique of the proposal is that while web sites that are devoted to a particular subject or ideology are easy to identify and target, it is much more difficult to fight an online campaign that makes use of third party assets to get its word out. How many unmoderated forums are there? How would anyone begin to police them for ISIS-related material?

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: Well that's a good solution

        "My question would be is it an appropriate response?"

        Well, given that questions around electronic surveillance are very topical, a sensible solution might be something like:

        - Monitor interwebs for suspicious content (this can be done through search-engine-spider techniques, no need for blanket surveillance, and more importantly, no need for further legislation)

        - Where suspicious activity is found, DON'T shut the site down, but monitor more intensively (again, no new legislation or powers needed). Most importantly, instead of gathering everyone's data and searching for needles in a billion haystacks, you're at least searching in just a couple of haystacks.

        - Where more intensive monitoring of a site detects potentially dangerous people, you get a warrant for full surveillance, which should be both electronic and where possible physical (still something that can be done through existing warrants and legislation, and still something that can be done without trawling everyone's data)

        - On the ground, don't rely on e-surveillance but in action some good old-fashioned on-the-ground police work. Instead of spending billions on expanding useless data trawling, spend it on hiring and training policemen. (Again, no new draconian laws required, no new powers, no data slurping infrastructure)

        If you look at 9/11, Madrid, London, Paris etc what's common? Most or all the perps were either natives or living in the country legally, most of them were already known to security services, there just weren't the resources to keep tabs on all of them. So instead of spending extra resources to try to find more potential terrorists (who you then can't keep tabs on anyway, not even having the resources to keep tabs on the ones you already know about), isn't it better to spend any extra resources on boots-on-the-ground policing? Even if you can't gather evidence and make arrests, letting some people know they are being watched might be enough to disrupt operations and/or dissuade them from doing anything stupid*.

        *because, I suspect that a good number of people actually carrying out terror attacks are just confused youths brainwashed on whatever BS is fed to them, while the real masterminds stay well away from the 'glory' of martyrdom.

        1. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

          Re: Well that's a good solution

          You are answering the wrong question. You think the question is "How do we fight ISIS on the Internet?" which you have answered very sensibly but really anyone could have thought of that but the Gov don't.

          The real question is "How can we monitor every aspect of everyone's lives?" Blanket surveillance of everybody is a good place to start, not targeted on just ISIS.

        2. Seajay#

          Re: Well that's a good solution

          "Where suspicious activity is found, DON'T shut the site down, but monitor more intensively (again, no new legislation or powers needed). Most importantly, instead of gathering everyone's data and searching for needles in a billion haystacks, you're at least searching in just a couple of haystacks."

          That works fine if the website is hosted by someone friendly to both the US and surveillance. If it isn't then you're not going to be able to monitor at the server end of the connection, you'll have to monitor at the user end. How do you do that? Sweep up everyone's internet connection records and filter them for connections to the suspicious site. That's pretty much exactly the plan for the snooper's charter in the UK.

          1. James Micallef Silver badge

            Re: Well that's a good solution

            "Sweep up everyone's internet connection records and filter them for connections to the suspicious site. That's pretty much exactly the plan for the snooper's charter in the UK."

            Or else instead of a new snooper's charter to sweep up everyone's internet connection records, get a warrant, and give a list of server addresses to ISPs and ask for who is connecting to those servers. Which you can do with existing legislation.

            Bottom line is that I haven't seen anything in the new 'land-grab' of powers that will give a concrete advantage in anti-terror over existing legislation. It's just 'collect more data now, we'll sort it out later'. more haystacks for the same number of needles.

            1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

              Re: Well that's a good solution

              "

              Or else instead of a new snooper's charter to sweep up everyone's internet connection records, get a warrant, and give a list of server addresses to ISPs and ask for who is connecting to those servers. Which you can do with existing legislation.

              "

              What legislation makes it mandatory for an Iranian ISP to supply connection logs to the US government? Doing it from the other end means that the ISPs will have to monitor all connections, which means having a snooper's charter.

          2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: Well that's a good solution

            The "snooper's charter" is going far more than that, demanding all of your (and everyone's) internet access to be stored for a year and searchable, and also has various weasel-worded sections about who can access said data. That is blanket survalence.

            What was proposed above was targeted - yes, you have some ability to scan all traffic, but it is used to pull out certain web sites that are known to be ISIS or similar, and then just look at that. A massive decrease in data gathering. Then you start to look for patterns, not just the odd link-following by someone who didn't know what the site was, but repeated visits and/or visits to sites related to that ideology.

            Again, a big decrease in who you are looking at and then you are down to the levels where you can start to analyses what they are up to and see if they merit some human survalence and intelligence-gathering.

        3. JasonB

          Re: Well that's a good solution

          James that was such a sensible post I am genuinely impressed, and also worried the government might be knocking on your door soon for using too much logic to deal with a problem that seems beyond them.

          When they close he sites that the extremists use, does that man all the porn sites they visit? Are they trying to remove porn by the back doo?

          1. Robert Helpmann??
            Pint

            Re: Well that's a good solution

            Are they trying to remove porn by the back doo?

            Doctor_Wibble, have an upvote and a virtual drink of your choice for that beautiful, beautiful malapropism!

            1. Doctor_Wibble
              Pint

              Re: Well that's a good solution

              > Doctor_Wibble, have an upvote

              I appreciate the inadvertent credit but I suspect you had already had a few sips of the nectar as it wasn't me that made that 'by the back doo' remark, and it looks like the 'in reply to' link might have been somehow confused too, all on its own...

              And beer because - well - it's beer.

        4. W. Anderson

          Re: Well that's a good solution

          What is reported is that the communications between ISIS members and sympathizers is usually dome "unencrypted", not through Websites which serve more as propaganda yool.

          Since the NSA and CIA cannot break extremely goo encrypton, then they would nt know what communications are ISIS based, or every other person for who encrypton is preferred.

          Joe Barton is a Moron,and has little if any sound knowledge about encrypton and how nafarious use of the Internet works.

        5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Gimp

          Re: Well that's a good solution

          "Where more intensive monitoring of a site detects potentially dangerous people, you get a warrant for full surveillance,"

          What is this "warrant" you speak of?

          This has very little to do with terrorism

      2. Vic

        Re: Well that's a good solution

        It is quite possible to host an unregistered web site or to register it with an alternative registry

        I expect to see a rather different approach. Bear with me - this works in several phases...

        Firstly, you get hold of a botnet. You install nameservers on the bots, and allow recursive lookups. Initially, you use this for DDoS by way of an DNS amplification attack[1]. This appears to be the purpose of the malware - but is actually a smokescreen. Each botnet member spewing forged UDP DNS requests to a different member means the botnet is pretty much self-sustaining in its attack.

        The second step - assuming you haven't over-blown the first step and gotten the botnet shut down - is to use your DNS botnet for a little spoofing. Using malware to change people's nameservers, you get innocent people to use your DNS resolvers - installing a counterfeit root CA will also make things a lot easier, But occasionally, you send spoofed DNS responses, causing some traffic to be redirected to spoofed sites[2]. There's a little profit to be made in this phase, but it is yet again a smokescreen.

        Now comes phase three. This is the real purpose of the setup. Your bad guys get themselves infected with the malware that causes the nameserver change. This is the deniability bit - they're innocent victims of known malware, right? Now your operatives search Google for some fairly innocent term - but, they are redirected to a server[3] you control, and are given the comms you want them to get. It looks like traffic-hijacking, but it becomes a covert comms channel.

        The only really tricky part is to get the botnet up and running - but we know such things already exist. The malware to cause nameserver changes and root CA acceptance *should* be mickey-mouse; that will mean the real innocents will mostly avoid the infection, and the technical media can scoff at how unsophisticated the attack is. The people whom you want to infect - your covert operatives - will permit the infection, and create the channel. It's deniable, it would be as hard to trace as most botnet activity, and it can pass messages over SSL without looking overly suspicious.

        The only way I can imagine to prevent such activity is to work to prevent botnets occurring in the first place. And that requires our glorious overseers to use their knowledge of zero-days to help the general population, rather than just hoarding vulnerabilities to backdoor machines...

        Vic.

        [1] DNS amplification attacks are already happening. One of my servers was once used for that purpose; it actually DOSed my connection. I had to shut down my external resolver - which had previously been very useful to me. But it had become a hazard to others.

        [2] Nameserver changes and site hijacking are already happening.

        [3] This server could indeed be distributed amongst the botnet, making tracing it yet harder.

        1. Vic

          Re: Well that's a good solution

          p.s. Yes, I know this is properly paranoid. But over the last few years, I keep finding that what I think of as paranoid projections actually don't go nearly far enough to match reality...

          Vic.

      3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. lambda_beta
      Linux

      Re: Well that's a good solution

      We really don't have to go to these extremes, just plug up the internet tubes that go to ISIS. The tubes are labelled, aren't they?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        @lambda_beta -- Re: Well that's a good solution

        We really don't have to go to these extremes, just plug up the internet tubes that go to ISIS. The tubes are labelled, aren't they?

        Yes they are and there's shut-off valve for each one. We're just having to wait unitil Archibald Tuttle shows up to close the valve.

    4. ian 22
      Big Brother

      Re: Well that's a good solution

      Republicans are idiots. Texas Republicans are demented idiots.

      They all look up to Big Brother, as long as he oppresses nonRepublicans.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    He asked the wrong person...

    The good Senator should have asked Al Gore how to do it... since Al invented the Internet.

    I'm embarrassed... we really do elect idiots. Maybe El Reg needs a small competition as to which country elects the biggest idiots?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He asked the wrong person...

      @Mark 85, you can't have a competition like that after all you know the US has to have everything bigger and better than everywhere else, therefore it has to be a foregone conclusion that their government idiots are bigger that any others - just look at Obama.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: He asked the wrong person...

        See.... you made your point. The US wins again.

        Disclaimer: I'm in the US and El Presidente is a pretty big idiot. Maybe we need a face-to-face run-off with one of your choice?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He asked the wrong person...

          @Mark 85, I think your pres would win, just, against Cameron in the stupidity stakes. I also think it would be a very close run race when you compare parliaments, the UK has May and her surveillance society and you have whoever is in charge of your surveillance society, or do they run themselves under the pres?

          1. HausWolf

            Re: He asked the wrong person...

            No, our congress is run by a group one of their own members and recent presidential candidate called the Party of Stupid.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He asked the wrong person...... since Al invented the Internet.

      Gore never claimed that; he claimed to have supported funding computing and high speed networks. As both Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn speak highly of his contribution, and as there are plenty of records of him introducing bills related to HPC and high speed networks in the 70s and 80s, dismissing him is just playing into the hands of Republican propaganda.

      Also Gore was one of barely a percent of his Harvard year who didn't dodge the draft, despite his disapproval of the Vietnam war. My cousin, like many others who could, sensibly sat out the war as an academic in Canada, and I thought he was right. But Gore's stand was astonishingly principled for someone of his social class and background.

      Maybe El Reg needs a small competition for which country elects the biggest idiot when they could have had a decent President or Prime Minister?

      1. Vic

        Re: He asked the wrong person...... since Al invented the Internet.

        Maybe El Reg needs a small competition for which country elects the biggest idiot when they could have had a decent President or Prime Minister?

        Yeah, but we'd all lose...

        Vic.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He asked the wrong person...

      Actually he did ask the wrong person.

      And yes there are things that could be done to take these guys down...

      This would be a job of the Cyber-command and wage a digital war against ISIS/ISIL.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: He asked the wrong person...

        This would be a job of the Cyber-command and wage a digital war against ISIS/ISIL.

        That would seem to be reasonable.. except Cyber Command isn't fully operational yet. Last reports seem to indicate they can't get enough people with the proper skills.

    4. Kiwi

      Re: He asked the wrong person...

      Maybe El Reg needs a small competition as to which country elects the biggest idiots?

      On behalf of New Zealand, and our glorius Prim Minister Mr Shonkey, er I mean John key, I accept the prize for Reg Reader with the Stupidest PM.

      (I can also accept awards for having one of the most dangerous PM's (think the UK can beat us), having a potential sex offender for PM (look at his history of grabbing little girls' pony tails), having the most ineffective opposition, having the most laws passed "under urgency" per week - including one to address issues with laws being passed under urgency and removing the public right for input....)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good news, Joe. Anonymous shares your goals! All you have to do is give them a copy of the NSA's TAO hacking tools and let them do the rest. This is the best plan since funding the Mujahideen to fight Soviets and I'm sure there is no possible down side.

  4. Dr Scrum Master
    Thumb Up

    Shut Down Facebook and Twitter

    What's not to like about that?

    1. LucreLout

      Re: Shut Down Facebook and Twitter

      @Dr Scrum Master

      What's not to like about that?

      Only this.... Updating Farcebook and dribbling on tw@tter are largely silent activities. Take those away from the mouth breathers and they might start to speak, and I might be forced to be near them while they do.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shut Down Facebook and Twitter

        Worse...when the Sun went paywall its readers discovered other comment sites. There were at the time about 30 million people who looked at the Sun site, and a whole lot of sites experienced a sidden decline in quality of comments. A billion people use Facebook. The implications are horrible to contemplate. Imagine, for instance, Simon Danczuk posting on El Reg.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    C'mon guys, let's all just be friends

    Now let's all sit down and sing Kumbaya together...it worked for Jesus.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      You've clearly forgotten about the nails, the cross and the crown of thorns.

      1. Chika
        Trollface

        You've clearly forgotten about the nails, the cross and the crown of thorns.

        Which pub is that, then?

    2. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: C'mon guys, let's all just be friends

      Let me fix that for you ...

      Now let's all sit down and sing Kumbaya together...it worked for Arnold Rimmer.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: C'mon guys, let's all just be friends

      hello, Mr Corbyn, welcome to El Reg.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: C'mon guys, let's all just be friends - hello, Mr Corbyn, welcome to El Reg.

        Don't follow this. What has Kumbaya got to do with Marxism? I would have thought Corbyn is about as likely to sing Kumbaya as Trump is to make sense.

        Now, all sitting in a big circle singing the Internationale - that might get some results, if somehow the majority of the population realised who the "foule esclave" were who it calls on to arise.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: C'mon guys, let's all just be friends - hello, Mr Corbyn, welcome to El Reg.

          ...and Corbyn is also non-religious, so unlikely to be singing any song with the lyric, "my Lord" in it...

  6. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Give Barton the bit about it being ICANN's lack of desire to act, mention the lack of oversight thing and throw in the idea of calling them "ICAN'T" on-camera and it's game over for the ICANN assclowns.

  7. Ru'

    I'm so surprised they haven't done this already. Simply shut down all websites which mention the letters "IS" (in that specific order, obviously - you don't want any unintended issues), and also block all emails which similarly contains them.

    Perhaps ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/whatever could be given their own domain, perhaps .ISIS would be easiest. Then the whole thing can also be taken down.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      On noes

      http://forums.thereg ter.co.uk/

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      That's how Scunthorpe ended up getting censored by AOL.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'I'm so surprised they haven't done this already. Simply shut down all websites which mention the letters "IS" '

      Glad I don't operate a business in Iceland.

  8. LDS Silver badge
    Joke

    Just wait ISIS member switch to Windows 10...

    .... then MS will have all needed data about them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just wait ISIS member switch to Windows 10...

      Of course ISIS know this, and will stay with Windows XP

      Quick! bomb everyone still using XP, they must be terrists!

  9. LDS Silver badge

    Ask China...

    ... they have an excellent experience at blocking Internet contents.

  10. Buzzword

    The footballer?

    You'd expect this level of intellectual analysis from the other Joe(y) Barton, not from a US congressman!

    1. BenR

      Re: The footballer?

      This was exactly what I thought, and having read the sub-headline, was fully prepared to comment on the ridiculousness of listening to anything a psuedo-intellectual like Joey Barton has to say about *ANYTHING*. Like the time Charlotte Church was on Question Time and got absolutely taken to pieces.

      I was mildly disappointed to learn it was some old politico in the States.

    2. HausWolf

      Re: The footballer?

      Hes from Texas, they have a special kind of stupid there.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: The footballer?

        Everything is bigger in Texas...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Sheer brilliance!"

    And speaking of sheer brilliance.. Almost daily the tech media drown us with stories of how smart Facebook's AI is.... Someone send Zuck a Christmas card from Isis please.... "Isis is in fact a platform engineer and lives in San Francisco."...

  12. Afernie

    It's funny...

    Joe Barton looks exactly how I imagined he would, based on his 'solution'.

  13. Disgruntled of TW
    Mushroom

    Any day now Theresa May will slam home the Snoopers Charter RIPA legislation, without a single shred of additional information on how the data helps track terrorists down. She will use the Paris horror and people's reactions to take away our freedom.

    ISIS will be winning the battle if that happens.

  14. 0laf Silver badge

    It's quite scary just how ignorant people in charge can be, and just comfortable they are with their ignorance.

    Myself I'd have liked to have had a chat with someone who knows more about the subject than me and check "have I got this right". But not politicians, they just open their noisy meat holes, let the verbal stool fall out and then jam it down everyone else throats as policy. And then make them pay for the privilege.

    1. Asterix the Gaul

      "It's quite scary just how ignorant people in charge can be, and just comfortable they are with their ignorance".

      It's a by product of 'democracy',a form of governance that completely ignores the will of the 'majority',in favour of self-serving 'minority' interest within & without the elected party's in power.

    2. FraK
      Mushroom

      ...

      I have a suspicion that the politicians *did* have a chat with people who know more than they do. It's just that "have I got this right?" didn't mean "will this help us stop ISIS/ISIL/Daesh?" but more like "can we grab everyone's data now and then trawl through it later to find people we don't like doing things that can get them jailed?".

  15. Ken 16
    Facepalm

    "We need to do something"

    The most dangerous words a politician can utter. Once you accept the premise, then it doesn't matter how ridiculous what they're actually doing is, it's definitely something and if it needs to be done, it will get done.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "We need to do something"

      This is known as the politicians syllogism. Something must be done. This is something therefore we must do it.

      1. Mr Ballstein

        Re: "We need to do something"

        You forgot the last step: Something must be done. This is something, therefore we must do it. And since we are doing this, something is being done, therefore nothing else must be done. Now moving on to the next item in our agenda.....

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: "We need to do something"

        From Yes Minister wasn't it.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: "We need to do something"

      The most dangerous words?

      Victor Milson: The President addressed a joint session of Congress yesterday. [...]. I don't know which was scarier, the speech or the Congress cheering it. He evoked Lincoln. Whenever a president is gonna get us into serious trouble, they always use Lincoln.

  16. Vinyl-Junkie
    Flame

    It is time...

    ..that politicians in every democratic country (can't do a lot about the others) were forced to pass an examination before being allowed to stand for office.

    Candidates would have to demonstrate a reasonable grasp of technology (e.g. how the Internet works), science (e.g. the Theory of Evolution is called a theory because...), how to do basic research (e.g. here are 10 stories, five of them are lies; please identify which is which) and that they can actually find their arse with both hands.

    We might then start getting some intelligent debate in politics.

    Although I'm not holding my breath....

    1. Afernie

      Re: It is time...

      I'd settle for that almost non-existent breed whose career path didn't look like this:

      Public School->Philosophy,Politics & Economics (occasionally Law) at Oxbridge->Parlimentary Researcher->MP

      In other words, and more or less in their vernacular: "Get a real job, parasites..."

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: It is time...

      I assume you recall UK MPS probability skills?

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19801666

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: It is time...

      and that they can actually find their arse with both hands.

      Would that be with or without the flashlight (torch)?

      1. Vic

        Re: It is time...

        Would that be with or without the flashlight (torch)?

        And an atlas...

        Vic.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll be so glad when we invent the next big thing so the great unwashed masses can blame all the worlds ills on that instead of the internet. When I was growing up it was TV that was the focus, I'm sure before that it was cars or something and before that steam trains. I can just imagine cavemen sitting around a fire complaining about how these new fangled pointy sticks are ruining the world.

    Leave the damn internet alone, if it didn't exist the terrorists would just use phones or letters or talk to each other face to face. The technology isn't the problem the terrorists are. If anything leaving the internet as a more open place might help as they will be more inclined to use it. If you close of the internet to them they'll move on to something else which may be much harder to monitor.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Canute to tide, back I say.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      %STOCK_YOU_DONT_UNDERSTAND_CANUTE_RESPONSE%

  19. Stuart 22 Silver badge

    Hardening WHOIS

    Thankfully no-one suggested following Nominet. The government asked them to 'do something' about who can register domains.

    They now positively verify domain registration details. Or rather they outsource that to (the lowest cost bidder?) bureaucratic script reading kiddies. Which means that long functioning official organisations that have bank accounts, on government registers etc are ruled invalid and cannot be the registered owner of their domains.

    Of course one quickly learns how to back engineer the script to make up details which will go through without question. An example of where trying too hard to make data better can make it worse. I'm sure the ISIS help-desk and other criminal support are even more adept at this than me.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I rather liked Scott Adams on this

    Scott Adams (he of Dilbert fame) also has a blog which sometimes shows interesting ideas.

    I would recommend reading his post about the events in France, it has interesting ideas. I also like the followup he dropped in today's blog.

    1. Yugguy

      Re: I rather liked Scott Adams on this

      His comments on the lack of sex being a motivation for the young men to join the caliphate are quite true - quite a few Muslims I've spoken to would agree. Although Huffington Post was lambasting someone for saying the same thing.

    2. Chika
      Angel

      Re: I rather liked Scott Adams on this

      I prefer Douglas Adams on this subject. In one of his HHGTG books he stated that no person who wants to rule should be allowed to do it.

  21. LucreLout
    Joke

    Over complicating things....

    ...Why not just move the registration process inside strip clubs, and increase the fee to include a lap dance, a pulled pork bap, and a pint? Simples.

  22. David Roberts
    Facepalm

    Ban all the bits of the Internet used by ISIS

    Using exactly the same methods already used so successfully to take down botnets, phishing sites, kiddie porn and all the other unwelcomed trash which has already been scourged from the world.

    Oh, wait........

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't get upset, but this is (fairly) trivial to do.

    All transit provisers already have the processes setup to blackhole traffic, it's used all the time in DDoS mitigation. All it takes to delete a route to content on the Internet is the injection of the /32 route with the correct community set into BGP and the IP will disapear along with any services and content it provides.

    All this carp about Whois, DNS etc is a smoke screen, it's not needed. The corporations just don't want the cost or any measures that effect their profitability.

    The only reason any social media companies' business models work is that they spend as little effort/cash as possible policing their services, they just sell your personal data, shove advertising down your throat and monetise you, the marks, as much as possible.

    All major international transit proviers are either US corps or do more than significant bussiness in the US and/or other countries that would support the senator's idea, if they thought it would hit their business models or the law forced them to comply.

    A simple whois on the IP would give the service provider of the hosting, a message to them to delete the content would follow, if they don't comply, blackhole the IP address.

    Collateral damage is unfortunate in war (Govt's don't seem too bothered about civilian casualties in meat space, why would they worry about digital equivilents).

    Users/entities affected can/would move their services to providers that comply with the "new rules" so their content wouldl never go down via collateral damage again. Big web properites/anti-scial media would employ more people/software to take down or prevent the publishing the content to protect their business.

    Software has been able to detect bare breasts for years an block it, why can't it detect the script logo's on jehadi video? Do MS lie about cortana understanding what you speak, can't it work out what the jehadist is saying in the uploaded conent before it is published. The answer is it can, but it costs too much for Alphabet, in the case of youtube and will eat in to the $70 BILLION revenue.

    This is just an extension of Cameron's / [insert other wonk here] "family friendly filter", most CP/VP/Zoo is removed by companies when notified and I'm sure there are already extremist sites in the IWF list too. To some extent this is already done on social media, how long do photographs of tits last on fecalbook? Strange that gruesome content seems OK, there again, they don't care as long as the money keeps rolling in, but American's seem to have a issue with boobies.

    Wether I or you, do or don't, support the idea is not the issue here, what I'm saying is it is entirely possible to remove content, you need to put your arguments elsewhere.

    1. NinjaTheVanish

      Re: Don't get upset, but this is (fairly) trivial to do.

      Tell you what... come up with a working implementation of _any_ portion of what you just described, capable of being cost-effectively implemented worldwide without destroying the rest of the world in the process and I will consider you somewhat less of an idiot. In the meantime I might remind you that time and again organizations have tried this and have never succeeded.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't get upset, but this is (fairly) trivial to do.

        "Tell you what... come up with a working implementation of _any_ portion"

        A working solution is nominated contact at Level3|[Insert Other carrier] receives notification via the correct channel, injects /32 with community set to 3356:9999 (communities vary with service provider) into BGP session, IP transiting Level3 disappears, takes less than a minute.

        Just because you don't do this type of thing on a regular basis, doesn't mean we don't ( I don't work for Level3, I'm just using them an example. Cogent have a specific peer rather than a community 66.28.8.1/32 US, 130.117.20.1/32 EU for blackhole routes).

        "destroy the rest of the world", grow up.

        Organisations _do not make laws_, however governemts do and entities incorporated in those countries usually abide by their laws.

        Like I said already, whether you or I like it is not at question, things people dislike exist, like cooked fruit, aparently American's love apple pie.

        If you stick to what you know, rather than what do don't, in your words "I will consider you somewhat less of an idiot."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't get upset, but this is (fairly) trivial to do.

          Oh, a down vote, I knew I shouldn't have mentioned apple pie.

  24. Jonjonz

    Mark Twain was right

    There is no greater collection of thieves and idiots than the US congress.

    Any money grubbing car salesman can get in, and graft all they can and then in their spare time put on bad political theatre like this.

    1. Chika

      Re: Mark Twain was right

      Congress - Opposite of progress.

  25. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Some of the BBC coverage is similarly funny this morning. "I apologise, we'll leave that speech just now. That is not the French Prime minister as we were promised, that was the President of the Mayors federation." Or when they mistranslated Bernard Cazeneuve saying "I applaud the cold blood of the people of Saint Denise" instead of applauding their steady-nerves. Apologies to Blondie, but

    Saint Denise, Paris

    Allons-y, les Blues

    Kalifaha, Caliph

    Nous venons pour vous

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Arrest all Onion Salesmen !

    This way we can ensure production of Onion routers grinds to a halt !

  27. Roo
    Windows

    " If they were required to run a background check on every domain name registered, it would hugely increase the cost of a domain and massively limit the internet's flexibility. We would end up with a government-regulated internet – which is something that no one beyond authoritarian regimes want."

    Ergo the US (and UK) are ruled by authoritarian regimes... Surely there's no harm in coming right out and saying that as we've got nothing to hide any more because they've got enough powers to confiscate & peruse everything we have in our possession. ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If they were required to run a background check on every domain name"

      Nominet are getting pretty close with their registrant verification requirements.

  28. wonderboom

    An improvement ....

    Would have been a better article if it has been a quote from Joey Bartons twitter feed ......

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the ISIS websites had the occasional dodgy camcorder recording of the latest godawful blockbuster, then the websites would be shut down quick as a flash.

  30. Joseph Eoff
    Joke

    "Shut off the parts of the internet that the terrorists use"

    Well, if that's Facebook then I'm all for it.

    Who needs Facebook?

  31. Bob Dole (tm)
    FAIL

    The author missed the point

    I don't believe this particular congressman is really trying to "shut down websites". Rather, this appears to be another shot at the idea of the US giving up oversight of ICANN. He clearly thinks that's a bad idea and has a history of pushing bills to stop the President from relinquishing ICANN control. To him control of the internet is synonymous with US regulation of ICANN.

    I'm not going to say he's right or wrong. Rather I'm just here to point out that you need to dive further to see what is really going on.

  32. Flywheel Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Texas

    As soon as I saw "Texas" on his nameplate I knew that reading the article was a waste of time.

  33. Swarthy
    Thumb Up

    Praise be to The Register

    If history has taught us anything it's that no amount of laws will stop the spreading of ideas. Once the authorities have the power to act on clear risks – and they already have that authority in spades – the solution to continued atrocities is not more control, it is more education.
    ^^^This, A thousand times, THIS!

    1. Roo

      Re: Praise be to The Register

      "– the solution to continued atrocities is not more control, it is more education."

      I agree with the principle, it's just in that there is a large body of evidence that indicates education won't work...

      The ruling classes, many of whom attended highly regarded educational establishments with excellent track records, keep coming up with stupid ideas that can't be killed, eg: "bombing people into submission" (aka terrorism) and mass surveillance to protect 'citizens'. I really wish education would kill those stupid ideas, but clearly it's not up to the job.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Praise be to The Register

        Education ought to be a part of the solution. But in the UK and USA education has pretty much been turned into skills training over the last decade or so.

        The combination of a return to behaviourist views of learning by the powers that be and a belief that education for the masses is just about teaching job skills means that teaching kids to think/understand/analyse has been dumped.

        Instead the teachers have to drill the kids, starting in the early years, with factoids and mechanical procedures ( like phonics). Even the IT approach, coding, isn't about understanding IT. It's about creating code-by-numbers code monkeys.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Praise be to The Register

      I agree with you 100%. However, there is a small problem in that education of the masses is controlled by the powers that be. In the US, currently little mention is made of WWI WWII in the history books. No background, no context, just a few paragraphs. Political correctness is now running amok. Just look to the students at the University of Missouri who are throwing hissy fits that their "black lives matter" agenda has been superceded in the news by the Paris attack.

      On the Daesh side, they feel that an education is suitable only for males and only about the Koran/Quran/Holy Book.

      Other countries have their prejudices in what is taught or not taught also.

      Not only 'more education" but perhaps a more complete education is needed.

  34. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Terrorists can telephone each other, SHUT DOWN BT!!!! foam gibber drool

  35. chris 17 Silver badge
    WTF?

    DNS just resolves domain names to IP addresses

    DNS just resolves domain names to IP addresses.

    nothing to stop these terrorists circulating their own hosts files or just setting up their own dns servers & getting their buds to use them for resolution. The US can do what they want then, wont make any difference to the terrorists private DNS system.

  36. Barry Rueger

    Facebook? Responsible?

    "There are countless examples of what Twitter and Facebook are doing when it comes to the use of their services in distasteful ways."

    Only if by "distasteful" you mean "Pictures of breastfeeding."

    As recently as last month I reported some virulently racist crap posted to Facebook by a relative, only to be told that it didn't violate their "community standards."

    I hardly think that corporations operated by man-boys whose world view never made it past grade seven tittie jokes have much chance of stopping the Islamic State, Jugalos, or my local Girl Guide troop.

    Assuming they even wanted to.

  37. mazzy2u2

    Oh good grief....

    OK, if I was a terrorist, knowing full well that the governments around the world are listening in on the net, thats the last thing I would use to plan attacks. Simple things like codes on phones, informal gatherings and how about the good old post to plan things. Making the net more insecure for everyone doesnt harm the people who are planing these attacks, sadly, they will do it regardless.

  38. Fungus Bob
    FAIL

    Slugs 'n' Grubs

    That's all you find in DC now.

  39. wayward4now
    Holmes

    I thought Ted was spot-on

    " it is not on a par with the famous "series of tubes" misunderstanding from "Techno" Ted Stevens back in 2006."

  40. Kwll

    Obsolete

    Why?

    I mean, why on earth are those people allowed to speak and take decision on something clearly beyond their comprehension? Aware humans should understand by themselves when the time to smile, bow, and go is finally arrived.

    It is the very same script all over again:

    Blag flag operation --> Death of civilians under the spotlights of every media possible to spread the news ---> retaliation and enforcement of other security measures aimed to prevent attacks but generating more revenues and casually used for spying on others (citizens, neighbors countries, supposed allies) ---> repeat, with more nasty technology.

    Are we really so blind and addicted to this that cannot eventually break the circle? Oh come on Humanity, we are much better than that!

  41. admiraljkb

    This is where we know its time for the poor old dude to retire from public service. He probably still has an AOL account at home. :)

  42. Jim Oase

    Not for sissies

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  43. Dave 13
    Pint

    Sadly..

    Sadly, this guy hails from my part of TX. I don't like his invincible ignorance either. But for every Republican technical illiterate elected, there's an even worse Democrat opposing them. At least he's not suggesting islands "tip over" when overpopulated. Must be something in the water - Gin and tonic from here on out for me, Bucko..

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