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US FCC says it cannot just shut down Daesh affiliates’ websites

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Daesh militants (file photo)

The United States head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says the country cannot risk closing websites that promote the ideology of Takfiri terrorists on the internet.

The Hill said in a report Tuesday that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler made the comments in response to a question by a US lawmaker on Friday.

"Isn't there something we can do under existing law to shut those Internet sites down?" asked Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas). "And I know they pop up like weeds, but once they do pop up, shut them down and turn the Internet addresses over to the appropriate law enforcement agencies to try and track them down."

Wheeler said in response that such a move would be a “challenge” to the commission that cannot be simply underestimated.

"We cannot underestimate the challenge," said the FCC chairman. "I'm not sure our authority extends to [shut down the websites], but I do think there are specific things we can do."

He also made similar remarks to Representative Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), noting that the FCC does not have the authority to track social media accounts.

"We do not have jurisdiction over Facebook and all the other edge providers. We do not intend to assert jurisdiction over them," he said.

Wheeler,argued however, that the commission could pressure the CEOs of tech companies, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, to take a measure in this regard.

"I will call Mark Zuckerberg this afternoon to raise the issue you've raised and the issue Mr. Barton raised. And I'm sure he is concerned as well and he'll have some thoughts," Wheeler said.

The FCC head further states that “If we can't connect the dots — you know after 9/11 we kept hearing about 'we couldn't connect the dots, we couldn't connect the dots' — we have the ability inside our system to use big data to connect the dots, but we don't have the capacity."

Wheeler’s comments were released in the wake of Daesh Takfiris’ night of horror in Paris, which left some 130 killed and hundreds more injured.

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