Yes, Donald Trump Wants To Shut Down Part Of The Internet

Photo: Mike Blake/Landov.
Don't worry — it's not actually possible — but Donald Trump's proposal to "shut down" parts of the internet frequented by people with so-called "radical" ideas goes way, way too far.

This isn't the first time Trump has called for this sort of approach to the internet; he proposed the same thing last week in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings. While it is appealing to think that shutting down horrible and radical-sounding rhetoric could solve the problems of terrorism, violent misogyny, and radical racism, it's not the answer. And it just doesn't work that way — unless you live in North Korea.

Some of the most famous First Amendment legal cases in American history revolve around whether it's okay or not to shut down people with abhorrent, ugly, hateful views. Ku Klux Klan members marched in a parade through Skokie, Illinois, and they had every right to, because freedom of speech is enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Even fellow Republican candidate Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky recognized it.

Trump doesn't talk about shutting down the internet for anti-woman terrorism, or terrorism against people of color. But he's fine with tarring Muslims and making sites of interest to Muslims off-limits because they might be monitored by people with radical sympathies. All of Trump's tough talk doesn't track with American civil liberties, technology's limits, or the global reach of the internet.
Advertisement