Donald Trump says the government must work with “brilliant people” in Silicon Valley to keep violent extremists offline, even if it means shutting down parts of the Internet.
But what he’s proposing isn’t possible with today’s technology. And even if it were, such a move would likely hurt more than potential attackers, and it would hinder the government’s ability to keep tabs on them.
Here’s a look at Trump’s idea and why it won’t work.
WHAT HE SAID
During Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate, Trump said that because the extremist Islamic State group is using the Internet to recruit, the tech industry needs to find a way to stop them from doing that.
“ISIS is recruiting through the Internet. ISIS is using the Internet better than we are using the Internet, and it was our idea,” Trump said. “What I wanted to do is I wanted to get our brilliant people from Silicon Valley and other places and figure out a way that ISIS cannot do what they’re doing.”
Trump went on to say that that he would be open to closing parts of the Internet that cover areas where the U.S. is at war or where IS operates, such as parts of Syria and Iraq. Even better, he said, would be to tap the brightest minds from the U.S. to infiltrate their Internet gatherings and stay up on extremists’ activities, which U.S. intelligence agencies are already working at.
Trump isn’t alone in calling on Silicon Valley’s brainpower to figure out a way to keep violent extremists off social networks and messaging services. Democrat Hillary Clinton also has said the U.S. government and technologists should work together to block potential attackers from using the Internet to draw in new supporters.