Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt has said that ‘technology companies should work on tools to disrupt terrorism – such as creating a hate speech “spell-checker”’.
His essay comes as presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton again called in Silicon Valley to help tackle terrorism, specifically seeking tools to combat the so-called Islamic State. She said during a speech in Washington DC, “We need to put the great disrupters at work at disrupting ISIS”.
Writing in the New York Times, Mr Schmidt said using technology to automatically filter out extremist material would “de-escalate tensions on social media” and “remove videos before they spread”.
In the wake of the Paris attacks, companies and governments have clashed over how to handle the terrorism threat.
Many tech firms, buoyed by the fallout from the Edward Snowden leaks, have stood firm on encryption – with the likes of Apple and others making it near-impossible to access a locked smartphone without the password, a move that has frustrated some politicians.
With the terrorism debate escalating after last week’s shootings in San Bernardino, Mr Schmidt’s editorial appears to be an attempt to reduce these tensions and show a willingness from technology companies to help.
Mr. Schmidt wrote, “As with all great advances in technology, expanded Web access has also brought with it some serious challenges, like threats to free speech, qualms about surveillance and fears of online terrorist activity. For all the good people can do with new tools and new inventions, there are always some who will seek to do harm. Ever since there’s been fire, there’s been arson.”