GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump suggested Monday that America should close its borders to all Muslims and “close up” the internet to prevent Islamic extremism.
“We’re losing a lot of people because of the internet. We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some ways,” Trump said.
But as the real estate magnate uttered the words, French officials were considering doing just that.
Following last month’s Paris attacks that killed 130 people, France’s law enforcement officials are considering a ban on using public WiFi or the secure encrypted web network known as Tor during a state of emergency.
The proposal was first reported by the French newspaper Le Monde after the publication obtained documents leaked from France’s Minister of Interior. Politicians, law enforcement, and government officials on both sides of the Atlantic have suggested curbing use of encryption or secured internet connections and enhancing surveillance to make it easier to catch perpetrators after a violent event.
French officials claim the proposal would make criminal targets easier to spot because the volume of people who connect to public WiFi can make it harder to find individuals using the same WiFi connection, Mashable reported. Restricting Tor access would also mean law enforcement could find targets more quickly.
Tor is a secure network that uses browsers, software, and other digital tools to anonymously access the Dark Web — a series of websites invisible on the regular internet. Tor encrypts Web traffic and obfuscates websites’ and users’ IP addresses and locations by re-routing their traffic signals all over the world.
After claiming responsibility for the November attacks, Islamic State’s (ISIS) reportedly moved its online activity to the Dark Net to evade heightened security. But its attempts to set up a propaganda website were thwarted by anti-ISIS hackers.
As Mashable points out, blocking Tor would also put France, the birthplace of democracy, in the business censorship. (China is the only country that specifically blocks Tor connections.) But even still, France’s proposal likely wouldn’t stop ISIS’ current internet campaigns on the open Web through platforms such as Twitter.