back to article Dad of student slain in Paris terror massacre sues Google, Twitter, Facebook for their 'material support' of ISIS

A grieving father has sued Google, Twitter and Facebook, alleging the web giants enabled the Paris terrorist attacks that killed his daughter. Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, was a student spending a semester in the French capital when she and 129 others were murdered by gunmen and suicide bombers aligned with ISIS. She was the only …

Anonymous Coward

What a wanker

Using the death of his daughter to try to extract some money from those companies. This is horrible.

Alphabet, Twatter and Facebook are certainly evil companies and deserve to be sued for a multitude of reasons, but using such a tragedy to get rich? This is really low in my opinion.

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Re: What a wanker

Is he suing for money? Or change? From the name of the law firm, I'd guess money. But still, he has a point. Whether it's valid or not, remains to be seen.

I do agree with other posters about the "ambulance chasing law firm". They play on grief for their benefit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a wanker

And I partially agree with you. In the place of the father I'd go mad in grief and blame everyone and everything too. I'm almost sure that he fell victim to, as you called it, an "ambulance chasing law firm". What I think is problematic is that he sticks to it. I can't imagine the pain of losing my kid, but even in the most extremes of grief you don't lose all reason. Whether he sought out to sue, or a law firm pitched to make someone pay for that tragedy, fact is that he agreed to make this into a money-grub.

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Re: What a wanker

The real slime is the shyster pursuing the case. I can sort of understand the family lashing out at more or less innocent bystanders but the shyster is enamored with a big payday.

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Re: What a wanker

He is suing only a subset of the right people.

If he is suing them for providing terrorists with a platform via news coverage he should be starting with most of the legacy news services (both print and TV) instead.

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Re: What a wanker

Logically, the people whom he should be suing are the terrorists.

I seem to remember that terrorist groups have managed perfectly well *without* the internet: its absence doesn't seem to have slowed down, for example, the IRA, the Mau-mau, the Stern Gang, or any number of other folk with a grievance and an attitude throughout history.

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Re: What a wanker

I guess 20 years ago he would have sued Hammermill and Xerox, since they would have used copy machines to create leaflets to spew their hate.

Hopefully this lawsuit gets immediately dismissed. I'm sorry for his loss, but this idiotic move isn't a good way to remember his daughter, and won't prevent any future attacks. That would require a change in US foreign policy, which doesn't look likely based on the two major party candidates under a similar delusion that you can defeat terrorism with bombs.

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Re: What a wanker

"its absence doesn't seem to have slowed down, for example, the IRA, the Mau-mau, the Stern Gang"

However, what we did not have at the time was random individuals with mental illness reading the output of those organisations on the Net and, as a result, going out and killing people. The three examples you mentioned were all territorially limited, while the Orlando massacre happened a long way from the Middle East.

There is apparently some evidence that organisations like Daesh are now finding it very difficult to infiltrate terrorists or communicate with agents abroad - the latter sometimes resulting in drone strikes. Using Facebook or Twitter to broadcast their views in language carefully crafted to stir up paranoid schizophrenics and the like, makes it possible for them to originate attacks without putting their own personnel at risks. It's a little bit like the Nazis indoctrinating kids via the Hitlerjunge so that at the end of the war they could be sent off, without direction, with Panzerfausts, thus providing human tank killers without risking the remaining regular soldiers.

There is a great divide between the EU and US over hate speech. The US thinks that allowing it will enable people to make up their own minds, but the evidence so far (Trump, for a start) is that many people are willing recipients. The EU has had a major war of ideologies in its territories in the last hundred years, which is why Germany has strong laws against far right propaganda. I incline to the EU view, partly because people like my father had to risk their lives so their families didn't end up in concentration camps.

I do think that Facebook and Twitter need to be subjected to tighter regulation, and if it turns out that their business model isn't sustainable, well, the US knows where it can stuff TTIP. Protection of a business model isn't worth the life of a single person, whether at a nightclub or a Labour MP.

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Pint

@AC

I have to agree, but for a different reason: "Don't shoot the messenger".

Sueing Google, Twitter and Facebook is the easy and cheap way out, leaving the real culprits untouched. If I post something obnoxious through one of those sites (which I can't anyway because I don't have social media counts) then who's to blame? Them or me?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC

Sueing Google, Twitter and Facebook is the easy and cheap way out, leaving the real culprits untouched.

Yeah, I'd really like to see someone try suing Daesh. Good luck getting a representative to turn up in court!

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Re: What a wanker

Although we did not, in the somewhat distant past "random individuals with mental illness reading the output of those organisations on the Net and, as a result, going out and killing people" we did have "random individuals with mental illness" (for some reasonable understanding of mental illness) "going out and killing people." One need go no further than Wikipedia to see that rather clearly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a wanker

The change he would want is censorship??? The Paris attacks came a month after Francis Hollande ordered bombing raids against ISIS in Syria. If anything blowback would be expected, yet Hollande only put France on war footing *after* the attacks.

The "terrorist was radicalized by internet" tag line is from the people wanting surveillance and control of the internet. Justifying their failed data mining of outliers. They didn't predict these people because they're using non-causal data to try to predict rare outliers. Pretending correlation data is causal is just data miners BS. Pretending these people were radicalized by words, and not by Francis Hollande bombing their team, is ass covering.

This hopefully will fail. And if GCHQ are spying on Brexit supporters using the excuse of Jo Cox's death, they should be ashamed. No political surveillance of brits will ever pick these outliers. focus on the supply of guns instead.

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Re: What a wanker

You're calling the recently bereaved father of a daughter most horribly murdered a wanker? You should go and look in the mirror and be ashamed at what you see.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a wanker

The "terrorist was radicalized by internet" tag line is from the people wanting surveillance and control of the internet.

If you're such an expert, why don't you tell us exactly how it happens then, and somehow prove to us that hot headed young men of this sort don't use the Internet in any way whatsoever?

Your view is at odds with newspaper reports of court cases involving such people.

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Re: What a wanker

"They aren't actively helping ISIS, but they aren't actively trying to get rid of them either."

Yeah! Google have enough money to build a private army!

Wait. What?

What exactly are you suggesting they do differently from what was mentioned in the article?

I'd point out that if terrorists are using US based services to recruit people then they are a bit silly seeing as (as the article says) the services in question will be monitored and appropriate authorities will be notified. Completely stopping them (it it were even possible) would only serve to move them onto different methods of recruitment which may not be as easy to monitor - which surely would be worse.

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I don't think the Orlando shooting was "ISIS inspired"

Yes, the guy held some radical islamic views, but there's zero evidence ISIS had anything to do with his actions. If ISIS didn't exist, he still would have committed the act. Maybe he would have pledged allegiance to some other terrorist group he admired, but lacking knowledge (or even the existence of) any such groups he would have still done it. Maybe in that case he would have quoted an anti-gay passage from the Koran instead, similar to how Christian gay bashers have quoted anti-gay Bible passages.

It sounds like this guy was a self-hating homosexual, who was being taught homosexuality is evil while knowing deep down that's what he was. Some people in that situation end up committing suicide, unfortunately he decided to take it out on those around him.

There's certainly no way anyone can argue that if Facebook, Twitter et al didn't exist that this guy wouldn't have committed that heinous act.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a wanker

Nazi indoctrinating children in the Hitler youth was as much about excluding contradictory information as speech. His men would attack opponents political meetings to shut their contrar speech out. So the only views that could be heard were his.

Is Brexit a valid view? Can we claim the Yorkshire shooter was radicalized by Brexit views? Should anyone who uses the phrase "Britain first" be spied on by government spooks? Ban the Brexit views as radicalizing speech? Like Sweden where the government made it a crime to criticize their immigration policy, claiming racism, thus silencing critics of their open door policy and driving Swedish right wing extremism. Suppressing views is radicalizing actions, it makes people angry that their views are suppressed.

Conflicted gay shooter in Florida, CIA head claims he was radicalized by the Internet, but family witnesses say he was upset when he saw men kissing openly. CIA man *wants* to push radicalizing speech agenda because he wants to spy on/control US citizens speech. A very dangerous thing to do in a 'free' democracy.

"carefully crafted to stir up paranoid schizophrenics and the like, makes it possible for them to originate attacks without putting their own personnel at risks"

How would they get the paranoid schizophrenic to read their comments yet not read counter comments? Magic reader magnetism? I think you're trying t craft a 'speech = radicalization' claim as a justification for attacking speech. i.e. *THEY* are weak nutters easily led by speech, whereas *I* am superior (non-nutter) and can decide for them what is and isn't acceptable speech. That's a dangerous idea. Elevating yourself as superior over others is radicalizing action.

Trump has valid views, just because you disagree with them doesn't mean his views can be silenced, rather they should be countered with facts. He might well win against Clinton, she's weak, says whatever will get her elected, is not Bill. The danger then is that he attacks free speech if he gets elected, so we need to defend speech now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a wanker

"If you're such an expert, why don't you tell us exactly how it happens then, and somehow prove to us that hot headed young men of this sort don't use the Internet in any way whatsoever? Your view is at odds with newspaper reports of court cases involving such people."

A simple timeline:

France starts bombing ISIS in Syria Sept 27th 2015:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/france-launches-first-airstrikes-against-isis-in-syria/

November 14th (around 6 weeks later), ISIS supporters attack Paris:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-paris-attacks-minute-by-minute/

The claim that the attack was motivated by radicalizing speech, ignores the clear causality. Newspapers simply parrot stories designed to appeal to readers prejudices as a means to selling newspapers. They do not represent some hidden wisdom.

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Anonymous Coward

He was also gay, so obviously gay people should be banned from owning guns, and denied US citizenship.

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Wahhabi is the name Islamists give to their sect of Islam.

He doesn't have a point. ISIS grew because the USA has done everything it can to aid and protect the Wahhabi kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Wahhabi is the name Islamists give to their sect of Islam. Wahhabi, or sometimes Salafist.

The US government has spent the lives of young American men to allow Saudi Arabia and Qata to evangelize Wahhabism throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and now North America.

Now we're having to put up with the Wahhabi terrorism that before struck only Shia and Suffi Muslims and we don't like it.

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At least the Nazis only burned the books they objected too, not all books.

@AC "If you're such an expert, why don't you tell us exactly how it happens then, and somehow prove to us that hot headed young men of this sort don't use the Internet in any way whatsoever?

Your view is at odds with newspaper reports of court cases involving such people."

If you want links provide them yourself.

The logic of blaming Google, Twitter and Facebook is the logic of blaming the water company, department of highways and FAA for providing water, roads and flights to terrorists.

It is even sillier logic than that used by Germans in the 1920s and 30s in their book burnings.

At least the Nazis only burned the books they objected too, not all books.

The Nazis didn't try to eliminate the publishing industry (they just tried to put it under loose state control).

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Re: What a wanker

It's a typically American response.

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Re: What a wanker

@AC

"Is Brexit a valid view? Can we claim the Yorkshire shooter was radicalized by Brexit views? Should anyone who uses the phrase "Britain first" be spied on by government spooks? Ban the Brexit views as radicalizing speech?"

Amusingly on that topic apparently the EU has discussed such a thing. Not specifically Brexit but after the Austrians nearly voted a right wing party they claimed they would have blanked and ignored Austria and would fight tooth and nail (interfere in general elections) to stop 'extremist' parties from getting elected. Unfortunately extreme parties seem to be the only ones offering referendums or exit from the EU.

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Re: What a wanker

These are commercial entities - they only care about money, how else would you exact change? By asking nicely?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a wanker

The IRA is/was a product of a pre-internet age and survived due to the financial support of Irish Americans (mostly New Yorkers) that stopped in 2001. Without that support, within a few years enough weapons had been laid down to be able to call it a peace.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a wanker

[b]shyster[/b]

You've hidden your antisemitism well.

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Facepalm

1-800-LAW-FIRM

That name would be ham-fisted even for Lionel Hutz's law firm...

I think mr Gonzalez won't get much more than exemplifying all that is wrong with USA's legal-happy mentality.

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Re: 1-800-LAW-FIRM

1-800-SHY-STER would be better.

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Re: 1-800-LAW-FIRM / USA's legal-happy mentality

Historical trivia time:

Two out of three 'Founding Fathers'* were lawyers or had equivalent legal training.

* Meaning, in this context, the delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

As to the topic at hand: ambulance chasing taken to the next level.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 1-800-LAW-FIRM / USA's legal-happy mentality

At least ambulance chasing lawyers don't shove people under trucks or spray paint stop signs in order to gain customers.

We're -- at least some "IT security experts and academics" are almost the only industry that can't look down on lawyers.

(Mind you, our industry seems to be slowly improving, unlike the legal industry, which seems more and more to be run only for the benefit of insiders.)

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Bah!

Obviously lost in a cloud of grief and needing to lash out.

Can't do anything to the gunmen. Can't do anything to whatever deity he believes in (a signal property of any deity is that they are beyond range of a good and well-deserved kicking 100% of the time).

Can't go after the police. They did what they could.

Thirty years ago he'd be going after the phone company.

If you haven't raised a child you aren't in a position to judge the poor sod. I doubt he's fully sane right now. You could all more usefully pour your scorn on the ambulance chacing "legal advisors" who no doubt paid him a call as soon as humanly possible. That's where mine is going.

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Re: Bah!

According to a few reports it took the Orlando PD 3 hours to get the courage to storm the club. So there might a legitimate suit against Orlando for negligence. It is almost a certainty storming the club within 15 or 20 minutes with whoever was there would have ended the tragedy sooner. The likely trade off would have a couple of donut eaters for more civilians.

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Re: Bah!

Storming the club without any intelligence is a bad idea. There is no good outcome when good people are killed by bad people.

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Re: Bah!

"According to a few reports it took the Orlando PD 3 hours to get the courage to storm the club."

No, it took the Orlando PD 3 hours to come to the conclusion he was just stalling for time and was pretty much in Kill Until Killed mode, meaning it was pointless to negotiate further. It's not uncommon for hostage situations to run on for hours if not days, the idea being the police want to wait out the perp and make him (a) chicken out, (b) come to his senses, or (c) if it comes to it, open himself to a sniper. But as here, the police are also careful to see if the perp has no intention to negotiate in good faith.

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Another case of "just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

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He might as well sue the air, since the attackers might have gotten close enough to whisper to each other! Or all pen and paper companies, since they might have written notes to each other! OH, THE HORROR!

How did laws enforcementators deal with crimes before the Internet? Surely, there was no crime before the 1980s, when the Internet became a reality. :P

Before that time there was a class of police personage known as the Investigator. They must have all died out when they switched from "figuring it out" to "you never have to think, just search for crimes in the crimDB, guy!"

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> Surely, there was no crime before the 1980s, when the Internet became a reality. :P

Yes but in the 80s it was because of video nasties, In the 90s it was computer games

In the 70s it was cinema, in the 60s drugs, rock music in the 50s

In the 40s they blamed it on the rise of facism and the invention of aerial bombing and nuclear weapons

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Don't forget comic books (1954 onwards).

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I committed crimes because of D&D. The papers said so.

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I think he should

Look, I'm not anti-Google. I accept that it does in fact "quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users". But not wanting to look evil is fairly week motivation. The threat of lawsuits is a better one (even when they fail as I suspect this one will). And why is a company with the most powerful content detection algorithms in the world relying on users to flag objectionable videos. I suspect some extra motivation is in fact required.

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Re: I think he should

I don't believe these companies are that quick to deal with disallowed or downright illegal usage. I see it whenever I look at their sites, which isn't often.

They DO censor - enough to undermine free speech, but not enough to prevent great harms. Yes, they're damned either way.

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As it turns out, in the actual event there was only one gunman and storming the club would have been the right thing to do.

Problem is, our police have been told to put officer safety ahead of public safety.

Something they doubtless learned from US special forces whose doctrine is to put American military lives ahead of the lives of the foreign civilians they are supposed to be defending.

Oh well, at least they didn't order in a drone strike.

Seriously, the world is going downhill and it isn't all the fault of "foreigners".

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In the late 1800s it was novels.

In the early 1800s it was books.

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Perhaps he should sue his employer too.

Had they only kept him on minimum wage and deprived him of spare cash then he would have been like the majority of Americans who can not afford to fly to another part of the world. It is his employer who made it possible for his daughter to be there.

Heck, He should sue his wife, and himself too!... After all, he allowed her to do it - perhaps even encouraged it!.

Had we "Americans" not pillaged the middle east for so many years, had we "Americans" not done what we could to deprive other areas of the world growth and independence... Well,.. Had we not done those things then these extremeist wouldn't have ever come to power.

So lets sue the whole USA. Lets sue Germany, their slaughter of the Jewish led to them setting up their own state and that has increased tension helping to lead to this stuff too.

Heck, Lets sue the British French and Spanish too. Had they not actually slaughtered the native population of North American and colonized it then he wouldn't have needed to have worried about this.

I feel sorry for the guy, but I don't see how this is a good path.

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You joke but every single example you gave has been tried and continues to be tried.

And then some.

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Big Brother

There is a constant battle between freedom and security. There are some people who would seek to use this event to institute new limits on freedom of speech to silence those they oppose. They probably have lists of thousands of accounts they want suspended, just waiting for new legislation to be passed.

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Anonymous Coward

But what happens when the line becomes SO fine that just a single slip could ruin civilization (a nuke or perhaps some superplague a la Captain Trips) such that it can occur within the natural human margin of error?

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Have you been paying attention to a certain President wannabee? Been refusing to speak with reporters who don't share his views? Shouts down anyone opposing viewpoints? Wanted Bill Gates to work on shutting down the Internet? Yes it is a battle and it may get a tougher battle to fight in the near future.

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Some points to consider.

Google, Twitter, and Facebook (amongst others) *claim* that they actively and religiously weed out accounts owned by those with terrorist leanings. As they are censors, they can therefore be held responsible for what they've missed or left behind, since they aren't "common carriers" that don't censor the information being transmitted. In fact, looking at, analysing, and profiting from the data being transmitted is their whole business model.

They also profit from the viewing of posts and videos by these groups, amongst others. And they share those profits with the groups in question, at least until they censor them. Even when called on it, they resist removing certain things because hey, they're profitable. i.e. the YouTube video of the girl being raped, which they actively resisted removing for a while.

These are corporations that also help various dictatorships with their censorship, all because it's profitable for them to do so. Companies that actively profit from videos by terrorists and others.

They aren't common carriers, they aren't protected organizations, and they'll do anything at all for profit. Why shouldn't they face the consequences of their actions in facilitating what these various violent organizations are doing? Or at least be forced to explain themselves in court.

As for censorship - all those who claim "censorship" please raise your hands. All those who cheered when Gawker was bankrupted please sit down. All those sitting with your hands raised - you're hypocrites, slap yourselves.

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