It was designed to survive a nuclear war and not to rely upon a single system, so “shutting it down” would take a gargantuan effort.
Donald Trump knows how to get people talking, but his most recent comments suggest he knows next to nothing about the Internet or technology.
In a speech in South Carolina on Tuesday, the presidential hopeful said, “We’ve got to maybe do something with the Internet” because groups like ISIS are using it to radicalize people. Trump then suggested calling on Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the likes to see about “closing it up.”
"We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening,” Trump said. “We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some ways. Somebody will say, 'Oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people."
Politics aside, this was incredibly silly to say -- at least in tech terms -- for the man who routinely calls people stupid. Perhaps he meant the U.S. government should censor the Web, like China and North Korea. Or maybe he wants the U.S. government to launch a vast cyber offensive akin to the Stuxnet worm to cripple a region’s Internet access.
More likely, though, is that Trump really doesn’t understand how the Internet works. It was designed to survive a nuclear war and not to rely upon a single system, so “shutting it down” would take a gargantuan effort. There may be ways to crash the whole Internet -- American engineer Danny Hillis talked about this in a TED talk -- but here’s guessing Trump didn’t have that presentation on his mind when he said what he said.