Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has some pretty radical plans for the U.S. should he ever get into the White House, and it appears that one of those plans is to block access to the Internet. To get this done, he is planning to go and talk to Bill Gates.
The co-founder of Microsoft is one of the most iconic figures in the history of the PC revolution, helping put computers in hundreds of millions of homes around the world, but Gates is not in charge of the Internet and has absolutely no say in the way it is run.
In a statement released Monday, Trump said he wanted a “total and complete shutdown” of the country’s borders to Muslims following the San Bernardino terrorist attack last week. Later in the day, at a rally on board the U.S.S. Yorktown, a Second World War aircraft carrier docked near Charleston, South Carolina, Trump outlined another facet to his plan to fight the Islamic State group.
We are losing a lot of people to the Internet. We have to do something. We have to go 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 way.
It is unclear what Trump meant by going "to see Bill Gates," though it appears to suggest that Trump believes the Microsoft co-founder may be in charge of the fabled Internet kill switch -- something that the inventor of the world wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, says doesn't exist. Trump could be talking about disrupting the online communications of the extremist group -- also known as ISIS, IS, ISIL or Daesh -- which is an issue President Barack Obama addressed Sunday.
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Trump then went on to predict a negative reaction to his calls for a shutdown of the Internet, and in the same breath completely dismissed such complaints: “Some people will say, 'Freedom of speech, Freedom of speech,'” Trump added, before saying “These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people.”
Despite a lot of controversial views about how to deal with immigrants -- including the possibility of maintaining a database of all American Muslims, deporting 11 million Hispanics and building a wall along the Mexican border -- Trump remains the front-runner to win the Republican nomination for president in 2016.