Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is calling for stronger allies in the war on ISIS: technology companies.
Speaking at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, Clinton said that in order to properly fight ISIS, it is imperative technology giants including social media companies Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR), alongside Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), work with the U.S. government to combat the militant group’s efforts.
“It’s time for an urgent dialogue between the government—and not just our government—and the high-tech community to confront this problem together,” Clinton said during her speech. She added that ISIS is growing in numbers and sophistication, and will require the combined efforts of “governments and high-tech experts to figure how we disrupt them.”
Clinton’s comments are part of a broader debate over how the U.S. government balances technology and its ongoing battle with ISIS. Over the last few years, the technology industry has come under fire for practices that make it too easy for organizations like ISIS to communicate and act, say critics and law-enforcement officials.
Silicon Valley companies, including Apple, Facebook and Twitter, have made clear that they have no interest in governments having “backdoor” access into their data. However, the social networks continually remove offending content and accounts, and have revised their use policies to limit what’s allowed on their services. In some cases, those moves have made it more difficult for groups like ISIS to operate online.
“We share the government’s goal of keeping terrorist content off our site,” Facebook spokesman Andrew Souvall told Fortune. “Facebook has zero tolerance for terrorists, terror propaganda, or the praising of terror activity, and we work aggressively to remove it as soon as we become aware of it. If we become aware of a threat of imminent harm or a planned terror attack, our terms permit us to provide that information to law enforcement and we do.”
Still, those efforts seem to be too little for Clinton.
“Technology’s often called the great disrupter, and it has been in work and communications, so much else,” she said. “But we need to put the great disrupters to work in disrupting ISIS and stopping them from having this open platform for communicating with their dedicated fighters and their wannabes, like the people in San Bernardino.”
Clinton also discussed “depriving jihadists of virtual territory, just as we work to deprive them of actual territory” in the speech. “They are using websites, social media, chat rooms, and other platforms to celebrate beheadings, recruit future terrorists, and call for attacks,” said the leading Democratic candidate. “We should work with host companies to shut them down.”
But Clinton wasn’t done chastising the industry, and questioned whether companies would actually fall in line.
“You’re going to hear all of the usual complaints, you know, freedom of speech, etc.,” she said of tech firms. “But if we truly are in a war against terrorism and we are truly looking for ways to shut off their funding, shut off the flow of foreign fighters then we’ve got to shut off their means of communicating.”
While Clinton’s comments are nothing new for technology companies battling for more privacy, they may ultimately prove to be an issue for her wallet.
In Oct., Newsweek evaluated U.S. Federal Election Commission filings to see how Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle fared in collecting campaign donations. Clinton was by far the front-runner, generating more than $300,000 in donations from individual employees at Silicon Valley’s 10 biggest companies during the third quarter. According to CrowdPac, a site that monitors campaign donations by industry, Clinton has received $727,000 from the technology industry so far.
Despite that haul, Clinton seems to have no problem taking issue with these firms. But she just may find that going into 2016, some of that cash may dry up.
Both Apple and Google declined to comment on Clinton’s comments. Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
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