BLOG: Some in Congress see Internet freedom as threat

Tom Jackson
Feb 24, 2011

Freedom has served the Internet well. The Net continues to expand and offer new opportunities, with little government interference. It's served as a way to connect people who want to engage in political act or connect and share common interests.
Naturally, that's seen as a threat, not only in countries such as North Korea and Iran, but also in Congress. As my colleague Ashley Bethard wrote recently, three U.S. senators leading the charge to give the president an "Internet kill switch," are back with a new version of the bill.
The trio — Joe Lieberman, Susan Collins and Thomas Carper — have figured out that shutting down or censoring the Internet is a hard sell, considering Mubarak's efforts to cut off Internet access in Egypt. So their measure, S. 413, which would let the president declare a "national cyber emergency" to protect "critical infrastructure," is called the "Internet Freedom Act."  Because when the president tells ISPs what to do, he's defending freedom! 
A press release from the trio explains points out that the new version explicitly says that "“neither the President, the Director of the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications nor any officer or employee of the United States Government shall have the authority to shut down the Internet.”
Lieberman offered a different explanation, though, in this CNN interview, where he explained that the U.S. needs to follow China's example so that the U.S. government "can disconnect parts of its Internet in a case of war." The president is "not going to do it every day," Lieberman explained.
At the Cato Institute, Jim Harper points out that no one has explained yet why the government needs these new powers. 

 

 

 

Comments

Captain Gutz

The US Federal government has a system of networks which it uses. The Federal government should have contol over its own networks.

They can't shut down the internet, as it is a global network.

 

 

SamAdams

Some in Congress see Internet freedom as a threat because it IS a threat.

Online organization via Facebook, twitter, and the like has been and is fueling revolution in the Middle East. It also supported and grew the Tea Party here. Groups of all stripes communicate via the 'net, but perhaps the most important of those groups are political activists. Anyone possessing a good deal of power is threatened by the ability of opponents to organize, get information NOT controlled by the government out to the general public, and more. Realistically, these people feel threatened simply because their power iitself s threatened.

That's also the single best argument AGAINST the so-called Internet "kill switch," by the way...

iamrevolutionary

 They CAN SLOW it down to where the pages won't load properly, if at all...They CAN order internet providers, IE;  Verizon, Sprint, ETC... to cut off internet access....

The reason they believe they need this law, is the same reason they needed The John W. Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2006 , signed by Bush in 2007!  Things are going to get ugly, and they want the power to keep us in line!

Have you noticed that most ALL internet providers have started "throttling" there internet service after a person uses anywhere between 2.5-5G ??  That is to prevent folks from uploading/downloading "too many" videos or broadcasts....Why would THAT BE?? 

Get ready folks!  It will be here FASTER than you think!

stillfree

Sounds like socialism to me. Control the people. Remember the biggest lie ever told. We are not a democracy people,as the feds want you to believe, we are a republic and you people better learn the difference

Centauri

Anyone possessing a good deal of power is threatened by the ability of opponents to organize, get information NOT controlled by the government out to the general public, and more. Realistically, these people feel threatened simply because their power itself is threatened.

I could not have said it better, SamAdams.

eriemom

I am for net neutrality and I am concerned about any government building a "kill" switch. I'm not sure it can be done. It has been tried around the world, but information gets out. Freedom-loving people find a way. I am also concerned about a cyber attack. We are so network dependant now, that many of our young people could not function. Case in point: Have you ever watched what happens when a cash register does not tell a young cashier how much change to give a customer? Think about banking and utilities.  Think about what could happen if, for example, gas in pipelines to a community could not be regulated. That has happened twice in northern Ohio this winter.

rbenn

YAWWNN

Stillfree, our founding fathers intended for the US to be a representative Repubilc, not a Democracy.  There are plenty of writings out there from our founding fathers that saw the inherent problems of a Democracy and the fact that Democracies were unsustainable and doomed to failure.  Unfortunately, our representative Republic has become a Democracy, whereas a vocal minority are allowed to control the outcome of government policy despite the majority being against it.  We need look no further than what is currently going on in Ohio to figure that out.

buckeye15

@ YAWWNN:

Is this some of the writings you are referring to?

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

brutus smith

 hugh, if we are a Representative Republic, why do you right wingnuts advocate Democracy for all these other countries? Why not Representative Republic?

stillfree

Thats exactly what I meant Yawwnn. I used to buy hook line and sinker that our biggest threat was belonging to United Nations, which I still think we should get out of, but I have come to the relization that the most serious mistake we are doing now is siding with Israel. We should be running from them as fast as our legs will allow.