Hopefully Not Coming Soon: Internet “Off” Switch…

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Caught this in the Washington Post. Please write your senator or congressman and tell them to worry about the economy and quit infringing on the last bastion of free speech…or we won’t even be able to bring you these stories:

 

Overkill on Internet piracy

By Jennifer Rubin

Over the weekend, First Amendment impresario Floyd Abrams addressed two controversial Internet piracy bills, the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the House version, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). He argued that the bill, designed to stop Internet theft of intellectual property, has been denounced by critics for setting up “ ‘walled gardens patrolled by government censors.’ Or derided as imparting ‘major features’ of ‘China’s Great Firewall’ to America. And accused of being ‘potentially politically repressive.’ ” He contends, “This is not serious criticism. The proposition that efforts to enforce the Copyright Act on the Internet amount to some sort of censorship, let alone Chinese-level censorship, is not merely fanciful. It trivializes the pain inflicted by actual censorship that occurs in repressive states throughout the world. Chinese dissidents do not yearn for freedom in order to download pirated movies.”

I don’t quarrel with his assertion that it is hysterical to regard enforcement of libel and copyright infringement on the Internet as the beginning of a totalitarian state. But he misses the real point of sober-minded critics: The bill is unnecessarily overbroad and a formula for a host of undesirable and unintended consequences.

ABC News reported last month on the over broad nature of the remedies that would be available:

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, said the bills would overdo it — giving copyright holders and government the power to cut off Web sites unreasonably. They could be shut down, and search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo could be stopped from linking to them.

“The solutions are draconian,” Schmidt said Tuesday at the MIT Sloan School of Management. “There’s a bill that would require ISPs [Internet service providers] to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked.”

Harvard law professor and Supreme Court advocate Laurence Tribe (whom I don’t always agree with but who takes the Bill of Rights quite seriously and was instrumental in developing the jurisprudence that confirmed the Second Amendment is an individual right) has submitted a memo detailing the multiple ways in which SOPA runs afoul of the First Amendment. For example, “SOPA provides that a complaining party can file a notice alleging that it is harmed by the activities occurring on the site ‘or portion thereof .’ Conceivably, an entire website containing tens of thousands of pages could be targeted if only a single page were accused of infringement. Such an approach would create severe practical problems for sites with substantial user-generated content, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and for blogs that allow users to post videos, photos, and other materials.”And likewise: “The notice-and-termination procedure of Section 103(a) runs afoul of the ‘prior restraint’ doctrine, because it delegates to a private party the power to suppress speech without prior notice and a judicial hearing. This provision of the bill would give complaining parties the power to stop online advertisers and credit card processors from doing business with a website,merely by filing a unilateral notice accusing the site of being ‘dedicated to theft of U.S. property’ — even if no court has actually found any infringement. The immunity provisions in the bill create an overwhelming incentive for advertisers and payment processors to comply with such a request immediately upon receipt.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have introduced a competing bill, the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (the “Open Act”), which seeks to address legitimate concerns about SOPA/PIPA and focus more specifically on the real problem without knocking down robust, protected speech in an indiscriminate fashion. Google, AOL, eBay, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Mozilla, Yahoo!, and Zynga have signed on to support this alternative to SOPA/PIPA.

The Hill recently reported on OPEN: “The draft proposal would instead authorize the International Trade Commission to investigate and issue cease-and-desist orders against foreign websites that provide pirated content or sell counterfeit goods. The ITC would have to find that the site is ‘primarily’ and ‘willfully’ engaged in copyright infringement to issue the order.” Rather than take down entire websites and potentially interfere with perfectly legitimate and protected speech OPEN, would, after a court order, “compel payment providers and online advertising services to cease providing services to the offending website. The approach comports with current copyright law and hews to the ‘follow the money’ approach favored by Google and other tech companies.”

In short, this is not a fight between protectors of copyrights and Internet anarchists. Rather, there is a legitimate policy dispute about how broad and how disruptive government enforcement powers should be when core First Amendment rights are at issue. No doubt the Motion Picture Association of America, headed by disgraced former Connecticut senator Chris Dodd, has spread plenty of money around Congress to try to give the government the bluntest, heaviest weapon to fight piracy. But that doesn’t make it good policy. And it sure doesn’t make for constitutional legislation.

Congress to Vote Next Week on EXPLICITLY Creating a Police State

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What is happening to our Constitution and freedoms with this War on Terror?

Am I being paranoid as one reader recently said? Well, listen to Rand Paul as he talks today about the National Defense Authorization Act  which will allow U.S. citizens considered terrorists to be “indefinitely detained” by the President in Guantanamo without a trial or right to face your accuser as the Constitution calls for…Is he paranoid as well?  As I’ve said before, we are turning the office of the President into the Office of our Dictator….think about it, taking over all TV and Radio communications in what the White House considers an emergency, cutting off cell phone communications and cutting off the internet….all can be done by the President.

Confusion surrounding whether or not the bill would apply to American citizens was firmly put to bed by Republican Congressman Justin Amash yesterday, when he pointed out that the language clearly gives the executive branch the power of discretion to decide who is a terrorist, whether they are a U.S. citizen or not.

Amash described the ‘indefinite detention’ provision of the bill as “one of the most anti-liberty pieces of legislation of our lifetime.”

Obama Administration Reportedly Plans to Create Internet ID for All Americans

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Got this article from a brother a couple of weeks ago, but got sick and did n’t post it. So here it is little brother…..Never mind that the courts have said the FCC has no jurisdiction over the internet. We are borderline of having a lawless federal government, ignoring the courts and Constitution constantly, i.e. czars and EPA to regulate cap and trade since they can’t get the Senate to ratify it. This is just what we need, give the President more power…..what ever happened to Checks and Balances. The Executive branch is getting way to much unchecked power, the Founding Fathers never intended on such to happen to prevent having a dictator.

Obama Administration Reportedly Plans to Create Internet ID for All Americans

President Obama is putting plans in motion to give the Commerce Department authority to create an Internet ID for all Americans, a White House official told CNET.com.

White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt told the website it is “the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government” to centralize efforts toward creating an “identity ecosystem” for the Internet.

The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace is currently being drafted by the Obama administration and will be released by the president in a few months.

“We are not talking about a national ID card. We are not talking about a government-controlled system.(Yes we are!) What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy, and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said at an event Friday at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, according to CNET.com.(Sounds good, but I guarantee you it will be a lot worse and invasive than they say it will be. Just like the article I recently posted about the Patriot Act being abused big time, this Cyber Security Act will be abused as well.)

Locke added that the Commerce Department will be setting up a national program office to work on this project.

The move has raised eyebrows about privacy issues.

“The government cannot create that identity infrastructure,” Jim Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology told the website. “If I tried to, I wouldn’t be trusted.”

Schmidt stresses that anonymity will remain on the Internet, saying there’s no chance that “a centralized database will emerge.”

(An early version was publicly released last summer.)

Click here for more on this story from CNET.com.

FCC wants the Internet

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The last bastion of freedom is being back-doored by the FCC….read this article from the Wall Street Journal:

By ROBERT M. MCDOWELL

Tomorrow morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will mark the winter solstice by taking an unprecedented step to expand government’s reach into the Internet by attempting to regulate its inner workings. In doing so, the agency will circumvent Congress and disregard a recent court ruling.

How did the FCC get here?

For years, proponents of so-called “net neutrality” have been calling for strong regulation of broadband “on-ramps” to the Internet, like those provided by your local cable or phone companies. Rules are needed, the argument goes, to ensure that the Internet remains open and free, and to discourage broadband providers from thwarting consumer demand. That sounds good if you say it fast.

Nothing is broken and needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist. Furthermore, the Obama Justice Department and the European Commission both decided this year that net-neutrality regulation was unnecessary and might deter investment in next-generation Internet technology and infrastructure.

Analysts and broadband companies of all sizes have told the FCC that new rules are likely to have the perverse effect of inhibiting capital investment, deterring innovation, raising operating costs, and ultimately increasing consumer prices. Others maintain that the new rules will kill jobs. By moving forward with Internet rules anyway, the FCC is not living up to its promise of being “data driven” in its pursuit of mandates—i.e., listening to the needs of the market.

It wasn’t long ago that bipartisan and international consensus centered on insulating the Internet from regulation. This policy was a bright hallmark of the Clinton administration, which oversaw the Internet’s privatization. Over time, however, the call for more Internet regulation became imbedded into a 2008 presidential campaign promise by then-Sen. Barack Obama. So here we are.

David Klein
mcdowell

mcdowell

Last year, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski started to fulfill this promise by proposing rules using a legal theory from an earlier commission decision (from which I had dissented in 2008) that was under court review. So confident were they in their case, FCC lawyers told the federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C., that their theory gave the agency the authority to regulate broadband rates, even though Congress has never given the FCC the power to regulate the Internet. FCC leaders seemed caught off guard by the extent of the court’s April 6 rebuke of the commission’s regulatory overreach.

In May, the FCC leadership floated the idea of deeming complex and dynamic Internet services equivalent to old-fashioned monopoly phone services, thereby triggering price-and-terms regulations that originated in the 1880s. The announcement produced what has become a rare event in Washington: A large, bipartisan majority of Congress agreeing on something. More than 300 members of Congress, including 86 Democrats, contacted the FCC to implore it to stop pursuing Internet regulation and to defer to Capitol Hill.

Facing a powerful congressional backlash, the FCC temporarily changed tack and convened negotiations over the summer with a select group of industry representatives and proponents of Internet regulation. Curiously, the commission abruptly dissolved the talks after Google and Verizon, former Internet-policy rivals, announced their own side agreement for a legislative blueprint. Yes, the effort to reach consensus was derailed by . . . consensus.

After a long August silence, it appeared that the FCC would defer to Congress after all. Agency officials began working with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman on a draft bill codifying network management rules. No Republican members endorsed the measure. Later, proponents abandoned the congressional effort to regulate the Net.

Still feeling quixotic pressure to fight an imaginary problem, the FCC leadership this fall pushed a small group of hand-picked industry players toward a “choice” between a bad option (broad regulation already struck down in April by the D.C. federal appeals court) or a worse option (phone monopoly-style regulation). Experiencing more coercion than consensus or compromise, a smaller industry group on Dec. 1 gave qualified support for the bad option. The FCC’s action will spark a billable-hours bonanza as lawyers litigate the meaning of “reasonable” network management for years to come. How’s that for regulatory certainty?

To date, the FCC hasn’t ruled out increasing its power further by using the phone monopoly laws, directly or indirectly regulating rates someday, or expanding its reach deeper into mobile broadband services. The most expansive regulatory regimes frequently started out modest and innocuous before incrementally growing into heavy-handed behemoths.

On this winter solstice, we will witness jaw-dropping interventionist chutzpah as the FCC bypasses branches of our government in the dogged pursuit of needless and harmful regulation. The darkest day of the year may end up marking the beginning of a long winter’s night for Internet freedom.

Wave Goodbye Soon to Internet Freedom

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This article appeared in the Washington Times. The FCC, under Democratic leadership, now wants its bureaucratic hands on the net.  If it happens, the voices of freedom are on their way to being silenced.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is poised to add the Internet to its portfolio of regulated industries. The agency’s chairman, Julius Genachowski, announced Wednesday that he circulated draft rules he says will “preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet.” No statement could better reflect the gulf between the rhetoric and the reality of Obama administration policies.

With a straight face, Mr. Genachowski suggested that government red tape will increase the “freedom” of online services that have flourished because bureaucratic busybodies have been blocked from tinkering with the Web. Ordinarily, it would be appropriate at this point to supply an example from the proposed regulations illustrating the problem. Mr. Genachowski‘s draft document has over 550 footnotes and is stamped “non-public, for internal use only” to ensure nobody outside the agency sees it until the rules are approved in a scheduled Dec. 21 vote. So much for “openness.”

The issue of “net neutrality” is nothing new, but the increasing popularity of online movie streaming services like Netflix have highlighted an area of potential concern. When someone watches a film over the Internet, especially in high definition, the maximum available capacity of the user’s connection is used. Think, for example, of the problems that would arise at the water works if everyone decided to turn on their faucets and take a shower simultaneously. Internet providers are beginning to see the same strain on their networks.

In some cases, heavy use of this sort slows the Web experience for everyone sharing the same lines. That has prompted some cable Internet providers to consider either charging the heavy users more or limiting access to the “problematic” services. Of course, if cinema buffs find themselves cut off from their favorite service, they’re going to be mad. If companies don’t act, they’re just as likely to find irate customers who don’t want their experience bogged down by others.

It’s not clear why the FCC thinks it needs to intervene in a situation with obvious market solutions. Companies that impose draconian tolls or block services will lose customers. Existing laws already offer a number of protections against anti-competitive behavior, but it’s not clear under what law Mr. Genachowski thinks he can stick his nose into the businesses that comprise the Internet. The FCC regulates broadcast television and radio because the government granted each station exclusive access to a slice of the airwaves. Likewise when Ma Bell accepted a monopoly deal from Uncle Sam, it came with regulatory strings attached.

No such rationale applies online, especially because bipartisan majorities in Congress have insisted on maintaining a hands-off policy. A federal appeals court confirmed this in April by striking down the FCC‘s last attempt in this arena. “That was sort of like the quarterback being sacked for a 20-yard loss,” FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell told The Washington Times. “And now the team is about to run the exact same play. … In order for the FCC to do this, it needs for Congress to give it explicit statutory authority to do so.”

Freedom and openness should continue to be the governing principles of the Internet. That’s why Mr. Genachowski‘s proposal should be rejected and Congress should make it even more clear that the FCC should stop trying to expand its regulatory empire

Google-Verizon Deal: The End of The Internet as We Know It

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Well here it goes again……..the attempt to shut down internet blogs like this one and turn it over to government regulated speech. Internet 2.0

Google-Verizon Deal: The End of The Internet as We Know It

For years, Internet advocates have warned of the doomsday scenario that will play out on Monday: Google and Verizon will announce a deal that the New York Times reports “could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege.”

The deal marks the beginning of the end of the Internet as you know it. Since its beginnings, the Net was a level playing field that allowed all content to move at the same speed, whether it’s ABC News or your uncle’s video blog. That’s all about to change, and the result couldn’t be more bleak for the future of the Internet, for television, radio and independent voices.

How did this happen? We have a Federal Communications Commission that has been denied authority by the courts to police the activities of Internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast. All because of a bad decision by the Bush-era FCC. We have a pro-industry FCC Chairman who is terrified of making a decision, conducting back room dealmaking, and willing to sit on his hands rather than reassert his agency’s authority. We have a president who promised to “take a back seat to no one on Net Neutrality” yet remains silent. We have a congress that is nearly completely captured by industry. Yes, more than half of the US congress will do pretty much whatever the phone and cable companies ask them to. Add the clout of Google, and you have near-complete control of Capitol Hill.

A non-neutral Internet means that companies like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Google can turn the Net into cable TV and pick winners and losers online. A problem just for Internet geeks? You wish. All video, radio, phone and other services will soon be delivered through an Internet connection. Ending Net Neutrality would end the revolutionary potential that any website can act as a television or radio network. It would spell the end of our opportunity to wrest access and distribution of media content away from the handful of massive media corporations that currently control the television and radio dial.

So the Google-Verizon deal can be summed up as this: “FCC, you have no authority over us and you’re not going to do anything about it. Congress, we own you, and we’ll get whatever legislation we want. And American people, you can’t stop us.

This Google-Verizon deal, this industry-captured FCC, and the way this is playing out is akin to the largest banks and the largest hedge funds writing the regulatory policy on derivative trading without any oversight or input from the public, and having it rubber stamped by the SEC. It’s like BP and Halliburton ironing out the rules for offshore oil drilling with no public input, and having MMS sign off.

Fortunately, while they are outnumbered, there are several powerful Net Neutrality champions on Capitol Hill, like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Henry Waxman, Jay Rockefeller, Ed Markey, Jay Inslee and many others. But they will not be able to turn this tide unless they have massive, visible support from every American who uses the Internet — whether it’s for news, email, shopping, Facebook, Twitter — whatever. So stop what you’re doing and tell them you’re not letting the Internet go the way of Big Oil and Big Banks. The future of the Internet, and your access to information depends on it.

Huffington Post

Is FCC Declaring ‘Open Season’ on Internet Freedom?

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How can we ever hope to influence China, Iran and other undemocratic regimes to provide more Internet access and freedom to their citizens and businesses when our FCC is proposing a radical take back of existing Internet freedoms without legitimate authority or justification?

http://www.retailrescue.com.au/images/locked_laptop.jpg


Is FCC Declaring ‘Open Season’ on Internet Freedom?

The FCC, in proposing to change the definition of an “open Internet” from competition-driven to government-driven is setting a very dangerous precedent; that it is acceptable for countries to preemptively regulate the Internet for what might happen in the future, even if they lack the legitimacy of constitutional or legal authority to do so, or even if there is thinnest of justification or evidence to support it.

How can we ever hope to influence China, Iran and other undemocratic regimes to provide more Internet access and freedom to their citizens and businesses when our FCC is proposing a radical take back of existing Internet freedoms without legitimate authority or justification?

The grave mistake the FCC is making in the broader international context is claiming that private companies are the primary threat to Internet freedom and free speech, and not governments. History and common sense tell us only Governments have the effective coercive power to dictate real censorship.

The FCC is effectively declaring “open season” on well-established Internet freedoms.

It is perversely providing legitimacy, justification and political cover for undemocratic countries like China and Iran to hunt down dissidents online and censor free speech while using the Orwellian doublespeak of regulating to “preserve an open Internet.” Undemocratic regimes are always looking for “openings” and excuses to further crack down on their people’s freedom of speech and assembly. Surely, the FCC must appreciate that internationally, actions speak louder than words.

The FCC’s proposed “Open Internet” regulations are illegitimate. First, they offend constitutional due process in that they assume companies are guilty of anticompetitive behavior until proven innocent; the FCC would regulate roughly 2,000 companies, for what one has admitted it did, and for what the FCC alleges another has done. Second, they offend constitutional equal protection in that they treat similar companies very unequally. Third, they offend constitutional protection against Government takings because they ban competitive companies from pursuing business models that are legal today. Fourth, they offend constitutional free speech because the FCC apparently does not agree with the Supreme Court that companies have constitutionally-protected freedom of speech.

The FCC’s proposed rules also overstep the FCC’s legal authority. Without congressional authorization of net neutrality legislation, the FCC is granting itself near limitless jurisdiction over the Internet. Moreover, the FCC’s proposed rules are arbitrary and capricious. They would arbitrarily reverse FCC precedent and factual determinations; arbitrarily move the competitive goalposts mid-game; and regulate competitive companies’ business practices more strictly than any monopoly in the last 75 years.

Further undermining America’s credibility to lead on the Internet policy going forward is that the proposed Internet regulations are not justified. They are a solution in search of a problem. The near perfect voluntary industry compliance over the last several years simply does not warrant a permanent ban on legal business behavior. To top all this off, the FCC has offered no evidence of market failure to justify regulating this competitive marketplace.

In sum, America risks both Internet freedoms and its Internet policy leadership when it proposes such a radical policy change without the legitimacy of constitutional or legal authority or the justification of facts. International Credibility 101 says: if you want others to follow your lead, be worthy of following.

BigGovernment.com

No more Free Internet?

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From The Hill…it looks like they’re after the last bastion of free speech!

Blackburn: Net neutrality is ‘fairness doctrine for the Internet’

By Kim Hart – 10/20/09 12:07 PM ET

Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) spoke against net neutrality regulations today at an event put on by the Safe Internet Alliance. Representing the songwriters, singers, actors, producers and other entertainers in Memphis and Nashville, she said the creative community does not want the federal government to interfere with how they are able to get content to consumers via the Internet.

“Net neutrality, as I see it, is the fairness doctrine for the Internet,” she said. The creators “fully understand what the fairness doctrine would be when it applies to TV or radio. What they do not want is the federal government policing how they deploy their content over the Internet and they want the ISPs to manage their networks and deploy the content however they have agreed on with ISP. They do not want a czar of the Internet to determine when they can deploy their creativity over the Internet. “They do not want a czar to determine what speeds will be available….We are watching the FCC very closely as it relates to that issue.”

When it comes to broadband expansion, she said, she wants to make sure “all individuals’ rights are respected and that we look at the freedom of all broadband participants.” She said Congress needs to make sure the groups receiving stimulus funds for broadband expansion are able to deploy reasonable and effective network management tools so they can be helpful in tracking down illegal activity.”

“We shouldn’t look at technology as how do we punish and impede, but how do we encourage innovation,” she said.  “That needs to be a key thought as we move forward… How do we encourage that innvoation and not impede it?”

Web founder makes online privacy plea

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I read this with amazement, especially after I found out that it wasn’t Al Gore.  Oh what, he invented the INTERNET!  How much protection should we be getting from big brother?  Read and enjoy.

Steve

Web founder makes online privacy plea

Posted using ShareThis

‘drastic federal intervention’ Give Obama Control of Internet

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Yeah, this is just what we need to do …give the government the power to fire CEOs,dictate to the Banks, Insurance companies, the Secretary of the Treasury power to force bankruptcies, the federal reserve give taxpayer money to bailout recepients and then not tell where all the money went and now the internet? Don’t we in the US realize what we are doing?


WND


LIFE WITH BIG BROTHER

Will bill give Obama control of Internet?

Proposed new powers called ‘drastic federal intervention’

By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A pair of bills introduced in the U.S. Senate would grant the White House sweeping new powers to access private online data, regulate the cybersecurity industry and even shut down Internet traffic during a declared “cyber emergency.”

Senate bills No. 773 and 778, introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., are both part of what’s being called the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, which would create a new Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor, reportable directly to the president and charged with defending the country from cyber attack.(What about Congressional oversight?)

A working draft of the legislation obtained by an Internet privacy group also spells out plans to grant the Secretary of Commerce access to all privately owned information networks deemed to be critical to the nation’s infrastructure “without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access.”

Privacy advocates and Internet experts have been quick to sound the alarm over the act’s broadly drawn government powers.

“The cybersecurity threat is real,” says Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, which obtained the draft of S.773, “but such a drastic federal intervention in private communications technology and networks could harm both security and privacy.”

“The whole thing smells bad to me,” writes Larry Seltzer in eWeek, an Internet and print news source on technology issues. “I don’t like the chances of the government improving this situation by taking it over generally, and I definitely don’t like the idea of politicizing this authority by putting it in the direct control of the president.” (kind of like Obama appointing the CEO of General Motors? and then dictating what GM will do or else?)

According to a Senate document explaining the bill, the legislation “addresses our country’s unacceptable vulnerability to massive cyber crime, global cyber espionage and cyber attacks that could cripple our critical infrastructure.”

In a statement explaining the bill’s introduction, Sen. Rockefeller said, “We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs – from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records – the list goes on.”

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who is co-sponsoring the bill, added, “If we fail to take swift action, we, regrettably, risk a cyber-Katrina.”

Critics, however, have pointed to three actions Rockefeller and Snowe propose that may violate both privacy concerns and even constitutional bounds:

First, the White House, through the national cybersecurity advisor, shall have the authority to disconnect “critical infrastructure” networks from the Internet – including private citizens’ banks and health records, if Rockefeller’s examples are accurate – if they are found to be at risk of cyber attack. The working copy of the bill, however, does not define what constitutes a cybersecurity emergency, and apparently leaves the question to the discretion of the president.

Second, the bill establishes the Department of Commerce as “the clearinghouse of cybersecurity threat and vulnerability information,” including the monitoring of private information networks deemed a part of the “critical infrastructure.”

Third, the legislation proposes implementation of a professional licensing program for certifying who can serve as a cybersecurity professional.

And while the critics concede the need for increased security, they object to what is perceived as a dangerous and intrusive expansion of government power.

“There are some problems that we face which need the weight of government behind them,” writes Seltzer in eWeek. “This is not the same as creating a new federal bureaucracy setting rules over what computer security has to be and who can do it.”

“It’s an incredibly broad authority,” CDT senior counsel Greg Nojeim told the Mother Jones news website, troubled that existing privacy laws “could fall to this authority.”

Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Mother Jones the bill is “contrary to what the Constitution promises us.”

According to Granick, granting the Department of Commerce oversight of the “critical” networks, such as banking records, would grant the government access to potentially incriminating information obtained without cause or warrant, a violation of the Constitution’s prohibition against unlawful search and seizure in the 4th amendment of the Bill of Rights.

“What are the critical infrastructure networks? The examples provided are ‘banking, utilities, air/rail/auto traffic control, telecommunications.‘ Let’s think about this,” writes Seltzer. “I’m especially curious as to how you take the telecommunications networks off of the Internet when they are, in large part, what the Internet is comprised of. And if my bank were taken offline, I would think about going into my branch and asking for all of my deposits in cash.”

Worldnet Daily.com

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