Chuck norris: What feds can learn from Egyptian internet control

February 8, 2011 06:29

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google services have all been disrupted by Egyptian governing authorities in pursuit to clampdown on protests. And we don’t think the U.S. government would do the same?

Chuck Norris at Rightly Concerned

Tell me, what’s the difference between the Egyptian government shutting down social networks to “bring order” to protests and the U.S. government shutting down the Internet if there is an “imminent cyber threat”? Answer: nothing.

Over the last two years, the Obama administration has ramped-up regulation and control of the Internet. Of course, it’s packaging any bids to do so under Internet and homeland security.

But when does homeland security breech its constitutional limits of power and your rights as a citizen? How much authority can the feds be granted to “take over” a civilian network in case of an emergency?

First, there was Sen. John Rockefeller’s, D-W.V., Cybersecurity Act of 2009. That legislation gave the president executive privilege and power to shut down civilian infrastructure if he deemed it necessary.

Then, in 2010, there was the “more moderate” new law, “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010,” proposed by Independent Democrat U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman and other senators.

Now, Lieberman and his cronies are decrying any parallels between the Egyptian Internet crackdown and their Internet kill-switch bill. They just released a statement on Feb. 1 saying emergency measures in their bill would only apply in a “precise and targeted way” to “critical infrastructure” – to ensure important assets and civilian networks “are protected from destruction.” Their legislation would only allow the president to use emergency authority “if there is an ongoing or imminent” attack that would “cause local or national catastrophic effects” if there were a disruption.

And neither Obama nor any future president or Congress would ever abuse or build on that autocratic cease-and-desist decision, right?

Third, two days before Christmas 2010 (isn’t their dodging-timing uncanny?), the Obama administration issued yet new “net neutrality” regulations for Internet service providers. Of course, Julius Genachowski, President Obama’s appointee as Federal Communications Commission chairman, introduced these new regulations with the complete intent of guaranteeing equal access to the Internet, right? I agree with Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who says the FCC should be renamed the “Fabricating a Crisis Commission.”

Seeing a pattern yet?

If not, consider that President Obama believes the federalized security screening at airports has been such a success that he wants to apply the same government “expertise” to the arenas of online commentary and commerce. The White House cybersecurity adviser joined Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Jan. 7 to announce what boils down to a national ID card for the Internet.

As the Washington Times reported, “Their plan is straightforward. Instead of logging onto Facebook or one’s bank using separate passwords established with each individual company or website, the White House will take the lead in developing what it calls an ‘identity ecosystem’ that will centralize personal information and credentials. This government-approved system would issue a smart card or similar device that would confirm an individual’s identity when making online credit-card purchases, accessing electronic health care records, posting ‘anonymous’ blog entries or even logging onto one’s own home computer, according to administration documents.”

The Family Research Council summarized the “benefits” of this new U.S. Internet ID or dog tag:

  • The government will be able to track every website you visit and every keystroke you send on your home computer.
  • The government will be able to track every purchase you make and every deposit and withdrawal, and gain access to your electronic health-care records.
  • The government will be able to track every blog comment you make, along with every Facebook and Twitter post.
  • The government will be able to create lists of your friends and acquaintances and lists of all your political affiliations, political donations, club memberships, hobbies and interests.

And I’m sure the feds will even be so kind as to provide us with our own passwords! How lucky are we?! From Obamacare to Obamanet! How giving are the feds! And then, what’s next? A cashless, credit-card-less system through which we all receive a chip on the back of our hands or foreheads without which we can’t purchase or trade?

You must admit, this Internet must be a scary thing to governments. In particular, as we’ve seen in Egypt, social networks provide a unique threat – it’s called free speech. After all, political rallies are no longer limited to places like Cairo’s Tahrir Square or the Washington Mall.

So what would you do if you were a power-hungry overreaching federal government? Exactly. Regulate the Internet. Limit criticism and free speech on the Internet by such things as “hate crime laws.” Give just reason to seize the Internet and shut it down, like for “national security purposes.” And, in so doing, control the citizens.

But squelching criticism and invoking Internet kill switches are outlandish overreaches and constitutional affronts by executive governmental power, in Egypt or the U.S. And, anyone’s belief that a government agency will be able to step in and administer civilian networks and servers, even under attack, better than the private companies who own them, is naïve and just plain idiotic.

But if the feds aren’t smart enough to figure that out, then here’s a no-brainer for them. In fact, they should have got the message loud and clear from watching the Egyptian uprisings on CNN or FOX News last week: Shutting down the Internet in any way will not subdue the people – it will only fuel resistance.

How many times do we patriots have to point it out to these Washington knuckleheads?

Mr. President, you say that you are now patterning your presidency after Ronald Reagan. Then follow his core advice about expanding government control and regulation: “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”

It couldn’t have been put any wiser than by James Madison, who said, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.”

And he wasn’t speaking about the feds oversight of the Internet, but Thomas Jefferson could have been when he said, “Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It [the Constitution] was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.”

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