License to kill

Proposed legislation for Internet 'kill switch' smacks of autocracy

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We've seen it throughout history -- whenever an oppressive government wants to further clench its fist around its people and squelch dissent, it tries to muzzle public information.

Witness the upheaval in Egypt. That country's last Internet service provider shut down this week in response to the government mandate to end all Net access. It finally got restored much later in the week, when protests showed no signs of abating.

But with one totalitarian swipe, the Egyptian government had electronically marooned a quarter of its population of 80-plus-million.

Similar actions were tried in Syria, where the popular social networking site Facebook is officially banned.

Do those sound like countries you'd want to live in -- in an era when Internet access is a part of our lives almost as organic as breathing air?

Of course you wouldn't.

But some misguided members of Congress are kind of hoping you would .

Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins are co-sponsoring a bill officially called the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010. Other permutations of it are floating around Congress, too. But what most people are calling it is a lot more truthful and to-the-point: the Kill Switch Bill.

This bill would give the government the power to take control of online communication systems in case of a national emergency. If some group of cyber-crazies tried to sabotage the Internet, the government under this bill could step in and shut it down to prevent further damage.

"This is kind of a weird tautology," said PCMag contributing editor John C. Dvorak. "The country can't function without the Net, so we need to secure it, which includes having the ability to shut it down. But with the Net down, how can the country function?"

Indeed. What good would it really do? Say someone wanted to electronically empty everyone's bank accounts, as Dvorak posited in a recent column. The actual theft would take about, oh, a millisecond. Talk about closing the barn door after the horse escapes.

Can this even be constitutional?

The real danger is enabling such a far-reaching, autocratic power within our government. We don't need a "road closed" sign on such an important avenue of free speech as the Internet.

Our system of laws is supposed to enhance our rights, not erode them. Giving our government a "kill switch" for the Internet -- as abundantly proved in Egypt -- is a wretched idea.

Comments (21) Add comment
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usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/04/11 - 11:28 pm
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It's all about control.

It's all about control. Don't be surprised by it.

Be surprised by the liberal lapdogs who will defend it.

After all this is the same Congress that has time away from record deficits, staggering debt and unemployment to >>

Sep 30, 2010 ... The United States Senate has passed a bill this week that will limit the volume of TV commercials, effectively putting the FCC in charge of ...
www.afterdawn.com/.../congress_passes_bill_that_will_limit_tv_commercial... - Cached

Jon Lester
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Jon Lester 02/05/11 - 02:20 am
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Thank you for the letter, and
Unpublished

Thank you for the letter, and thank you, ACES, for presenting it.

old49er
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old49er 02/05/11 - 07:41 am
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This is another attempt by

This is another attempt by liberal politicians to silence opposition, plain and simple. Hopefully, the conservative majority in the House will put this plan where it deserves to be.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 02/05/11 - 08:03 am
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Yeh...close the barn door

Yeh...close the barn door after the horse escapes......we get it 49er, & I agree with ya!

southernguy08
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southernguy08 02/05/11 - 08:31 am
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"To aire is human, but to
Unpublished

"To aire is human, but to REALLY mess it up, get government involved!"

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/05/11 - 09:12 am
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Someone in the media said

Someone in the media said yesterday on the editorial lamenting the lack of civility by some of those who comment after news stories:

"Once again proving that internet anonymity is the Klan hood of the computer age."

As you can see the shoe is sometimes on the other foot. It's best for "official" media to leave us cowardly, anonymous hood wearing posters alone.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/05/11 - 09:53 am
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This whole matter of the U.S.

This whole matter of the U.S. and the press suddenly turning on Mubarak is not well thought out. Mubarak has been our ally for decades, promoting peace with Israel.

Food riots have swept N. Africa and are spreading to other Arab countries. That's the cause of the unrest in Egypt. Guess who caused the riots?

The Democratic administration with its asset purchases plan has fueled worldwide inflation that is going to hit us much harder here, too. Carry a big wallet to the grocery store in the future. Obama knows very well his policies led to this attack on Mubarak. (Thanks to Socks99 and Many Arrows)

Duty_Honor_Country
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Duty_Honor_Country 02/05/11 - 10:00 am
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All great comments here.

All great comments here. Myfather15-you've got that right!!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/05/11 - 10:29 am
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The Fed has bought $600

The Fed has bought $600 billion of Treasury securities and Bernanke says it’s worked well by getting stock prices to rise. His plan is to debase the dollar against foreign currencies. But the problem is that means prices of needed commodities are rising tremendously in emerging economies. He discounts the effects of currency manipulation on commodity prices.

Food riots in America next? Maybe China can call on our leaders to resign when it happens. Maybe they will call for allowing hooded, anonymous, cowardly internet posters to have a free internet.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 02/05/11 - 10:33 am
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This "Kill Switch" thing is a

This "Kill Switch" thing is a power grab. Any critical system, such as defense, banking, and utility, can be secured and point-to-pointed over fiber, end to end, and have a gateway to the internet for normal operation. During a crisis, they can merely shut down the gateway and cut those systems off totally from the internet. The government has no need to shut down the entire internet and control twitter, myspace, google, THE NEWS, or any other totally civilian use of the internet. Critical systems can be installed and secured in such a manner where they can be totally isolated from the internet by turning off a gateway. We should not give a "kill switch" to anyone who would wish to have absolute control of our communication. If they succeed in this effort, our cell phones, land lines, TV, and radio will be next. Things done in the name of "security", like things done in the name of "social justice", are not always what they seem. Just like they use "social justice" to grab your money, they use "secuity" to grab your freedom.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 02/05/11 - 10:55 am
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Funny thing....some things

Funny thing....some things the "govmint" can't control.....24 news on cable--internet-cell phones---connections with the social networks---for the last years this has educated the mass in most countries....you can't keep everyone barefoot & pregnant anymore----
This genie can't be put back in the bottle.

Techfan
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Techfan 02/05/11 - 12:00 pm
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usapat: Maybe the Repubs can

usapat: Maybe the Repubs can repeal the CALM Act. They can call their bill: "The repeal the job killing letting you fall asleep in your Barcolounger without a car salesman screaming at the top of his lungs with the volume 3 times the tv show bill".

dani
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dani 02/05/11 - 02:37 pm
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What? I can't HEAR YOU!

What? I can't HEAR YOU!

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/05/11 - 03:05 pm
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A Dem Rep from CA wrote the

A Dem Rep from CA wrote the bill. No, I don't believe the GOP will waste time with this.

BTW, Susan Collins (co-sponsor) and her twin, Olympia Snow are RINOS.

It's small things like this volume control law that gets the door cracked open. Soon, the whole foot's thru the door. Suddenly we have open debate about net neutrality and this bill that effectively lets the govt regulate the internet at their discretion.

FreedomFighter
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FreedomFighter 02/05/11 - 03:47 pm
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Benjamin Franklin said it

Benjamin Franklin said it best: Anyone who would give up liberty for security deserves neither.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/05/11 - 04:03 pm
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Techfan, I believe it is

Techfan, I believe it is within party loyalty parameters to occcasionally criticize within party ranks.

I notice when liberals can't bring themselves to disagree with their own, they make snide, off the wall remarks that add nothing to the conversation in a poor attempt to deflect attention from the real issue.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/05/11 - 04:06 pm
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Techfan, if you really are a

Techfan, if you really are a "tech fan", I would think you'd have an opinion about the govt attempting to regulate the internet. I would be interested to hear it.

While researching various things, it seems to me most "tech" and media people are liberal. Amazingly, I'm not hearing anything from them.

fd1962
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fd1962 02/05/11 - 04:19 pm
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Usapatriot, I suppose your
Unpublished

Usapatriot, I suppose your idea of a comedian would be somebody like Richard Nixon, or maybe Moses.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/05/11 - 04:57 pm
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I'll save that for a comic

I'll save that for a comic thread.

You also prove my point. When a liberal can't rebut, they deflect.

dani
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dani 02/05/11 - 07:08 pm
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Somehow, I thought that

Somehow, I thought that techfan was a student at Augusta Tech.

Techfan
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Techfan 02/06/11 - 08:45 am
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Snide comments from liberals?

Snide comments from liberals? See above. If you're referring to net neutrality, I'm all for it. Anyone who wishes to have access to the internet without carriers filtering content or extorting websites to pay for access, should be as well. As to the editorial, I never had any doubt that if it was a matter of national security, the government would shut down the internet, cell service, etc., no matter which party was in charge, as well they should. Much like they grounded all air travel after 9/11. If a coordinated terrorist attack occurred and they found the terrorists were communicating via the net or cell phone would you or the AC prefer they leave it alone?

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/08/11 - 03:33 am
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dog chasing it's tail.

dog chasing it's tail. shutting down the internet by the govt is a totalitarian move. they will use any excuse available to have the power to do it. if you aquiese by saying they can, you lose, we all lose.

if it is a "national security" thing, it's way too late. then it's an excuse for govt control of you.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/08/11 - 03:35 am
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the govt is never smarter

the govt is never smarter than bankers

the govt is never smarter than business
the govt is never smarter than tech guys
the govt is never smarter than the governed

therefore, the govt is always playing catch up.

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