“Right now, China, the government, can disconnect parts of its internet, in the case of war, we need to have that here too." – Senator Joe Lieberman
The number of Americans still clinging to the notion that the government is competent and capable of anything – let alone everything – is thankfully dwindling at a rapid rate.
Unfortunately, it appears that nearly every elected Democrat in Washington is a member of this shrinking minority.
For instance, there’s Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (I know, he’s technically an Independent) - and his Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA). Which on June 25th passed out of the Senate Homeland Security committee.
This is legislation that would – in the event of a cyber attack – allow the President of the United States to shut down parts or all of the internet should "a cyber attack capable of causing massive damage or loss of life” occur. Thus the nickname the internet “kill switch” bill.
Who makes the determination of what warrants flipping the “kill switch?” The government, of course.
The bill empowers the government to force companies it chooses - broadband providers, search engines, software firms - to "immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed" by the Department of Homeland Security. Including completely shutting down on operations.
As stated, who develops these “emergency measure or action(s)?” The government, of course.
Yes, please, let’s emulate China when it comes to freedom and governmental practices.
As we have seen time and again – with the Gulf oil spill being the most visible latest example – when a situation is really serious, the government is definitely NOT to whom to turn for skilled solutions to major problems.
Another recent instance of the government stepping in it while attempting to step up – the H1N1 Swine Flu “pandemic” of last year.
We were told at the time that this was going to be a serious crisis – one that the government wasn’t going to let go to waste. In fact, President Barack Obama declared it to be a national “emergency.”
Again, declaring an “emergency” is all Obama would need to do to initiate the internet “kill switch.”
And how’d that turn out? The number of actual cases turned out to be DRAMATICALLY smaller than the government predicted. The Centers for Disease Control said more than $100 million of vaccine doses were wasted – created unnecessarily as a part of the government’s response to their artificial “emergency.”
Does this exhibit a fundamental misuse of the “emergency” declaration – and a super sized failure of government? Apparently, no.
According to White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod, it was the very model of efficient excellence.
“I would argue that we have shown a baseline level of competence…. Take the H1N1 flu for example. We jumped on that quickly. Some people criticized us for being too aggressive on it, but I think we averted a larger public health disaster.”
“A baseline level of competence” hardly inspires confidence in governmental oversight, even were it true – which as we know it was not. Especially when it comes to something as important as the World Wide Web.
In whom would you have more confidence if a cyber attack were to occur? The broadband providers, search engine and software firms who are every day building, maintaining and managing the networks, hardware and software that have made the internet such an incredibly successful bastion of free speech and free market capitalism?
Or the government, who managed a Nevada whorehouse into insolvency?
And there are the tremendous free speech ramifications of this legislation. We know Obama’s highly allergic to even the slightest criticism. The rampant free speech on the Web is undoubtedly giving him hives.
The estimable John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable reports: