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    Egypt on the Vanguard

    Egypt on the Vanguard

    (K. McCaffrey) — In Egypt, the internet has effectively been shut off. One of my favorite websites, www.accessnow.org/, which looks to preserve freedom by upholding internet access, is working hard on cracking this. (They also continually try to liberate freedom of information for Iranian citizens.) I really love the work they do and hope they have success so that we may learn more about what is happening in Egypt.

    Whenever I see these types of censorship issues, I feel incredibly thankful to have been born in the US and incredibly sorry for those campaigning for freedom across the world. After all, opposition groups in oppressive regimes find their greatest success through sharing information. In many cases, totalitarian regimes operate through an intricate network of lies and coercement. (See also: The Stasi, KGB, North Korea…) This is not usually possible if there is contrasting evidence that is found to be more legitimate or credible. (For instance, the democratic Western way of living is probably more appealing when it’s portrayal is not perverted and monopolized by a megalomaniac religious zealot.) Our country isn’t perfect, but at least we don’t have to worry about being cut off from the web of information and communication that the internet provides. At least we can have arguments and conversations about our political persuasions. (Well, most of the time.)

    This is all, of course, assuming the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) is not passed since it “proposes the creation of two blacklists of internet domain names: one administered by the courts, the other by the Attorney General. Any website where counterfeit goods or copyrighted material is “central to the activity of the Internet site” would be blocked.”

    The U.S. government has plans for its own Internet Kill Switch. The legislation was first introduced last summer by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and the former has promised to bring it to the floor again in 2011. It isn’t called anything as obvious as the Internet Kill Switch, of course. It is called the “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act.” Who could be against that? Anyone who’s watching the news on TV today, that’s who.

    The proposal calls for the Department of Homeland Security to establish and maintain a list of systems or assets that constitute critical cyber-infrastructure. The President would be able to be able to control those systems. He or she would have ability to turn them off. The kicker: none of this would be subject to judicial review. This is just a proposal, mind you, but it certainly warrants concern. Particularly given the heavy-handed example being provided by Egypt.

    Let us hope that this Egyptian crisis marks the end of these tactics, not the beginning of an age for their abuse.

    Also, there is some great coverage from the American students in Cornell reported on the CornellInsider, the blog of the Cornell Review.

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    Comments


    I just got this from the Access Team after I signed the petition (which I also already posted on Facebook and Twitter):

    "Thanks for joining our call to Vodafone and Orange/France Telecom urging them to stand firm against Mubarak's repressive regime and return connectivity to the Egyptian people."

    So I feel tricked, now, into being an advocate for a position that is not mine! Here's why:

    "The leader of Jordan’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood warned Saturday that unrest in Egypt will spread across the Mideast and Arabs will topple leaders allied with the United States." (My Way via GatewayPundit)

    I don't support (to say the least) a takeover of Egypt by radical Islamists!

    Now I'm pissed.

    Let us hope that this Egyptian crisis marks the end of these tactics, not the beginning of an age for their abuse.

    Somehow I doubt it.

    Ironically – or perhaps not – there are very few American media outfits protesting the COICA. Too much of modern American journalism seems intent on keeping information from us rather than informing us.

    lgstarr, I didn't sign the petition because I'd rather see connectivity down than see the muslim brotherhood use it to rally the troops, so to speak. I really don't like taking that position but a force for good can also be a force for incredible evil.

    Wendy: My bad because (1) I trusted Kathleen's endorsement ("I love the work they do") without any further checking, and (2) I don't want Obama to have the "kill switch" here either and reacted emotionally.

    So now my own endorsement is out there on the net (good thing I'm a small fish in the pond).

    Oh goody: bipartisanship.

    Per Instapundit, they call it the Stupid Party for a reason: The House Republicans' first major technology initiative is about to be unveiled: a push to force Internet companies to keep track of what their users are doing.

    Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the free-market Cato Institute, says the push for legislation is an example of pro-regulatory Republicans. "Republicans were put in power to limit the size and scope of the federal government," Harper said. "And they're working to grow the federal government, increase its intrusiveness, and I fail to see where the Fourth Amendment permits the government to require dragnet surveillance of Internet users."

    Note that this is the first thing they want to do. This is their priority. Per my previous comment, they want to restrict liberty in order to "give law enforcement the tools it needs". This country was not founded so law enforcement could have the tools it wants.

    Right now I'm squelching a lot of language that I might regret to see preserved under my byline. In particular, I would replace Harper's 'pro-regulatory Republicans' with expressions incompatible with objective discourse.

    My interest in a third party has just soared.

    Despair is said to be a sin, but my thoughts turn in the direction of Let It Burn.


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