While the nation is preoccupied with the current health care debate Obama’s team of internet guru’s are actively fighting the war for the hearts and minds of the nations populous in ways that test the very fabric of our right to free speech. In addition and in concert with the well planned and implemented backroom activities the Democratic party is supporting the takeover of the internet by introducing the Senate bills No. 773 and 778 both part of what’s being called the Cybersecurity Act of 2009.
A very critical part to one of the bills is that the Secretary of Commerce will have at his discretion the ability to have access to all privately owned information networks deemed critical to the nation’s infrastructure “without regard to any provision of law, regulation rule or policy restricting such access”. Currently the act as with many others in the current administration allows broad non defined powers that are left wide open for interpretation. The bill is being sold as an effort to address the countries unacceptable vulnerability to massive cyber network and infrastructure.
The bills summary as put forth by John D. Rockefeller is clear in that it is vague and basically will allow the government the ability to shut down what “IT” deems a threat, read below.
Cybersecurity Act of 2009 – Directs the President to establish or designate a Cybersecurity Advisory Panel to advise the President. Defines “cyber” as:
(1) any process, program, or protocol relating to the use of the Internet or an intranet, automatic data processing or transmission, or telecommunication via the Internet or an intranet; and
(2) any matter relating to, or involving the use of, computers or computer networks. Directs the Secretary of Commerce to:
(1) develop and implement a system to provide cybersecurity status and vulnerability information regarding all federal information systems and networks managed by the Department of Commerce; and
(2) provide financial assistance for the creation and support of Regional Cybersecurity Centers for small and medium sized U.S. businesses. Requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish cybersecurity standards for all federal government, government contractor, or grantee critical infrastructure information systems and networks. Makes NIST responsible for U.S. representation in all international cybersecurity standards development. Directs the Secretary to develop or coordinate a national licensing, certification, and recertification program for cybersecurity professionals and makes it unlawful to provide certain cybersecurity services without being licensed and certified. Requires Advisory Panel approval for renewal or modification of a contract related to the operation of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Requires development of a strategy to implement a secure domain name addressing system. Requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support specified types of research and to establish a program of grants to higher education institutions to establish cybersecurity testbeds. Amends the Cybersecurity Research and Development Act to expand the purposes of an existing program of computer and network security research grants. Requires the NSF to establish a Federal Cyber Scholarship-for-Service program. Requires NIST to establish cybersecurity competitions and challenges to recruit talented individuals for the federal information technology workforce and stimulate innovation. Requires the Department of Commerce to serve as the clearinghouse of cybersecurity threat and vulnerability information. Grants the Secretary access to all relevant data concerning such networks notwithstanding any law or policy restricting access. Directs the President to:
(1) develop and implement a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy;
(2) on a quadrennial basis, complete a review of the cyber posture of the United States; and
(3) work with representatives of foreign governments to develop norms, organizations, and other cooperative activities for international engagement to improve cybersecurity. Requires the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Commerce to submit to Congress an annual report on cybersecurity threats to and vulnerabilities of critical national information, communication, and data network infrastructure. Establishes a Secure Products and Services Acquisitions Board to review and approve high value products and services acquisition and establish validation standards for software to be acquired by the federal government.
The bill in it’s current state is seen as a far greater privacy intrusion that the last administrations Patriot Act, “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.” Similar to other Obama bills, the effort to pass the bill has been accelerated, 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.” Detractors of the bill have boldly stated this bill is “contrary to what the Constitution promises us”.
If this bill is written into law, the government at it’s whim can access, your bank, medical, email, or whatever else the directors of the policy see as or deem items “critical infrastructure”, note the office of Cybersecurity will report to the President who will have the ultimate authority to decide as he see’s fit what criteria delegates a “critical threat” or in other words one individual will have the power to implement this policy.
This becomes ever more critical given the current conditions and heated debate over health care, if this were law, the President could shut down any internet blog sites for the ostensible reason of national security and quite his detractors, so any contrary opinion that would impede the passing of the health care bill that is being voiced via the intranet could be quashed, not unlike “marshal law for the web”.
The Obama intranet team which was formed from the Obama campaign lists a who’s who of the cyber world, the hurt feelings Czar Cass Sunstein who like Obama was a former Harvard Law professor, has been granted “chillingly broad powers states the New York Post, Sunstein believes “bloggers have been rampaging out of control and new laws need to be written to corral them”. Sunstein also states he will use the courts to implement his policy to shut down any dissent that is contrary to the “truth”. One has to ask is there only one truth, and by granting Sunstein these powers he will in fact be the top cop of the thought police! Further comments and quotes from Sunstein exhibit his lack of understanding of what the Constitution has been interpreted, and or he is of the revisionist ilk that has become the new vogue of this group of politicians. Sunstein states; “people’s beliefs are a product of social networks working as echo chambers in which false rumors spread like wildfire”, “We hardly need to imagine a world, however, in which people and institutions are being harmed by the rapid spread of damaging falsehoods via the Internet,” and lastly “whether you’re a blogger, The New York Times or a Web hosting service – you should be held responsible even for what your commenters say. It is clearly obvious to any believer in the Constitution and the First Amendment that this direction is more than a slippery slope it is an infringement on the rights of free speech.
This path becomes exceedingly incongruent when measured by the facts and data that one of the primary reasons Obama won the election was due to his structured use of the intranet as stated by Chanuka Wattegama, “Throughout the presidential campaign, the Obama team had the most complete and progressive tech policy and tech-policy team ever assembled. The policy team fashioned a document that hit every right note, starting with “Protect the Openness of the Internet: Support the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet.” The policy team had many of the leaders in the field and a large advisory group from across the tech spectrum”. Now that the election is over, the current direction has been to hit the delete button on these methods of information and placing them under the control of the President himself, hardly a fair and balanced dictum.
Along with Sunstein, Obama has assembled the following alliances and hired these individuals to direct his intranet policy; Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Jon Leibowitz, as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Julius Genachowski picked to be the FCC chairman, Genachowski is a law-school friend of the president who had been legal counsel to an FCC, Katie Stanton, Director of Citizen Participation from Google where she was a Principal in the New Business Development team responsible for OpenSocial, Google Moderator, and various election-related initiatives and lastly Joe Rospars, a veteran of the Dean campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was hired as new-media director.
Also tasked with spreading the word of the new “Messiah” are the “Web Soldiers” of the Huffington Post, affectionately called the “Sluttiest Team on the intranet” or 23/6, who have set up an intranet “War Room” per the web page, out of this War Room these individuals were directed to; “form a rapid response internet “war room” to track and respond aggressively to online rumors that Barack Obama is unpatriotic and a Muslim. This took place during the campaign, it is important to note that three of the four individuals noted in the article range from the ages of 12 to 16 years old, with one adult who’s screen name is “BushGottaGo, they proudly show Internet Military Experience, and Battles, BushGottaGo contributers claim to fame is the following post in defense of Obama, the comment: “He should be thrown in Guantanamo for war crimes along with George ‘Adolf’ Bush and Dick ‘Goebbels’ Cheney.” Received numerous “nice ones” and six track-backs. Although this comment was made by the one supposed adult of the listed group, it shows first the organization of the internet blog wars, and second, no holds have been barred in this fight!
This fight goes on while the nation sleeps, on a daily basis new policies are being tested without us knowing, this administration is hell bent on a consolidation of power under one roof, they can only be successful if the powers to be can control the voice of the nation. The use of propaganda and ridicule are becoming more apparent in that the blogging and conservative news outlets are bringing these facts to the general public. Now that the counterpoint is gaining traction the current administration is crying foul against the very methods they have been and are currently using to steer public opinion, numerous comments by Democratic leaders clearly show that what is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander, also obvious is the hypocrisy of these individuals. It is imperative regardless of what side your beliefs lie that you have the right to voice that opinion, given the current state of discourse it is ever more important for people to stand up for what they believe, this is the American way and the foundation of our freedom so granted us as a nation, let no person, party or policy stop you, for if they do, you are not free.