Posts Tagged ‘Internet’


by Bob UnruhDigitalCode-285x275
A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. government’s “Internet kill switch,” a plan to deactivate wireless communications networks in a crisis, is not protected by secrecy laws and must be disclosed to the public.

The ruling on SOP 303 – the Department of Homeland Security’s Standard Operating Procedure – comes from U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg in Washington.

The judge ordered the DHS to turn over SOP 303 to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which brought the Freedom of Information Act case, within 30 days.

Boasberg ordered his actions stayed until it’s determined whether the government will appeal.

EPIC, nevertheless, declared victory on its website, explaining that it sought the documentation “to determine whether the agency’s plan could adversely impact free speech or public safety.”

The federal court explained that SOP 303 codifies “a shutdown and restoration process for use by commercial and private wireless networks during national crises.”

The government explains that such a move might become necessary under certain circumstances to “deter the triggering of radio-activated improvised explosive devices.”

When EPIC requested the information, DHS responded that it “had conducted comprehensive searches for records that would be responsive … [but was] unable to locate or identify any responsive records.”

However, as part of an appeal process, DHS admitted there was a record – “the very document EPIC had requested: Standard Operating Procedure 303.”

But DHS withheld some of the document because it contained personal information for “state homeland security officials,” claiming it would “disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions” and that it could “reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.”

The judge, however, discounted DHS’ arguments for preventing the release of information.

He wrote that the agency could not meet the requirement that a disclosure “would reveal ‘techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.’”

“In reaching its concluding, the court is not unaware of the potential adverse use to which this information could be put. Its ruling, furthermore, is no judgment on whether it is in the national interest for SOP 303 to be disclosed. If, in fact,the government believes release will cause significant harm, it has other options to pursue.”

He noted the government could seek relief from Congress.

EPIC explains that the “kill switch” protocol was adopted by the National Communications System but never released to the public.

“In a 2006-2007 Report, the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (‘NSTAC’) indicated that SOP 303 would be implemented under the coordination of the National Coordinating Center (“NCC”) of the NSTAC, while the decision to shut down service would be made by state Homeland Security Advisers or individuals at DHS. The report indicates that NCC will determine if a shutdown is necessary based on a ‘series of questions,’” the organization reported.

EPIC documented when the procedure was used after a July 3, 2011, shooting by a Bay Area Rapid Transit officer in San Francisco of a homeless man, Charles Hill.

In the aftermath, a protest “was cut short after BART officials cut off all cellular service inside four transit stations for a period of three hours. This act prevented any individual on the station platform from sending or receiving phone calls, messages, or other data,” EPIC reported.

That, the organization said, “set off a renewed interest in the government’s power to shut down access to the Internet and other communications services.”

“A 2011 Report from the White House asserted that the National Security Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy have the legal authority to control private communications systems in the United States during times of war or other national emergencies. The Federal Communications Commission plans to implement policies governing the shutdown of communications traffic for the ‘purpose of ensuring public safety.’ Also, on July 6, 2012, the White House approved an Executive Order seeking to ensure the continuity of government communications during a national crisis. As part of the Executive Order, DHS was granted the authority to seize private facilities, when necessary, effectively shutting down or limiting civilian communications,” EPIC documented.

EPIC then wanted to know the existing procedures, what would decide whether an emergency existed and “any executing protocols.”

WND reported later when a report for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development by the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford said a “kill switch” would actually cause more problems than it would prevent.

That report said that in most emergencies “you would want to give priority to doctors, but most doctors and their surgeries use the same downstream Internet facilities as the bulk of the population and there would be no easy way to identify them.”

“Localized Internet switch-off is likely to have significant unwanted consequences.”

Judicial Watch, a government watchdog organization, said arming the president with an Internet “kill switch” easily could be misused to silence free speech “under the pretext of a national emergency.”

There already is an organization set up to manage such emergencies, and it includes personnel from the National Security Agency, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and policymakers (politicians), according to a report from WND columnist Andrea Shea King.

The administration agency, dubbed CYBERCOM, is set up within the Department of Defense. It says it is both a defense and an offense in that it can engage in preemptive “strikes” intended to disrupt threats, she reported.


Who Really Invented the Internet?

Bilderberg Pushes Mandatory Internet ID for Europe...

While the international ACTA treaty and United States’ CISPA legislation are setting the stage to clamp down on the world wide web, technocrats are working overtime to try to pin down your identity and make sure all your activities are thoroughly monitored and under control.

The European Union is now moving to create a mandatory electronic ID system for all EU citizens that would be implemented across Europe to standardize business both online and in person, authenticating users via a common ‘electronic signature.’ A single authenticating ID would guard access to the Internet, online data and most commerce. It is nothing short of an attempt to phase in a Mark of the Beast system, and a prominent Bilderberg attendee is behind the scheme.

Neelie Kroes is the EU’s Digital Agenda Commissioner, and is introducing legislation she hopes will force “the adoption of harmonised e-signatures, e-identities and electronic authentication services (eIAS) across EU member states.”

The extent of such a system would, of course, expand over time, particularly as many EU nations have resisted the big government encroachment of ID requirements on civil rights grounds, which even now smack of the Nazi regime’s draconian “papers please” policies that empowered their other avenues of tyranny. According to, Neelie Kroes would later “widen the scope of the current Directive by including also ancillary authentication services that complement e-signatures, like electronic seals, time/date stamps, etc,” as the supra-national body attempts to corral more nations into participation.

This big brother system will be implemented in Europe first and later pushed in North America and the remainder of the globe, as the world is nudged step by step towards a total cashless control grid in the name of ‘safe, verifiable commerce,’ and of course, in the name of “security.” Nevermind that the plan would invite the hacking of identities and fast track forgeries. In the case of Europe, special emphasis is placed in part on “establishing a truly functioning single market” — part of the larger EU goal even now floundering.

Neelie Kroes has been a long term Bilderberg attendee, showing up annually since 2005. She was on the official list for the 2006 meeting in Ottawa, Canada, then the 2007 meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, 2008 in Chantilly, Virginia, 2009 in Vouliagmeni, Greece and 2010 in Sitges, Spain as a delegate from the European Commission.

But in 2011, Kroes came to the table in St. Moritz, Switzerland with a new title: the EU’s Commissioner for Digital Agenda, so obviously now seeing development on that agenda was not unexpected. Kroes latest effort will surely be bolstered during the 2012 meeting now just days away.

It dovetails with the creation of US CYBERCOM in recent years and the appointment of NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander, who also meets annually at Bilderberg, to wage offensive cyberwar across the globe. Further, technocrats from Silicon Valley and other locales have also converged around the secretive meetings to coordinate their developments with emerging regulations, new Internet laws and treaties, and to further the data mining efforts of the clandestine intelligence communities they work with.


Obama ‘s "Internet Provider czar" wants felony charges for illegal Web streaming

By Nate Anderson


The Obama administration wants to make sure that the illegal streaming of music and movies over the Internet is a felony, and it also wants to give the federal government wiretap authority in copyright cases.

Victoria Espinel, the Obama administration’s IP Enforcement Coordinator, today released her long-awaited wish list (PDF) of intellectual property law changes. Most focus on counterfeit drugs and economic espionage, but the list does contain three suggestions more likely to have some effect on home Internet users.

Streaming: The government wants to make sure that, as online piracy moves increasingly to streaming, the law keeps up with the activity. Currently, “reproducing” and “distributing” copyrighted works are felony charges, and they cover peer-to-peer file-sharing. But streaming seems more like a “public performance”—and holding a public performance without a proper license is not a felony.

As Espinel’s paper notes, “questions have arisen” about this distinction, and those questions “have impaired the criminal enforcement of copyright laws.” She wants Congress to “clarify that infringement by streaming, or by means of other similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances.”

Wiretaps: The FBI and other federal agencies can tap phones and Internet connections for a whole host of serious crimes, but criminal copyright and trademark cases are not among them. Espinel wants to change this situation.

“Wiretap authority for these intellectual property crimes, subject to the existing legal protections that apply to wiretaps for other types of crimes, would assist US law enforcement agencies to effectively investigate those offenses, including targeting organized crime and the leaders and organizers of criminal enterprises,” says the new whitepaper.

Radio: Radio stations currently pay cash to songwriters for the music they play, but the stations don’t have to pay the actual bands who recorded the material. That’s because the US lacks a public performance right for recorded music played by radio stations, unlike most other nations (a situation which means that most other countries won’t pay US artists, either, until we pay their artists).

Espinel suggests the creation of public performance rights for music on the radio, which the US already has for satellite broadcasting and webcasting. But the broadcasting lobby has opposed the move ferociously, claiming that its unique exemption from payment is because radio has such promotional force for artists.

Less contentious

The list largely avoids big controversies—Web censorship, “three strikes” rules—in favor of a focus on health, safety, and serious criminal activity. Even Public Knowledge, a group not known for its embrace of increased IP enforcement, called the document a positive step.

“The recommendations largely address important areas of intellectual property enforcement that are often overlooked in more contentious debates at the edges of these issues,” said president Gigi Sohn. “While there may be room for disagreement on specific methods of implementation, Victoria Espinel has compiled a thoughtful list of targeted recommendations for enforcement.”



The Internet Helps Us Get Serious

Amendments Passed to Eliminate Obama Czars and Defund FCC Net Neutrality Rules

by Emily Miller

The House passed two important conservative amendments on Thursday night: to eliminate funding for President Obama’s czars and to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from enforcing its net neutrality rules.

The House is in the third day of an open process to debate 583 amendments to the Continuing Resolution (CR) spending bill. HUMAN EVENTS has identified 10 of the amendments which are key for conservatives to watch.

The base text of the CR would cut government spending by $60 billion for the remaining seven months of the current fiscal year.  Each additional limiting amendment, which cuts government funding for specific programs from passage until Oct. 1, would be in addition to the baseline cut.

The Obama czars ban amendment (No. 204), offered by Rep. Steve Scalise (R.-La.), passed 249 to 179.  The FCC net neutrality amendment (No. 404), which was co-sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden (R.-Ore.) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R.-Fla.), passed the House by a vote of 244 to 181.

Walden, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and Stearns, the chairman of the  Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, offered the amendment that would restrict the FCC from using CR funds to implement its controversial net neutrality rules.

In December, the FCC set controversial new regulations to empower itself to regulate private sector networks and companies.

On Wednesday, Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton (R.-Mich.) introduced a resolution to overturn the FCC rules under the Congressional Review Act.  At a hearing the same day with five former FCC commissioners, Upton said that he and Walden “believe these rules will hurt innovation and the economy.”

While the legality of the FCC rules is still being debated, the Walden/Stearns’ amendment blocks all government funding for the current fiscal year from being used to implement them.

“It’s not appropriate for the unelected FCC to regulate Internet services without any input from the United States Congress,” said Stearns during Thursday evening’s debate.  “So Congress must stop the FCC.  This amendment will do that and prevent any money from being spent to implement regulation of the Internet.”

The House Democrats defended the new regulations and the FCC during the debate.

“Vote no on this amendment that shuts down the Internet,” protested Rep. Ed Markey (D.-Mass.), who is a member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

“The FCC rules were a very light-touch regulation,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D.-Calif.), who is the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The liberal Waxman protested that “if we stop the FCC from regulating, then we leave the status quo.”

Rep. Sam Graves (R.-Ga.) who is on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, which oversees funding for the FCC, responded to the Democrats.

“Let’s make it simple:  Government control means uniformity, regulation, fees, inspection, and yes, compliance,” said Graves.  “The Internet free marketplace is defined by fierce competition.  And that competition has transformed the world with innovation, investment, and what we need most of all right now, jobs.”

Meanwhile, the Democrats were really irked when the amendment to cut wasteful spending by eliminating Obama’s czars came to the floor.

Some of the Democrats believe that the whole amendment is really directed at one of the czars, Matt Lloyd, associate general counsel and chief diversity officer for the FCC.

Lloyd has come under fire from Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck because of his views on blocking conservative media under the Fairness Doctrine.

“Why saw this guy’s head off?  Because some talk show host says so?  I think this is poorly devised and poorly thought out,” said an exasperated Rep. Anna Eshoo (D.-Calif.).

The amendment restricts any CR funds to be used for Obama’s nine czars’ salaries or offices.  The czars are in federal positions in his administration, but not confirmed by Congress.  Of the nine positions, seven are currently filled.

Two of Obama’s czars—White House director of Urban Affairs and assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change—have not been filled yet.

The seven existing czars are in the following positions: director of the White House Office of Health Reform, special envoy for Climate Change, special adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation’s Council on Environmental Quality, senior adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury assigned to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and senior counselor for manufacturing policy, special envoy to oversee the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, special master for TARP executive compensation at the Department of the Treasury, and Lloyd.

Eshoo asserted that the czars are merely “individuals who are carrying out the duties in the Executive Branch.”

The Republicans responded repeatedly that the czar offices are a waste of money and are not transparent.

“In this last election, the American people spoke out [against] lack of oversight.  We need access to people with answers,” said Rep. Charles Boustany (R.-La.).  “And the American people have the right to get answers from the White House.  Let’s be open with the American people.  Those who make policy should come before our committees.”

Eshoo complained about the Republicans’ use of the term “czar and czarina” to refer to the political appointees.

“For those who don’t understand the Russian word for ‘no,’ it’s ‘nyet’,” retorted Boustany.  “I say ‘no’ to the czars.”

Fight Internet 'Kill Switch

Are our leaders better than Egypt’s?  Across the globe, governments know that the Internet is increasingly the lifeblood of democracy — that’s why Egypt’s oppressive regime just shut down the Internet there.

But even as American politicians condemn Egypt for doing so, they’re pushing legislation to give our government the power to do the exact same thing here at home!  The so-called ‘Kill Switch’ would let the president turn off our Internet — without a court even having to approve the decision.

PETITON TO U.S. SENATE: It’s shocking that our government would consider sinking to the level of totalitarian regimes like Egypt’s.  The Internet ‘Kill Switch’ is an affront to basic democratic principles, the First Amendment, and all that is great about America.  I urge you to oppose it.

The Newswatch Never Stops—Nor Should It

The Wall Street Journal


The idea that the time pressure of the digital age forces journalists to make errors would have seemed silly to the pioneers of broadcasting.
When the New York Times reported erroneously via its website on Jan. 8 that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was dead, two things followed quickly. The first was a much-needed correction. The second was a renewed assertion among some print journalists that nonstop, 24/7 reporting—driven by the Internet—is perilous for news providers and puts responsible reporting in jeopardy.

The Washington Post suffered similar embarrassment last June when its website reported that John Wooden had died, although at the time the legendary UCLA basketball coach remained alive. In the aftermath, one senior editor at the Post said the intense pressure of a never-ending deadline was “like walking on egg shells.”

All this fussing by newspaper folks as they wake up to demands of the digital era is rather quaint. The Internet has made real-time reporting more prevalent, but it certainly didn’t invent it.

All-news radio began in the early 1960s at stations like WAVA in Washington, D.C., and WINS in New York, where it was refined to become the nonstop reporting format that remains popular today. In 1980, media visionary Ted Turner launched CNN, and nonstop television news has been a vital part of American journalism ever since.

As it happened, the incorrect report about Rep. Giffords was actually generated by broadcasters at CNN and NPR and was simply picked up by the Times. But while managers at CNN and NPR fumed over the mistaken facts—as they should—print veterans seemed equally determined to fault the process.

At first glance, the headline on the Times’s own analysis of its coverage, “Time, the Enemy,” made me wonder if the newspaper had some sort of quarrel with Time magazine. I never imagined that the “enemy” was time itself. Arthur Brisbane, the paper’s public editor, wrote that elements of the Tucson coverage “illustrate how difficult it is in the current environment to be both timely and authoritative.”

Yet that has always been a challenge for journalists. Even publishing once per day, the New York Times, like The Wall Street Journal and most other papers, must regularly print corrections. Mistakes happen. Would there be fewer errors if newspapers came out weekly? Perhaps, but the extension of that argument is that the best way to avoid mistakes would be not to publish at all.

Parkinson’s Law states that, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Half a century ago the pioneers of all-news radio wondered about the converse: To what extent would the task of responsible reporting suffer as the time to accomplish it shrunk?

The answer lay in the definition of news itself. News is instantaneous. With the exception of the tree that falls in the empty forest, reporting begins at some level at the very moment that news happens. Professional journalists—whether print or electronic—are simply an extension of the process. All deadlines are artificial.

I recall going to work at the ABC Radio Network shortly after the company expanded from one newscast per hour to four; all of a sudden there was a deadline every 15 minutes. For many of us on the news desk this schedule was extremely difficult at first, because we felt that time had collapsed while the task of creating a finished five-minute newscast remained the same.

But colleagues working nearby at the all-news radio station were not similarly burdened. For them the pressure was removed, or at least sharply reduced, when there were no deadlines at all. On television, legendary coverage by Walter Cronkite and others during events such as the Kennedy assassination and the first moon walk—in the days before CNN and 24/7 TV news—demonstrated how deadlines could be measured by fact rather than time: Get it right and get it on. That was the schedule.

This is not to say that the power of the Internet to quickly disseminate errors is not cause for concern. Nor is the 24/7 news cycle an excuse for journalistic carelessness.

But the notion that nonstop news coverage is something new, some recent innovation developed as a product of the Internet and utilities such as Twitter, is bogus.

What newspaper editors could learn from broadcasters is that time need not be the enemy. It is integral to the very definition of news. Also, it waits for no journalist.

Mr. Funt is a writer and the long-time host of “Candid Camera” (

Jim DeMint vows to reverse FCC's 'Internet takeover'

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, says Federal Communications Commission should be renamed the “Fabricating a Crisis Commission,” following a vote by the panel’s three Democrats to approve proposed rules that amount to a hostile takeover of the Internet by a government agency acting illegally.

The proposal – misleadingly described by proponents as an attempt to insure “net neutrality” by guaranteeing equal access to the Internet – was introduced a year ago by Julius Genachowski, President Obama’s appointee as FCC chairman.

A federal court has ruled that the commission has no authority to regulate the Internet, and a bipartisan group of senators and representives warned Genechowski not to attempt to impose a regulatory regime on the Internet earlier this year.

The move’s legality was even questioned by FCC Commissioner Michael Copp, one of the Democrats who voted today with Genachowski, saying he considered voting against the proposal because it lacks a sufficiently defensible legal basis to survive a court challenge promised by major Internet Service Providers like Verizon, Microsoft, and AT & T.

But legal challenges by industry are likely to be much less of a problem for the Genachowski-led takeover than efforts in Congress to stop the FCC in its tracks.

That’s clearly what DeMint has in mind, as he said in his statement released today following the FCC action:

“The Obama Administration has ignored evidence that this federal takeover will hang a millstone of regulatory and legal uncertainty around the neck of a vibrant sector of our economy.

“Proceeding on its own liberal whims rather than facts, this FCC has chosen to grant itself broad authority to limit how businesses can bring the internet to consumers in faster and more innovative ways.

“Americans loudly demanded a more limited federal government this November, but the Obama Administration has dedicated itself to expanding centralized government planning. Today, unelected bureaucrats rammed through an internet takeover, even after Congress and courts warned them not to.

“To keep the internet economy thriving, this decision must be reversed. Regulatory reform will be a top priority for Republicans in the next Congress, and I intend to prevent the FCC or any government agency from unilaterally burdening our recovering economy with baseless regulation.

“In order to provide the stability businesses need to grow, I will work with my fellow senators to see passage of my FCC Act, which would ensure that the FCC can only use its rulemaking powers where there is clear evidence of a harmful market failure, as well as the REINS Act, which would add the accountability of a Congressional vote before any government agency’s proposed major regulations may be finalized.”

If the FCC plan somehow manages to survive, it will almost certainly do for First Amendment liberties and the Internet what it did for them in regulating broadcast television and radio. Former CBS News president Fred Friendly’s landmark book, “The Good Guys, the Bad Guys and the First Amendment,” describes in great detail how the Kennedy and Johnson administrations used the FCC to silence conservative critics.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

FCC Has ZERO Authority Over The Internet But Wants It !!!


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