Cyber bill squelches speech, curtails liberty

The Internet — arguably the most empowering and important innovation of the modern era — is in danger of being stifled by the heavy hand of government control. Legislation now pending in the U.S. Senate would give the president, the Department of Commerce and other federal bureaucracies absolute power to define the Internet’s usage and to close it down at will.

While the “Cybersecurity Act of 2009” so far has only a few sponsors, it appears on a fast track for hearings, mark-up and passage.

This cybersecurity bill presents itself as a necessary and carefully considered response to a legitimate problem — the lack of adequate security measures for national security programs and infrastructure sectors. It is, however, a cyber-wolf in sheep’s clothing. As introduced by Democrat Jay Rockefeller and Republican Olympia Snowe, the legislation’s scope and power to reach every corner of the vast Internet system — including individual, private Internet usage — raises extremely troubling privacy and censorship concerns.

When coupled with provisions in the little-known International Cybercrime Treaty ratified by the Senate in 2006 under pressure from the Bush administration, enactment of the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 presents the very real possibility of direct interference by other nations and international organizations in domestic Internet use.

As with most pieces of bad legislation, this one starts with high-sounding “findings” that mask and divert focus from its actual effects. The preliminary section, for example, correctly states that “failure to protect cyberspace” constitutes a serious national security problem, and that a cyber attack on our national power grid, for example, could be devastating.

However, rather than focus solutions to these problems on areas properly within the scope of the federal government the legislation sweeps so broadly as to grant the federal government virtually unfettered and unreviewable power over every aspect of the Internet, from the most complex national security segment to the smallest individual user.
First, the bill defines the operative term, “cyber,” to include: “any process, program, or protocol relating to the use of the Internet or … transmission … via the Internet,” and “any matter relating to, or involving the use of, computers or computer networks.”

The bill incorporates within the unwieldy term “federal government and United States critical infrastructure information systems,” the following : all “state, local, and nongovernmental information systems … designated by the President as critical .

It is easy to understand the concern of many Internet users and network administrators, especially when considered in the context of the actual powers the act proposes to give the federal government.

The president is empowered to declare a “cybersecurity emergency” (not defined in the bill) and “order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from” any of the defined networks! Even in the absence of declaring a so-called cybersecurity emergency, the president can order the shutdown of any of the defined networks whenever he decides doing so would be “in the interest of national security.”

The bill grants deeply troubling powers over private-sector use of the Internet that should bother every user and purveyor of Internet services. Such concerns are heightened when considering that the 2006 Cybercrime Treaty requires U.S. law enforcement agencies to grant to foreign governments that have likewise adopted the treaty, access to an Internet service provider’s customer use records.

If signed into law, the 2009 Cybersecurity Act would constitute the second half of a one-two punch effectively neutering the Internet.

32 comments Add your comment

DeborahinAthens

May 20th, 2009
6:33 am

Thank you Bob Barr for keeping on top of these issues! I thought that, when we got rid of Bush and his minions, we could stop worrying about this type of thing. When are Americans going to wake up and hold our legislators responsible for usurping our freedoms? We deserve everything we get.

RetLTC

May 20th, 2009
8:25 am

Another blow to the 4th Amendment to our Constitution. When are people in this country going to realize that the 4th is by far the most important amendment in the entire document. When the 4th amendment is rendered null and void they’ve got us. Freedom as we no it ends. All of the hoopla revolving around the 2nd is so much wasted enrgey. When the 4th is gone everything else falls at warp speed. The 4th is what protects all of the other freedoms outlined in the Constitution.

Bob J

May 20th, 2009
9:13 am

next they’ll ban books… well maybe the already have, its called the television and internet. Knowledge is Power.

Bob J

May 20th, 2009
9:13 am

“they” I hate it when i do that.

C. Henry Adams

May 20th, 2009
10:00 am

Attorney Barr, three questions below:
1) Where can we find a copy of this bill to read for ourselves?
2) Isn’t this “Cybersecurity Bill” related to the Bush Administration and the “Terrorist Attack Protection Plan” we need as a country?
3) You mentioned that there are better solutions to combating terrorist attacks on the Internet like the “Conficker Virus”. What solutions and can you point us to the Whitepapers Online?

Ken Stepp

May 20th, 2009
10:09 am

Bob what can we do ? I’ve been watching this develop on youtube. Its a monster that will decay even more basic freedoms from us. Other than Ron Paul I do not trust any of them anymore.

RetLTC

May 20th, 2009
10:27 am

So C. Henry Adams, “we need as a country” more government intrusion into our everyday lives in order to be safe? More government nets thrown over society as a whole in hopes of snaring something… anything? I don’t think so. The lies in the fact that these type programs treat everyone in this country as if we are the terrorists…the enemy. It’s really very simple to me. Want to listen to my telephone conversations? And BTW. Base those warrants on probable cause that is based on more than some key word in a freedom busting data mining government operation. It appalls me that the citizenry of this nation has become so gutless that they will give up the most sacred and cherished principles that have been the foundation of freedom in this country in order to feel safe. I don’t care how scared you gutless chicken littles are. Grow a set. That is a much better option than putting everyone else under governments thumb.

Bob Barr

May 20th, 2009
11:11 am

A number of readers have asked how best to lodge complaints against the “Cybersecurity Act of 2009″ or to help derail the legislation. The best way to monitor the bill’s progress is to go to the “THOMAS” website for the Congress, and plug in the name of the bill (”Cybersecurity Act of 2009″) or the bill’s number (S. 773). The bill has been assigned to the Senate Commerce Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who also happens to be the bill’s primary sponsor (which gives the bill added momentum). The best way to register concerns with the legislation is to contact those Senators who are its sponsors, or who serve on the Commerce Committee.

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 20th, 2009
12:14 pm

Does it really matter? In a matter of months we will be China.

williebkind

May 20th, 2009
12:54 pm

Well if King Obama wants to take our guns, search our iternet blogs, and do it without probable cause, then why are you whining about it.

He is the progressive leader of the free socialist government of the united states! This is what the liberals want! Of course their internet sites and blogs will not be affected. That is the liberal way!

SaveOurRepublic

May 20th, 2009
12:57 pm

No surprise this legislation is sponsored by a member of the Globalist Elite Rockefeller dynasty. This is just another example of the growing Orwellian police state (encroaching on our Constitutional rights) bolstered by endless propaganda (via Neocons Repubs & Marxist Dems alike). Anyone concerned about defending our (quickly fading) Constitutional rights should write/call their Senator and demand they vote against this legislation!

http://www.infowars.com

williebkind

May 20th, 2009
12:58 pm

It stands to reason that if the speaker of the house can call the cia liars without proof but for excuses to cover her blunders, it should not suprise you to lose your any ammendment rights if it does not fit the DNA agenda. The so called democrats are standing by Pelosi. You wonder why people are conservative.!

The Truth

May 20th, 2009
1:36 pm

I love how this is Obama’s fault when the first steps in the destruction on our civil liberties were taken under the Bush administration with the ratification of the Cybercrime Treaty. Only in Georgia can a conservative give you direct facts on where this legislation originated and the comments still blame the democrats and Obama. Where does Georgia rank in education again?

reservoirDAWG

May 20th, 2009
1:53 pm

This is a very bad idea.

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 20th, 2009
1:54 pm

GOP Warlords vs. the Cybernetic Monkey-Men

In the post-Obama wasteland, moderates will be a great source of cheap labor and — in a worse case scenario — food.

There has been a lot of debate among Republicans as to what should be the new direction of the party. Some are saying the Republicans need to go back to their core conservative principles, while others think the Republicans need to be less rigid and reach out to moderates to build a new, more centrist party.

Both viewpoints are idiotic and have no basis in reality. They are just whistling past the graveyard. The Pollyannaish assumption in both ideas is that there will be some semblance of America left by the next election where stances on tax policy or gay marriage will have any meaning. They are ignoring the hard truth that we are completely and utterly doomed.

Let me put it in all caps: DOOOOMED! The economy was already collapsing, and now Obama has loaded it into an old Chevy facing a cliff and placed a brick on the accelerator. And while the country is falling apart on the inside, our enemies are getting stronger externally. Any day now, we’re going to be nuked by Iran, North Korea, a Taliban-controlled Pakistan, or all three at once with the backing of Russia and China. Then again, after Obama buzzed New York with Air Force One, would it be too surprising if he accidentally nuked us himself? His whole administration obviously has no idea what they’re doing, and with sixty votes in the Senate there is no stopping them. None.

So stop planning for the future of America is just time wasted. America is over; we tried to save it, and we failed. Time to move on. Any plans for the future of the Republican Party have to accept the reality of what the A.O. (After Obama) world will be like. Best case scenario, we all die very quickly and relatively painlessly. Due to high unemployment, though, most of us will be safe at home when the major cities are destroyed, leaving us to scavenge from the pieces of our shattered society.

So what do I propose for a Republican Party that will be relevant in the future? I’m thinking we need to work towards becoming a loose confederation of warlords. In the post-apocalyptic wasteland, resources will be scarce and the strong will crush the weak — and frankly, those are conditions in which Republicans should thrive. The Republican Party will need to cement its rule through force, destroy the weak, and take their resources. Back to basics for the party, really.

Liberals will still be a problem, but in a different way. Since liberals tend toward occupations like journalist, actor, and college professor (i.e., people with no useful skills), most of them will probably die out during the initial nuclear winter. Those who survive will probably mutate into horrible creatures that will continue to stalk Republicans while shouting, “I hate you, you hateful Republicans!” as they leap onto us and eat our skin and eyeballs. If you think that’s far-fetched, just mention Republicans to Janeane Garofalo and see her reaction; she’s halfway there already. So building fences on our borders will be a hot issue again, but this time it will be to keep liberal, cannibal mutants from killing us while we sleep. And we’ll still have the liberal media to contend with, trying to convince us liberals don’t want to eat our eyeballs. Don’t believe them; it’s all lies.

And what about moderates? I know this won’t make me popular with the Republican base, but we have to make every effort we can to get as many moderates into the Republican Party as possible. Let’s bend on any issue necessary and soften our rhetoric to get every squish behind us. Let’s even invite Arlen Specter back; we can tell him we were wrong and trillions in wasteful spending is a great idea right now. We need all the moderates we can get to join us, because when everything goes to hell, they’ll be a great source of cheap labor and — in a worse case scenario — food. So for the future survival of the party, moderates are very important.

So what issues will we be focusing on? Once again, it will be back to the basics of the Republican Party as we tackle our original defining issue: slavery. That’s because the apes will be mutated by radiation into ape-men and will be quite intent on enslaving their former masters, and it will be up to us to oppose them. Also, it’s a little known fact that the anti-piracy software in Microsoft products is programmed so that if it ever loses contact with Microsoft headquarters, the machines will revert to their original programming to destroy all humanity. So we can expect pretty much all machines to turn against us and try to capture and kill us. These are the issues people are going to find important in the near future, and I doubt the Democrats — if they still exist — will have any answers. So Republicans have the potential for lots of gains by taking a strong stance against ape-men and killer robots.

So as you hear from different pundits on what the Republicans need to do to regain power, remember that the key is that any workable idea must start with a realistic look at what challenges lie before us. That means it must account for radiation, killing each other over food and gasoline, flesh-eating mutants, ape-men, and deadly robots. It’s a hard reality to face, but it can be a good time for Republican gains if we’re prepared and properly armed. And if the ape-men and robots join forces, causing us to face cybernetic monkey-men, then let’s just say we better have found the next Reagan by then or we’re all done for.

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/gop-warlords-vs-the-cybernetic-monkey-men/2/

Chris Broe

May 20th, 2009
2:08 pm

This whole thing started with Tipper Gore’s V-chip to solve the scrambled porn problem of the nineties, man. Then, of course there was the VD-chip, but that was PeeWee Herman’s fault. Now, we’re supposed to sit back and take this intrusion into our cyber-porn? No. Thanks to the new era of all-digital broadcasting, scrambled porn is back. But that’s small consolation.

This CyberSecurity Act is going to take the fun out of looking at smart phone photos of all those pouting man-boobs thats been going around lately. I personally haven’t seen them but I read the police blotter. I would put a link but who knows what would happen to it now we’re being big-bro’d to death. Wasn’t there a book warning us about this very subject? Nineteen something? I totally assumed that because there was a book, that some of you math majors woulda headed this off at the pass by now. But no. Now I gotta protest with a sign and wander around all hours yelling slogans and getting involved against the man, man. So what’s Bob Barr’s excuse? He’s been in place a long time and he did nothing to prevent this. He’s admitting he’s a plunker. I wouldn’t be surprised if his next blog proves him to be a wanker, too.

We are so unserved by any leadership in Georgia. But you know, those who can’t govern, hack.

CDog

May 20th, 2009
3:58 pm

The Truth:

Here is some truth for you. By implying that Georgia ranks low in education, I assume you mean SAT score ranking. The main reason for this is Georgia’s large African-American and Hispanic populations (30-40% of population). These two demographics are consistently the lowest scorers on the SAT and, not ironically, also two of the strongest core constituencies of the Democratic Party.

the evil rich

May 20th, 2009
5:18 pm

If Olympia Snowe is for it, I’m usually against it. She’s a democrat in republican’s clothing, and should leave the party.

SaveOurRepublic

May 20th, 2009
5:38 pm

“Che was a homicidal maniac” @ 13:54 – The Globalist Elite have long sought the destruction of our Constitutional Republic. By leveraging their “Crapitol sHill” puppets, POTUS, NEA directed government schools, “mainstream” media propaganda, “Hollyweird” & the military-industrial complex, they’ve been able to quickly advance their nefarious agenda. The collapse of the Republic into the One World Government (enforced by an Orwellian police state) seems as too near.

The future may well hold a dystopian society comprised of a 90% serf/impoverished populace ruled by a 10% quasi-Marxist Elite. Of course, the Georgia Guidestones in Elbert County openly allude to population control/reduction (”maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature”), and the Elite strive for this objected via Malthusian eugenics such as tainted vaccines, chemtrails, “franken-foods”, fluoride in the H2O & (primarily) via manufactured wars (often sparked by false flag ops). ***Read the late Maj.General Smedley Butler’s book “War is Racket” for great insight on the war racket (pushed for the benefit of the International/Central Banking Cartel).

Orwell was indeed a visionary, but the Bible fortells of the Tribulation to come. As Americans, we must educated ourselves & others (with ears to hear, minds to learn) of the Globalist Elite, their plans, minions. Knowledge is indeed the key in fighting for our Republic!

http://www.infowars.com

Democritus

May 20th, 2009
6:47 pm

I appreciate your alarmist columns, because I always know that if you are opposed to something, there is merit to it, inversely proportional to your panic.

billy bob

May 20th, 2009
7:01 pm

Go eat some cheese Bob!

herbK

May 20th, 2009
8:32 pm

HERE is the TRUE issue in this story. This is another episode of BB Government TELLING you what IT will do. Unfortunately, when that involves something called the INTERNET, our government fails to realize they do not own it, nor do they manage it. The INTERNET is owned and is easily manage by those who feel it will become our ONLY method of valid legitimate communication. The government, at every level, has no stake in this, other than attempting to monitor the populace or attempting to tell us they are MANAGING THE INTERNET for our good. Now, considering our government, at every level, lies about the vast majority of issues, why participate? The ‘Net can easily block all levels of government from participation, so tell me, who has the upper hand?

Cindy Sue Causey

May 21st, 2009
2:00 am

Where people need to be likewise “concerned” is where stimulus monies are tied to developing broadband access.. I’ve seen a mumble here or there in the wild that the White House would like to directly oversee that project as well.. What better way to have your hands on the kill switch than to build its primary access points yourself…

Another place to provide feedback on bills in a venue that has been rapidly gathering steam of late is OpenCongress.org.. Just check out, oh, say, H.R. 45 as one example to see it in action.. :wink:

One suggestion :: The site’s search engine is glitchy on occasion so try using your favorite search engine to do the same by typing in something like “Cybersecurity Act of 2009″ and “OpenCongress”..

Warmest from Talking Rock..

RetLTC

May 21st, 2009
8:20 am

CDog

May 20th, 2009
3:58 pm
The Truth:

Here is some truth for you. By implying that Georgia ranks low in education, I assume you mean SAT score ranking. The main reason for this is Georgia’s large African-American and Hispanic populations (30-40% of population). These two demographics are consistently the lowest scorers on the SAT and, not ironically, also two of the strongest core constituencies of the Democratic Party

So CDog, how do you explain states with majority minority populaces having some of the highest SAT scores. Your bigotry is showing. Are you really D.A. King or do you just specialize in Lou Dobbs talking points.

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 21st, 2009
9:31 am

This should piss of the libs.

Poll: Favorable opinions of Cheney rise

WASHINGTON (CNN) — As Dick Cheney prepares to give a major speech on the battle against terrorism, a new national poll suggests that favorable opinions of the former vice president are on the rise.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is scheduled to give a major speech on the battle against terrorism Thursday.

But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Thursday morning, indicates that a majority of Americans still have an unfavorable opinion of Cheney.

Fifty-five percent of people questioned in the poll say they have an unfavorable opinion of the former vice president. Thirty-seven percent say they have a favorable opinion of Cheney, up 8 percentage points from January when he left office.

In the past two months, the former vice president has become a frequent critic of the new administration in numerous national media interviews.

“Is Cheney’s uptick due to his visibility as one of the most outspoken critics of the Obama administration? Almost certainly not,” says Keating Holland, CNN polling director.

“Former President George W. Bush’s favorable rating rose 6 points in that same time period, and Bush has not given a single public speech since he left office.”

The poll suggests that 41 percent of Americans hold a favorable opinion of the former president, with 57 percent viewing him unfavorably.

The survey’s release comes just a few hours before Cheney speaks out Thursday on the war against terror during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

Sources tell CNN that the former vice president is expected to defend the Bush administration’s handling of the war on terror and challenge the Obama administration’s attempt to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted May 14-17, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/21/cheney.poll/index.html

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 21st, 2009
9:32 am

Mistake: should read

PISS OFF THE LIBS…..

Jimbo

May 21st, 2009
9:49 am

HR 45 hasn’t moved an inch. It doesn’t even have any co-sponsors last I checked. It’ll likely die in committee like the two assault weapons bans before it.

The government, no government in fact, should be making laws regarding technology they don’t understand. Having to read over their poorly contrived requirements that are cribbed from better standards is painful. Worse still are the number of laws that crib from BAD standards..

Michael H. Smith

May 22nd, 2009
8:08 am

This “ACT” is unconstitutional. In fact, this is an ACT of tyranny. Keeping the Internet free of government control assures our first amendment right of free speech and of the free press as traditionally defined.

Remember the words of Ben Franklin and heed them: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”.

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Mark Martin

August 11th, 2009
11:35 am

What do you expect from the filthy zionist jew lawmakers? They control every other media outlet for information already and the internet is the ONLY source of FACTS and TRUTHFUL reporting that THEY can’t manipulate except by putting up their own websites full of jew propaganda and lies to dismiss us.
F**k that half-breed n*gger zionist Hussein Obama too! He’s an anti Christ if there ever was one.