The Internet has emerged as the most empowering tool of individual freedom since the Gutenberg’s press, affording billions of people worldwide not only the tool of instant communication, but access to a wealth of liberating information, freedom from the chains of received consensus, and the opportunity to become their own media platform.
This represents an ever increasing threat to the status quo of the elite, which is why the establishment is working feverishly to dismantle the freedom granted by the world wide web in its current form.
1) The Death of Net Neutrality
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently gave the green light for large Internet Service Providers to create a two-tier Internet system which would allow large corporations to buy up dedicated faster bandwidth, ending net neutrality and potentially leaving smaller websites in the dust.
If passed this will allow the “televization” of the Internet, resulting in large companies forming monopolies and restricting consumer choice.
“[S]maller companies that can’t afford to pay for faster delivery would likely face additional obstacles against bigger rivals. And consumers could see a trickle-down effect of higher prices as Web sites try to pass along new costs of doing business with Internet service providers,”reports the Washington Post.
For almost a decade, we have warned of plans to create an ‘Internet 2’ under which the old Internet would be left to crumble and die, eviscerating the world wide web as a tool of free speech that allows independent voices to be heard amongst the cacophony of corporate and statist propaganda.
2) Intelligence Agencies are Manipulating the Internet With Deliberate Disinformation
Documents recently released by whistleblower Edward Snowden confirm that western intelligence agencies are deliberately flooding the web with disinformation in order to, “inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets.”
These techniques are intended to “control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse,” which has the effect of, “compromising the integrity of the internet itself,” according to journalist Glenn Greenwald.
3) Governments are Paying Trolls to Sway Public Opinion
In 2010, Canada’s CTV News reported on how federal authorities were paying companies to “correct misinformation” on web forums.
The Turkish, Israeli and Chinese governments along with a host of others have also implemented similar programs, while the U.S. Air Force hired data security firm HBGary to create large numbers of fake social media profiles that could be used to spread propaganda while countering anti-U.S. rhetoric online. Raw Story reported that the obvious function of the program was to “manipulate public opinion on key information, such as news reports,” thereby creating, “the illusion of consensus.”
4) Mainstream News Websites are Killing Comment Sections
Although this remains a relatively rare phenomenon, increasing numbers of mainstream news websites are killing or severely restricting comment sections in order to drown out dissident voices that challenge the prevailing status quo.
Studies confirm that article comment sections – for better or worse – are heavily swaying public opinion. Popular Science recently announced its decision to kill comment sections on their website in order to silence global warming skeptics. BoingBoing.net is following a similar track. The New York Times also recently indicated that it is scaling back comments and removing them from some articles altogether.
The effort to kill comments is part of the establishment media’s desperate effort to dictate reality and maintain a grip on manufacturing consensus in the face of a burgeoning independent media and the Internet as a vehicle of free speech in general.
5) The Obama Administration’s “Cognitive Infiltration” of the Internet
In 2010, a White House program was revealed that centered around infiltrating conspiracy groups in order to undermine them via postings on chat rooms and social networks. Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, Obama’s appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, spearheaded this “cognitive infiltration” of the web and has been heralding its success ever since.
Sunstein pointed out that simply having people in government refute conspiracy theories wouldn’t work because they are inherently untrustworthy, making it necessary to, “Enlist nongovernmental officials in the effort to rebut the theories.”
Sunstein suggested that “government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action.”
6) False Flag Cybersecurity Attacks as a Pretext to Increase Web Regulation
While constantly repeating the necessity for restrictive cybersecurity regulations to be applied to the Internet in the name of preventing cyber attacks, the United States has itself been behind all the recent major cyber attacks.
After Alex Jones pointed the finger at Washington and Tel Aviv for being behind Stuxnet during a September 27, 2010 broadcast, the likes of CNN, the Economist and others followed up by ridiculing the claim as a baseless conspiracy theory. Months later in January 2011, the New York Times reported, “US and Israeli intelligence services collaborated to develop a destructive computer worm to sabotage Iran’s efforts to make a nuclear bomb,” acknowledging the “conspiracy theory” to be true.
As the Washington Post reported, the United States and Israel were also responsible for jointly developing the Flame virus.
Stuxnet’s appearance was dovetailed by an aggressive PR campaign during which Joe Lieberman and others called for the government to be allowed to, “disconnect parts of its Internet in case of war,” just as China did. What Lieberman failed to mention is the fact that China’s Internet censorship program was and continues to be based around crushing dissent against the state and has nothing to do with cybersecurity.
7) Fairness Doctrine for the Internet
While working to end net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission is also serving to facilitate the implementation of something akin to the Fairness Doctrine for the Internet.
According to Tim Cavanaugh, under a plan entitled “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs, “The airwaves regulator would subject news producers in all media to invasive questioning about their work and content,” a move which could lead to policing of political content on the web.
Although the study was widely derided in the media and now appears to have been derailed, the fact that the FCC is pursuing such programs illustrates the feds’ contempt for free speech on the Internet.
8) Homeland Security’s Internet Kill Switch
While fears of a government kill switch for the Internet have been mooted for years, under Standard Operating Procedure 303 or SOP 303, the Department of Homeland Security has given itself the power to oversee “the termination of private wireless network connections, both within a localized area, such as a tunnel or bridge, and within an entire metropolitan area,” in the event of a declared emergency.
When privacy rights group the Electronic Privacy Information Center attempted to obtain more information on the plan last year, the DHS claimed that it could not locate any further details regarding the program.
The White House also still claims that it retains Internet kill switch powers under the law that created the Federal Communications Commission in 1934. This law states that if a “state of public peril or disaster or other national emergency” exists, the president may “authorize the use or control of any…station or device.”
9) New Taxes and Regulations Set to Stifle Communication & Sales on the Web
A blizzard of new taxes and regulations could herald “Internet freedom’s expiration date,” according to a recent Wall Street Journal piece which points to efforts by lawmakers to weaken the Internet Tax Freedom Act in order, “to punish all American consumers with new taxes on communication.”
Lobbyists for giant retailers are leaning on Congress to empower some 9,600 state and local governments with more authority over e-commerce, including a potential e-mail tax which could dissuade millions of Americans from communicating online.
10) SOPA, CISPA & The FBI’s Internet Backdoor
Legislative assaults under the banner of SOPA and CISPA, which were advanced in the name of stopping online copyright theft, yet were soundly defeated when it emerged they were actually designed to impose oppressive censorship and surveillance on the Internet, will continue to be advanced by those who seek to centralize power over the web into fewer and fewer hands at the top of the pyramid.
In addition, the FBI’s attempt to amend the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act in order to build backdoors into all Internet Service Providers, email clients and social media sites, is another effort to chill free speech by indoctrinating people with the notion that everything they do online is being permanently watched and recorded, making them less likely to express their freedoms due to fears of official oppression.
The ultimate endgame for the bid to kill the Internet as we know it undoubtedly revolves around a plan to create a universal Internet ID system, recently introduced by the White House, which will eventually be transformed into a de facto license to use the world wide web. This would empower the state to strip anyone who misbehaves of the ‘privilege’ of using the Internet and thereby institute government permission to access the web.
Only by aggressively opposing these onerous threats to the freedom of the Internet can we hope to preserve the world wide web in its current incarnation and continue to see informed and empowered people the world over embrace it as the tool of individual liberation it has truly become.