Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Amazing revelations have emerged concerning already existing government plans to overhaul the way the internet functions in order to apply much greater restrictions and control over the web.
|Lessig also revealed there is already in existence a cyber equivalent of the Patriot Act waiting for a cyber terrorism event in order to implement its provisions.|
Lawrence Lessig, a respected Law Professor from Stanford University told an audience at this years Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Half Moon Bay, California, that “There’s going to be an i-9/11 event” which will act as a catalyst for a radical reworking of the law pertaining to the internet.
Lessig also revealed that he had learned, during a dinner with former government Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke, that there is already in existence a cyber equivalent of the Patriot Act, an “i-Patriot Act” if you will, and that the Justice Department is waiting for a cyber terrorism event in order to implement its provisions.
During a group panel segment titled “2018: Life on the Net”, Lessig stated:
There’s going to be an i-9/11 event. Which doesn’t necessarily mean an Al Qaeda attack, it means an event where the instability or the insecurity of the internet becomes manifest during a malicious event which then inspires the government into a response. You’ve got to remember that after 9/11 the government drew up the Patriot Act within 20 days and it was passed.
The Patriot Act is huge and I remember someone asking a Justice Department official how did they write such a large statute so quickly, and of course the answer was that it has been sitting in the drawers of the Justice Department for the last 20 years waiting for the event where they would pull it out.
Of course, the Patriot Act is filled with all sorts of insanity about changing the way civil rights are protected, or not protected in this instance. So I was having dinner with Richard Clarke and I asked him if there is an equivalent, is there an i-Patriot Act just sitting waiting for some substantial event as an excuse to radically change the way the internet works. He said “of course there is”.
Watch Lessig reveal the details at 4.30 into the following video:
Lessig is the founder of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. He is founding board member of Creative Commons and is a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and of the Software Freedom Law Center. He is best known as a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright, trademark and radio frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications.
These are clearly not the ravings of some paranoid cyber geek.
The Patriot Act, as well as its lesser known follow up the Domestic Security Enhancement Act 2003, also known as USA Patriot Act II, have been universally decried by civil libertarians and Constitutional scholars from across the political spectrum. They have stripped back basic rights and handed what have been described by even the most moderate critics as “dictatorial control” over to the president and the federal government.
Many believed that the legislation was a response to the attacks of 9/11, but the reality was that the Patriot Act was prepared way in advance of 9/11 and it sat dormant, awaiting an event to justify its implementation.
In the days after the attacks it was passed in the House by a majority of 357 to 66. It passed the Senate by 98 to 1. Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex) told the Washington Times that no member of Congress was even allowed to read the legislation.
Now we discover that exactly the same freedom restricting legislation has already been prepared for the cyber world.
An i-9/11, as described by Lawrence Lessig, would provide the perfect pretext to implement such restrictions in one swift motion, as well as provide the justification for relegating and eliminating specific content and information on the web.
Such an event could come in the form of a major viral attack, the hacking of a major city’s security or transport systems, or some other vital systems, or a combination of all of these things. Considering the amount of unanswered questions regarding 9/11 and all the indications that it was a covert false flag operation, it isn’t hard to imagine such an event being played out in the cyber world.
However, regardless of any i-9/11 or i-Patriot Act, there is already a coordinated effort to stem the reach and influence of the internet.
We have tirelessly warned of this general movement to restrict, censor, control and eventually completely shut down the internet as we know it, thereby killing the last real vestige of free speech in the world today and eliminating the greatest communication and information tool ever conceived.
Our governments have reams of legislation penned to put clamps on the web as we know it. Legislation such as the PRO-IP Act of 2007: H.R. 4279, that would create an IP czar at the Department of Justice and the Intellectual Property Enforcement Act of 2007: S. 522, which would create an entire ‘Intellectual Property Enforcement Network’. These are just two examples.
In addition, we have already seen how the major corporate websites and social networks are decentralizing and coming together to implement overarching identification, verification and access systems that have been described by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as “the beginning of a movement and the beginning of an industry.”
Some of these major tech companies have already joined efforts in projects such as the Information Card Foundation, which has proposed the creation of a system of internet ID cards that will be required for internet access. Of course, such a system would give those involved the ability to track and control user activity much more effectively. This is just one example.
In addition, as we reported yesterday, major transportation hubs like St. Pancras International, as well as libraries, big businesses, hospitals and other public outlets that offer wi-fi Internet, are blacklisting alternative news websites and making them completely inaccessible to their users.
These precedents are merely the first indication of what is planned for the Internet over the next 5-10 years, with the traditional web becoming little more than a vast spy database that catalogues people’s every activity and bombards them with commercials, while those who comply with centralized control and regulation of content will be free to enjoy the new super-fast Internet 2.
We must speak out about this rampant move to implement strict control mechanisms on the web NOW before it is too late, before the spine of the free internet is broken and its body essentially becomes paralyzed beyond repair.
Hat Tip: Harold Gray, JustGetThere.us