Fearful legislators are working feverishly to build a “Kill Switch” for President Barrack Obama to be able to use to shut down the Internet. Why? Are they really fearful of cyber-terrorism or is the real enemy transparency?
If such a “Kill Switch” is possible to build, why doesn’t the Obama administration quickly throw together an experimental prototype that can be used to stop the gushing of up to 50,000 plus barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico from the ruptured BP well cap? We think that should be a relatively simple task compared to the stopping of trillions upon trillions of barrels of information gushing into cyberspace and circling the universe at the speed of light each and every second.
The Internet, an invention of government, is now being perceived as a threat to government. Oh, my, oh my…the paradox of unintended consequences.
What makes the Internet such a real and compelling threat to the establishment is that the barrier to entry (financial outlay) to the “little people” and their “small ideas” is extremely low. Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection and a bit of literacy can become a publisher and disseminator of information. There are no longer any effective information chokepoints. Only those relying solely on traditional media for critical information become its victims.
Traditional media, in the form of newspapers, magazines, radio, and television are scratching and clawing for relevancy and their very survival. More and more people, who relish freedom and personal responsibility, are dropping their subscriptions to mainstream media outlets and are focusing their time and attention on mining information from alternative Internet sources not dependent on information monopoly, but who rely, instead, upon providing valuable and useful content mainstream media abandoned decades ago. Additionally, global Internet users are becoming increasingly aware that their so-called enemies, on the other side of the globe, have much more in common with each other than their respective governments would want them to believe. People all over the globe are speaking directly to one another instead of through political and diplomatic proxies with divisive goals and questionable ambitions. Statists find such person-2-person dialogue passing freely and unobstructed through international boundaries absolutely abhorrent.
Institutional norms and international boundaries are being overcome, by the Internet liberty revolution, as emphatically as the Berlin Wall was eventually overcome and for the same reasons. East Germany was experiencing continual defections and "brain drain," even after the wall was built, and East German government officials (and the Soviets) finally saw the futility of their efforts to wall East Germans off from the opportunities and prosperity the rest of the world was enjoying. The Berlin Wall was built and then it was destroyed.
It is doubtful the Internet "Kill Switch" (Berlin Wall equivalent) will ever be built or stand for any length of time. The "mindset" of the statists proposing this silly solution is no different than the mindset of those Soviet Czars who dreamed of the Berlin Wall as representing a "Kill Switch" for capitalism. The idiocy didn't work then and it won't work now, but the statists never learn from history and are therefore doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
The Internet and complementary technologies such as video cameras, cell phones, and innovative software now allow anyone to become a publisher much to the dismay of authoritarians everywhere. Police officers and government officials no longer have an exclusive monopoly on surveillance activities. More and more concerned citizens are pulling out their cell phones and videotaping police abuse and publishing it on YouTube in a matter of a few minutes. Police are now finding their conduct increasingly under the microscope. The police have justified the use surveillance and recording technology, in the public domain, under the premise that there is no expectation of privacy while in public and therefore their secret surveillance and recording activities have been upheld in court as being legitimate. But what about when the shoe is suddenly placed on the other foot and they are the ones being placed under surveillance by concerned citizens who are sickened with the abuse they see in the form of tasering for non-compliance, indiscriminate use of asset forfeiture laws, and SWAT teams being used to serve warrants on suspects with no history of violence or any reasonable suspicion that they will be violent?
Sophisticated encryption technology is now available to the common man as effectively demonstrated by Wikileak’s founder Julian Assange possibly being placed on the government’s hit list for assassination because he is serving as an information go-between for conscientious people in the military and government who are feeling increasingly torn between protecting state secrets (embarrassing secrets), or following unconstitutional orders and directives, versus upholding their oath of office. Encryption technology allows for the establishment of cyberspace “safe houses,” such as Wikileaks, for whistleblowers to share such information without fear of their identities being compromised provided the whistleblowers follow the “safe house” rules of information handling and transmission. In other words, it is highly improbable a leak could be traced from Wikileaks back to the whistleblower, but is considerably more likely that a leak could be traced directly from the whistleblower. This is especially true if there were only a very small number of individuals having access to the information. The more people who are potential suspects (anyone with privileged access), in such a leak, will serve to complicate the investigation considerably.
Oath Keepers is an organization comprised of government employees and military personnel who no longer agonize about following unconstitutional orders or directives. They’ve committed themselves to upholding their oath of office in preference to protecting their arrogant bosses who continually seek to hide their tyranny behind the smokescreen of national security. We see an unraveling evident in this movement akin to the unraveling of the Soviet apparatus as depicted in the 1990 movie The Hunt for Red October based on the 1984 Tom Clancy novel of the same title whereby a Soviet submarine commander voluntarily defects and relinquishes his Soviet nuclear submarine out of respect for the sanctity of life and humanity in general. We do question the commander’s rationale for relinquishing his nuclear submarine to another equally destructive state power, instead of simply destroying it, but we obviously weren’t consulted during this portion of the filming.
The REAL reason the government fears the Internet is because they fear exposure. Their deeds cannot stand the light of day and the Internet is capable of shedding light in very dark corners.
Another reason the government fears the Internet is because they know how truly difficult it would be to get the Internet genie back into the bottle. And, they are not at all certain of the potential and unintended consequences that might result from such an endeavor. The Internet has a very unique way of seeking an outlet despite all the roadblocks thrown in its path. It was purposely designed to go over, under, and around all obstacles. The government would like everyone to think they had such awesome and omnipotent power to shut down the Internet, but the truth of the matter is that their true power lies primarily in the management of perceptions. The government’s primary tool for the management of perceptions consists of the lapdog mainstream media, but the mainstream media’s audience is rapidly dwindling. As a result, more and more government agencies and mainstream media outlets are creating their own Internet websites and forums and are attempting to win back their lost audience, but they just don’t get it. The real success of any form of media is based on the value of their content and mainstream media and government have repeatedly violated the trust of their constituency far too many times and their subscribers are leaving them in droves.
Mainstream media would love to see an Internet “Kill Switch” developed because they are getting scooped left and right and are unable to compete on a level playing field. The Internet has definitely leveled the media playing field and liberty lovers everywhere can rejoice and remain reasonably assured the Internet “Kill Switch” is just a figment of an impotent tyrant’s desperate imagination. If the government persists with this nonsense they will only be successful in driving the Internet underground where their influence will be felt even less.
Jim Rogers - Financial Markets; If U Don't C a Guy With a Bow Tie, Keep Refreshing Til U Do