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Joe Biden’s pro-RIAA, pro-FBI tech voting record

Joe Biden’s pro-RIAA, pro-FBI tech voting record

CNET
August 23, 2008

By choosing Joe Biden as their vice presidential candidate, the Democrats have selected a politician with a mixed record on technology who has spent most of his Senate career allied with the FBI and copyright holders, who ranks toward the bottom of CNET’s Technology Voters’ Guide, and whose anti-privacy legislation was actually responsible for the creation of PGP.

That’s probably okay with Barack Obama: Biden likely got the nod because of his foreign policy knowledge. The Delaware politician is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee who voted for the war in Iraq, and is reasonably well-known nationally after his presidential campaigns in 1988 and 2008.

Copyright
But back to the Delaware senator’s tech record. After taking over the Foreign Relations committee, Biden became a staunch ally of Hollywood and the recording industry in their efforts to expand copyright law. He sponsored a bill in 2002 that would have make it a federal felony to trick certain types of devices into playing unauthorized music or executing unapproved computer programs. Biden’s bill was backed by content companies including News Corp. but eventually died after Verizon, Microsoft, Apple, eBay, and Yahoo lobbied against it.

A few months later, Biden signed a letter that urged the Justice Department “to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks.” Critics of this approach said that the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, and not taxpayers, should pay for their own lawsuits.

Last year, Biden sponsored an RIAA-backed bill called the Perform Act aimed at restricting Americans’ ability to record and play back individual songs from satellite and Internet radio services. (The RIAA sued XM Satellite Radio over precisely this point.)

All of which meant that nobody in Washington was surprised when Biden was one of only four U.S. senators invited to a champagne reception in celebration of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hosted by the MPAA’s Jack Valenti, the RIAA, and the Business Software Alliance. (Photos are here.)

Now, it’s true that few Americans will cast their votes in November based on what the vice presidential candidate thinks of copyright law. But these pro-copyright views don’t exactly jibe with what Obama has promised; he’s pledged to “update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated.” These are code words for taking a more pro-EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) than pro-MPAA approach.

Unfortunately, Biden has steadfastly refused to answer questions on the topic. We asked him 10 tech-related questions, including whether he’d support rewriting the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as part of our 2008 Technology Voters’ guide. Biden would not answer (we did hear back from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Ron Paul).

In our 2006 Technology Voters’ Guide, which ranked Senate votes from July 1998 through May 2005, Biden received a mere 37.5 percent score because of his support for Internet filters in schools and libraries and occasional support for Internet taxes.

Privacy, the FBI, and PGP
On privacy, Biden’s record is hardly stellar. In the 1990s, Biden was chairman of the Judiciary Committee and introduced a bill called the Comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Act, which the EFF says he was “persuaded” to do by the FBI. A second Biden bill was called the Violent Crime Control Act. Both were staunchly anti-encryption, with this identical language:

It is the sense of Congress that providers of electronic communications services and manufacturers of electronic communications service equipment shall ensure that communications systems permit the government to obtain the plain text contents of voice, data, and other communications when appropriately authorized by law.

Translated, that means turn over your encryption keys. The book Electronic Privacy Papers describes Biden’s bill as representing the FBI’s visible effort to restrict encryption technology, which was taking place in concert with the National Security Agency’s parallel, but less visible efforts. (Biden was no foe of the NSA. He once described now-retired NSA director Bobby Ray Inman as the “single most competent man in the government.”)

Biden’s bill — and the threat of encryption being outlawed — is what spurred Phil Zimmermann to write PGP, thereby kicking off a historic debate about export controls, national security, and privacy. Zimmermann, who’s now busy developing Zfone, says it was Biden’s legislation “that led me to publish PGP electronically for free that year, shortly before the measure was defeated after vigorous protest by civil libertarians and industry groups.”

While neither of Biden’s pair of bills became law, they did foreshadow the FBI’s pro-wiretapping, anti-encryption legislative strategy that followed — and demonstrated that the Delaware senator was willing to be a reliable ally of law enforcement on the topic. (They also previewed the FBI’s legislative proposal later that decade for banning encryption products such as SSH or PGP without government backdoors, which was approved by one House of Representatives committee but never came to a vote in the Senate.)

“Joe Biden made his second attempt to introduce such legislation” in the form of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which was also known as the Digital Telephony law, according to an account in Wired magazine. Biden at the time was chairman of the relevant committee; he co-sponsored the Senate version and dutifully secured a successful floor vote on it less than two months after it was introduced. CALEA became law in October 1994, and is still bedeviling privacy advocates: the FBI recently managed to extend its requirements to Internet service providers.

CALEA represented one step in the FBI and NSA’s attempts to restrict encryption without backdoors. In a top-secret memo to members of President George H.W. Bush’s administration including Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and CIA director Robert Gates, one White House official wrote: “Justice should go ahead now to seek a legislative fix to the digital telephony problem, and all parties should prepare to follow through on the encryption problem in about a year. Success with digital telephony will lock in one major objective; we will have a beachhead we can exploit for the encryption fix; and the encryption access options can be developed more thoroughly in the meantime.”

There’s another reason why Biden’s legislative tactics in the CALEA scrum amount to more than a mere a footnote in Internet history. They’re what led to the creation of the Center for Democracy and Technology — and the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s simultaneous implosion and soul-searching.

EFF staffers Jerry Berman and Danny Weitzner chose to work with Biden on cutting a deal and altering the bill in hopes of obtaining privacy concessions. It may have helped, but it also left the EFF in the uncomfortable position of leaving its imprimatur on Biden’s FBI-backed wiretapping law universally loathed by privacy advocates. The debacle ended with internal turmoil, Berman and Weitzner leaving the group and taking their corporate backers to form CDT, and a chastened EFF that quietly packed its bags and moved to its current home in San Francisco. (Weitzner, who was responsible for a censorship controversy last year, became a formal Obama campaign surrogate.)

“Anti-terror” legislation
The next year, months before the Oklahoma City bombing took place, Biden introduced another bill called the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. It previewed the 2001 Patriot Act by allowing secret evidence to be used in prosecutions, expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap laws, creating a new federal crime of “terrorism” that could be invoked based on political beliefs, permitting the U.S. military to be used in civilian law enforcement, and allowing permanent detection of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review. The Center for National Security Studies said the bill would erode “constitutional and statutory due process protections” and would “authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations.”

Biden himself draws parallels between his 1995 bill and its 2001 cousin. “I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill,” he said when the Patriot Act was being debated, according to the New Republic, which described him as “the Democratic Party’s de facto spokesman on the war against terrorism.”

Biden’s chronology is not accurate: the bombing took place in April 1995 and his bill had been introduced in February 1995. But it’s true that Biden’s proposal probably helped to lay the groundwork for the Bush administration’s Patriot Act.

In 1996, Biden voted to keep intact an ostensibly anti-illegal immigration bill that outlined what the Real ID Act would become almost a decade later. The bill would create a national worker identification registry; Biden voted to kill an Abraham-Feingold amendment that would have replaced the registry with stronger enforcement. According to an analysis by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the underlying bill would have required “states to place Social Security numbers on drivers licenses and to obtain fingerprints or some other form of biometric identification for licenses.”

Along with most of his colleagues in the Congress — including Sen. John McCain but not Rep. Ron Paul — Biden voted for the Patriot Act and the Real ID Act (which was part of a larger spending bill). Obama voted for the bill containing the Real ID Act, but wasn’t in the U.S. Senate in 2001 when the original Patriot Act vote took place.

Patriot Act
In the Senate debate over the Patriot Act in October 2001, Biden once again allied himself closely with the FBI. The Justice Department favorably quotes Biden on its Web site as saying: “The FBI could get a wiretap to investigate the mafia, but they could not get one to investigate terrorists. To put it bluntly, that was crazy! What’s good for the mob should be good for terrorists.”

The problem is that Biden’s claim was simply false — which he should have known after a decade of experience lending his name to wiretapping bills on behalf of the FBI. As CDT explains in a rebuttal to Biden: “The Justice Department had the ability to use wiretaps, including roving taps, in criminal investigations of terrorism, just as in other criminal investigations, long before the Patriot Act.”

But Biden’s views had become markedly less FBI-friendly by April 2007, six years later. By then, the debate over wiretapping had become sharply partisan, pitting Democrats seeking to embarrass President Bush against Republicans aiming to defend the administration at nearly any cost. In addition, Biden had announced his presidential candidacy three months earlier and was courting liberal activists dismayed by the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping.

That month, Biden slammed the “president’s illegal wiretapping program that allows intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on the conversations of Americans without a judge’s approval or congressional authorization or oversight.” He took aim at Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for allowing the FBI to “flagrantly misuse National Security Letters” — even though it was the Patriot Act that greatly expanded their use without also expanding internal safeguards and oversight as well.

Biden did vote against a FISA bill with retroactive immunity for any telecommunications provider that illegally opened its network to the National Security Agency; Obama didn’t. Both agreed to renew the Patriot Act in March 2006, a move that pro-privacy Democrats including Ron Wyden and Russ Feingold opposed. The ACLU said the renewal “fails to correct the most flawed provisions” of the original Patriot Act. (Biden does do well on the ACLU’s congressional scorecard.)

“Baby-food bombs”
The ACLU also had been at odds with Biden over his efforts to censor bomb-making information on the Internet. One day after a bomb in Saudi Arabia killed several U.S. servicemen and virtually flattened a military base, Biden pushed to make posting bomb-making information on the Internet a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in jail, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

“I think most Americans would be absolutely shocked if they knew what kind of bone-chilling information is making its way over the Internet,” he told the Senate. “You can access detailed, explicit instructions on how to make and detonate pipe bombs, light-bulb bombs, and even — if you can believe it — baby-food bombs.”

Biden didn’t get exactly what he wanted — at least not right away. His proposal was swapped in the final law for one requiring the attorney general to investigate “the extent to which the First Amendment protects such material and its private and commercial distribution.” The report was duly produced, concluding that the proposal “can withstand constitutional muster in most, if not all, of its possible applications, if such legislation is slightly modified.”

It was. Biden and co-sponsor Dianne Feinstein introduced their bill again the following year. Biden pitched it as an anti-terror measure, saying in a floor debate that numerous terrorists “have been found in possession of bomb-making manuals and Internet bomb-making information.” He added: “What is even worse is that some of these instructions are geared toward kids. They tell kids that all the ingredients they need are right in their parents’ kitchen or laundry cabinets.”

Biden’s proposal became law in 1997. It didn’t amount to much: four years after its enactment, there had been only one conviction. And instead of being used to snare a dangerous member of Al Qaeda, the law was used to lock up a 20-year old anarchist Webmaster who was sentenced to one year in prison for posting information about Molotov cocktails and “Drano bombs” on his Web site, Raisethefist.com.

Today there are over 10,000 hits on Google for the phrase, in quotes, “Drano bomb.” One is a video that lists the necessary ingredients and shows some self-described rednecks blowing up small plastic bottles in their yard. Then there’s the U.S. Army’s Improvised Munitions Handbook with instructions on making far more deadly compounds, including methyl nitrate dynamite, mortars, grenades, and C-4 plastic explosive — which free speech activists placed online as an in-your-face response to the Biden-Feinstein bill.

Peer-to-peer networks
Since then, Biden has switched from complaining about Internet baby-food bombs to taking aim at peer-to-peer networks. He held one Foreign Relations committee hearing in February 2002 titled “Theft of American Intellectual Property” and invited executives from the Justice Department, RIAA, MPAA, and Microsoft to speak. Not one Internet company, P2P network, or consumer group was invited to testify.

Afterwards, Sharman Networks (which distributes Kazaa) wrote a letter to Biden complaining about “one-sided and unsubstantiated attacks” on P2P networks. It said: “We are deeply offended by the gratuitous accusations made against Kazaa by witnesses before the committee, including ludicrous attempts to associate an extremely beneficial, next-generation software program with organized criminal gangs and even terrorist organizations.”

Biden returned to the business of targeting P2P networks this year. In April, he proposed spending $1 billion in U.S. tax dollars so police can monitor peer-to-peer networks for illegal activity. He made that suggestion after a Wyoming cop demonstrated a proof-of-concept program called “Operation Fairplay” at a hearing before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

A month later, the Senate Judiciary committee approved a Biden-sponsored bill that would spend over $1 billion on policing illegal Internet activity, mostly child pornography. It has the dubious virtue of being at least partially redundant: One section would “prohibit the broadcast of live images of child abuse,” even though the Justice Department has experienced no problems in securing guilty pleas for underage Webcamming. (The bill has not been voted on by the full Senate.)

Online sales of Robitussin
Around the same time, Biden introduced his self-described Biden Crime Bill of 2007. One section expands electronic surveillance law to permit police wiretaps in “crimes dangerous to the life, limb, and well-being of minor children.” Another takes aim at Internet-based telemedicine and online pharmacies, saying that physicians must have conducted “at least one in-person medical evaluation of the patient” to prescribe medicine.

Another prohibits selling a product containing dextromethorphan — including Robitussin, Sucrets, Dayquil, and Vicks — “to an individual under the age of 18 years, including any such sale using the Internet.” It gives the Justice Department six months to come up with regulations, which include when retailers should be fined for shipping cough suppressants to children. (Biden is a longtime drug warrior; he authored the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act that the Bush administration used to shut down benefit concerts.)

Net neutrality
On Net neutrality, Biden has sounded skeptical. In 2006, he indicated that no preemptive laws were necessary because if violations do happen, such a public outcry will develop that “the chairman will be required to hold this meeting in this largest room in the Capitol, and there will be lines wandering all the way down to the White House.” Obama, on the other hand, has been a strong supporter of handing pre-emptive regulatory authority to the Federal Communications Commission.

 

Tommy Chong: Biden ’authored the bill that put me in jail’

KXMB
August 24, 2008

It turns out that Obama’s new running mate is one of the leading crusaders in the war on drugs. Which isn’t something that’s likely to sit well with Obama’s base of young, college-aged supporters

Earlier this week, in an interview with the Washington Post, Tommy Chong was asked what the average citizen can do to further the cause of decriminalization. “Check out the people you’re voting for,” Chong replied. “For instance, Joseph Biden comes off as a liberal Democrat, but he’s the one who authored the bill that put me in jail. He wrote the law against shipping drug paraphernalia through the mail – which could be anything from a pipe to a clip or cigarette papers.”

Barack Obama’s V.P. selection Sen. Joe Biden also spnsored the Rave Act, which targets music events where drug use is allegedly prevalent.

Read Full Article Here

Experts: Many Americans Lost Homes Due to a Bill Championed by Biden
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5670703&page=1

Barack Obama: The Next PRESIDENT Is Joe Biden
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RElChQ6g2Io

VP Choice Biden Unpopular in Iraq: He’s creator of the idea of dividing Iraq
http://africa.reuters.com/world/news/usnLN96984.html

Biden’s Bill: The Patriot Act
http://www.tnr.com/columnist..582-b6ec-444834c9df73&k=93697

Biden called for unilateral Iraq invasion – in 1998
http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5492

 



AU: Pirated music on Ipods could mean jail

AU: Pirated music on Ipods could mean jail
MUSIC fans might soon have their iPods and laptops searched by Customs officers at airport checks and face jail if a large amount of pirated music is found on them.

News.com.au
July 28, 2008

The push for the unprecedented searches of travellers’ laptops and MP3 players has been revealed in a leaked discussion paper relating to a treaty being negotiated by the Federal Government.

It suggests criminal sanctions for infringements on a commercial scale.

That meant innocent pop and rock fans with huge song libraries could unwittingly be hit with jail for commercial piracy, according to Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Coroneos.

“It talks about (sanctions for) commercial infringements does that mean one, 10, 20 or 1000 songs?

“It could be that people get sent to jail for being in possession of commercial-scale quantities of copied music.”

Travelers Laptops May Be Stolen At Border
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/content/article/2008/08/01/laptops.html

U.S. Agents Can Seize Laptops
http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Government/US-Agents-Can-Seize-Laptops/?kc=rss

TSA Proud Of Confisicating Non-Dangerous Item
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2008/07/tsa_proud_of_co.html

Internet Police: G8 Ratifies Crackdown on Illegal Downloads
http://noworldsystem.com/20..crackdown-on-illegal-downloads/

 



UK: Big Brother recording all calls, texts and e-mails

Big Brother database recording all our calls, texts and e-mails will ’ruin British way of life’

Daily Mail
July 16, 2008

Plans for a massive database snooping on the entire population were condemned yesterday as a ‘step too far for the British way of life’.

In an Orwellian move, the Home Office is proposing to detail every phone call, e-mail, text message, internet search and online purchase in the fight against terrorism and other serious crime.

But the privacy watchdog, Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, warned that the public’s traditional freedoms were under grave threat from creeping state surveillance.

Apart from the Government’s inability to hold data securely, he said the proposals raised ‘grave questions’.

‘Do the risks we face provide justification for such a scheme in the first place? Do we want the state to have details of more and more aspects of our private lives?

‘Whatever the benefits, would such a scheme amount to excessive surveillance? Would this be a step too far for the British way of life?’

It is thought the scheme would allow the police or MI5 to access the exact time when a phone call was made, the number dialled, the length of the call and, in the case of mobile phones, the location of the handset to within an accuracy of a few hundred yards.

Similarly for e-mails, it would provide details of when they were sent and who the recipients were. Police recovering a suspect’s computer would then be able to trawl through hard-drive records and recover particular messages. The content of telephone calls could not be recovered unless they were being intercepted at the time.

Mr Thomas’s warnings were backed by privacy campaigners, who claimed such Big Brother powers would give Government agencies unprecedented abilities to trawl through intimate details of ordinary people’s private lives at will.

He used the launch of his annual report to speak out after ministers signalled their intentions in their programme of legislation earlier this year, describing the new Bill as ‘modifying procedures for acquiring communications data’.

There are fears that the data will be shared with foreign governments – such as the Americans demanding personal details of air passengers – accessed by internet hackers or lost by bungling civil servants.

Opponents pointed out that town halls are already using extraordinary surveillance powers under the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to investigate minor issues such as littering, or checking whether parents are abusing school catchment area rules, and they could be given access to almost unthinkable levels of personal data under the new scheme.

Currently police and MI5 can access customer records stored by telephone companies, but only with a warrant to examine individual accounts.

Mr Thomas said: ‘I am absolutely clear that the targeted and duly-authorised interception of the communications of suspects can be invaluable in the fight against terrorism and other serious crime.

‘But there needs to be the fullest public debate about the justification for, and implications of, a specially created database – potentially accessible to a wide range of law enforcement authorities – holding details of everyone’s telephone and internet communications.

’Do we really want the police, security services and other organs of the state to have access to more and more aspects of our private lives?’

Opposition MPs said the Government’s dismal records on safeguarding private data – most notably the loss of the entire child benefit database holding millions of people’s financial details – showed it was incapable of safeguarding such a vast volume of information safely, and the scheme should be dropped immediately.

An estimated 3billion emails are sent in Britain every day and last year 57billion text messages were sent.

The Home Office yesterday defended the need to keep its surveillance powers up to date with changing internet technology, and said full details of the plans would be published this year as part of a new Communications Data Bill.

Officials said the internet was rapidly revolutionising communications and it was vital for surveillance powers to keep up with technology in order to fight serious crime and terrorism.

Read Full Article Here

 

India: NSA to tap data traffic passing through Blackberry devices

Business Line
July 13, 2008

New Delhi, July 12 – In a bid to find a solution to the security concerns around Blackberry services, the National Security Adviser is now supervising a discussion between National Test Research Organisation, under the Home Ministry, Department of Telecom and Canada-based Research In Motion.

The discussions are being held to find a spot on RIM’s network where the data traffic passing through Blackberry could be intercepted by security agencies.

The agencies had earlier rejected any temporary solution to the Blackberry controversy and told the Government that it must make sure that traffic originating and terminating on the device should not travel outside the country without proper monitoring.

DoT was considering deploying certain software that would allow the security agencies to snoop into Blackberry network without having to break into the service codes.

Blackberry handsets are designed by Research In Motion and uses high encryption code, making it impossible for the Indian agencies to monitor data being transmitted by users.

The DoT had earlier asked the company to set up a local server in the country which would allow the security forces to snoop into the network. However, Research In Motion said that it was not possible to give decryption codes or set up a local data centre in the country.

The DoT had earlier asked RIM to give its codes to Indian security agencies that will enable them to monitor the data being transmitted through Blackberry. The key problem was that Indian agencies do not have the required technology to monitor data that has encryption codes higher than 40 bits.

On the issue of setting up a local data centre within the country, RIM had said that Blackberry was designed to perform as a global system independent of geography. “The location of data centres and the customer’s choice of wireless network are irrelevant factors from a security perspective since end-to-end encryption is utilised,” RIM had said.

NY subpoenas blogger id
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/0..er=MYWAY&pagewanted=print

YouTube, Viacom Agree To Anonymize Data
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20..hxV5G7yprV84FDlzM55TmZk24cA

Canadian ISPs Plan Net Censorship
http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/canada_net_censorship.html

Airport scans for illegal downloads on iPods, mobile phones and laptops
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/conn..nected/2008/07/10/nairport110.xml

Army Forms Network Warfare Batallion
http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htiw/articles/20080712.aspx

 



Secret Plan To Kill Internet By 2012

Secret Plan To Kill Internet By 2012

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
June 11, 2008

ISP’s have resolved to restrict the Internet to a TV-like subscription model where users will be forced to pay to visit selected corporate websites by 2012, while others will be blocked, according to a leaked report. Despite some people dismissing the story as a hoax, the wider plan to kill the traditional Internet and replace it with a regulated and controlled Internet 2 is manifestly provable.

“Bell Canada and TELUS (formerly owned by Verizon) employees officially confirm that by 2012 ISP’s all over the globe will reduce Internet access to a TV-like subscription model, only offering access to a small standard amount of commercial sites and require extra fees for every other site you visit. These ’other’ sites would then lose all their exposure and eventually shut down, resulting in what could be seen as the end of the Internet,” warns a report that has spread like wildfire across the web over the last few days.

The article, which is accompanied by a You Tube clip, states that Time Magazine writer “Dylan Pattyn” has confirmed the information and is about to release a story – and that the move to effectively shut down the web could come as soon as 2010.

People have raised questions about the report’s accuracy because the claims are not backed by another source, only the “promise” that a Time Magazine report is set to confirm the rumor. Until such a report emerges many have reserved judgment or outright dismissed the story as a hoax.

What is documented, as the story underscores, is the fact that TELUS’ wireless web package allows only restricted pay-per-view access to a selection of corporate and news websites. This is the model that the post-2012 Internet would be based on.

People have noted that the authors of the video seem to be more concerned about getting people to subscribe to their You Tube account than fighting for net neutrality by prominently featuring an attractive woman who isn’t shy about showing her cleavage. The vast majority of the other You Tube videos hosted on the same account consist of bizarre avante-garde satire skits on behalf of the same people featured in the Internet freedom clip. This has prompted many to suspect that the Internet story is merely a stunt to draw attention to the group.

Whether the report is accurate or merely a crude hoax, there is a very real agenda to restrict, regulate and suffocate the free use of the Internet and we have been documenting its progression for years.

The first steps in a move to charge for every e mail sent have already been taken. Under the pretext of eliminating spam, Bill Gates and other industry chieftains have proposed Internet users buy credit stamps which denote how many e mails they will be able to send. This of course is the death knell for political newsletters and mailing lists.

The New York Times reported that “America Online and Yahoo, two of the world’s largest providers of e-mail accounts, are about to start using a system that gives preferential treatment to messages from companies that pay from 1/4 of a cent to a penny each to have them delivered. The senders must promise to contact only people who have agreed to receive their messages, or risk being blocked entirely.”

The first wave will simply attempt to price people out of using the conventional Internet and force people over to Internet 2, a state regulated hub where permission will need to be obtained directly from an FCC or government bureau to set up a website.

The original Internet will then be turned into a mass surveillance database and marketing tool. The Nation magazine reported in 2006 that, “Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets–corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers–would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.”

Over the past few years, a chorus of propaganda intended to demonize the Internet and further lead it down a path of strict control has spewed forth from numerous establishment organs:

  • Time magazine reported last year that researchers funded by the federal government want to shut down the internet and start over, citing the fact that at the moment there are loopholes in the system whereby users cannot be tracked and traced all the time.
  • The projects echo moves we have previously reported on to clamp down on internet neutrality and even to designate a new form of the internet known as Internet 2.

  • In a display of bi-partisanship, there have recently been calls for all out mandatory ISP snooping on all US citizens by both Democrats and Republicans alike.
  • The White House’s own recently de-classified strategy for “winning the war on terror” targets Internet conspiracy theories as a recruiting ground for terrorists and threatens to “diminish” their influence.

  • The Pentagon recently announced its effort to infiltrate the Internet and propagandize for the war on terror.

  • In a speech last October, Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff identified the web as a “terror training camp,” through which “disaffected people living in the United States” are developing “radical ideologies and potentially violent skills.” His solution is “intelligence fusion centers,” staffed by Homeland Security personnel which will go into operation next year.

  • The U.S. Government wants to force bloggers and online grassroots activists to register and regularly report their activities to Congress. Criminal charges including a possible jail term of up to one year could be the punishment for non-compliance.

  • A landmark legal case on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America and other global trade organizations seeks to criminalize all Internet file sharing of any kind as copyright infringement, effectively shutting down the world wide web – and their argument is supported by the U.S. government.

  • A landmark legal ruling in Sydney goes further than ever before in setting the trap door for the destruction of the Internet as we know it and the end of alternative news websites and blogs by creating the precedent that simply linking to other websites is breach of copyright and piracy.

  • The European Union, led by former Stalinist and potential future British Prime Minister John Reid, has also vowed to shut down “terrorists” who use the Internet to spread propaganda.

  • The EU data retention bill, passed last year after much controversy and with implementation tabled for late 2007, obliges telephone operators and internet service providers to store information on who called who and who emailed who for at least six months. Under this law, investigators in any EU country, and most bizarrely even in the US, can access EU citizens’ data on phone calls, SMS messages, emails and instant messaging services.

  • The EU also recently proposed legislation that would prevent users from uploading any form of video without a license.

  • The US government is also funding research into social networking sites and how to gather and store personal data published on them, according to the New Scientist magazine. “At the same time, US lawmakers are attempting to force the social networking sites themselves to control the amount and kind of information that people, particularly children, can put on the sites.”

The development of a new form of internet with new regulations is also designed to create an online caste system whereby the old internet hubs would be allowed to break down and die, forcing people to use the new taxable, censored and regulated world wide web.

Make no mistake, the internet, one of the greatest outposts of free speech ever created is under constant attack by powerful people who cannot operate within a society where information flows freely and unhindered. Both American and European moves mimic stories we hear every week out of state controlled Communist China, where the internet is strictly regulated and virtually exists as its own entity away from the rest of the web.

The Internet is freedom’s best friend and the bane of control freaks. Its eradication is one of the short term goals of those that seek to centralize power and subjugate their populations under tyranny by eliminating the right to protest and educate others by the forum of the free world wide web.

Corporations Plan To Pull Plug On The Free Internet
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/june2008/061208_pull_plug.htm

Ransomware: Hackers can hold your PC files for ransom
http://blogs.computerworld.com/rans..are_armageddon_approaches

Record Percentage Of Americans Use Internet For Politics, Survey Finds
http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/06/record-percenta.html

Copyright deal could toughen rules governing info on iPods, computers
http://www.canada.com/topics/t..ae997868-220b-4dae-bf4f-47f6fc96ce5e

Charging by the Byte to Curb Internet Traffic
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/1..&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin