Internet under attack?

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By Luke Donahue

Facebook has ceased to exist, Twitter won’t update, and YouTube cannot be located at this time.

All of these situations may soon become a reality due to a new bill set forth by Congressman Jay Rockefeller. It is dauntingly similar to what happened earlier this year in the Mideast.

In June, Iran held its presidential election in which voters would decide between incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and challenger Mir- Hossein Mousavi.

After ballots were counted, the government announced that Ahmadinejad had won in a landslide. Riots broke out because voters believed the election had been rigged, which it probably was.

Police in Tehran beat and jailed protesters. Upon hearing this, the U.S. took a hard stance in favor of the rebels who were against Ahmadinejad.

One of the most liberating media for the demonstrators was the Internet. They used it to expound on their cause and cry out for help.

To combat this, Ahmadinejad turned off the Internet.

That way, the outside world would have trouble hearing about the uprisings, and the rebels would have trouble communicating with one another.

Although the White House has condemned Ahmadinejad’s actions, the Democrats in Congress are currently working on a bill that could emulate them.

Last spring, Congressman Rockefeller began conducting a new bill called S.773, or The Cybersecurity Act of 2009. Rockefeller claims the bill will fill “the need for a cybersecurity structure in place to protect our country.”

The bill says that the president “may declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised federal government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network ….”

So what does this “critical infrastructure” include? Further down, the bill says: “state, local, and nongovernmental information systems and networks
in the United States.” That means your personal computer is included.

As the bill goes on, it is essentially interpreted as this: The president can turn off the Internet to everyone in the United States.

After the presentation of this bill to Congress, outrage began to come from all over the media about it.

What is more stunning is the fact that Democrats would support this bill considering their opposition to The Patriot Act during the Bush years. The similarity between this bill and Ahmadinejad’s actions are so close, it’s revolting. Ahmadinejad undoubtedly told his countrymen that the riots were an emergency, and that’s why he had to shut down the Internet.

But America uses democratic processes. That could never happen here, right? According to Ahmadinejad, his country uses democratic processes
too.

The point of S.773 is not that President Obama will try to be president forever by taking over the Internet. It’s just the fact that this bill could possibly be put into effect that is distasteful.

As a nation, how could we say that the actions of Iran are unjust when we would be doing the same thing? A copy of the bill can be found at http://www.thomas.gov.

If this bill is passed, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 would be one of the biggest exhibitions of hypocrisy in the United States our history has ever seen.

Author: The Bells Staff

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