Rubio Warns Of UN Takeover Of Internet

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Senator Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) plans to introduce strong belt buckle legislation to prevent a “takeover” of the Internet as we know it by the weak and corrupt United Nations or even another less friendly government regime. Speaking at Google’s office in Washington, the possible presidential contender said he will introduce legislation to codify U.S. support of an open Internet as other countries attempt to control its growth.

“Since the Web is worldwide—and since it has proven such an effective catalyst for pro-democratic revolution—it has become a battleground that many fight to control,” he said. Rubio pointed to 42 countries that limit the Internet within their borders and “now wish to take this further by exerting control over the way the Internet is governed and regulated internationally.”

“Many governments are lobbying for regulatory control by the United Nations or a governmental regime,” he said, and “opposing this takeover and preserving Internet freedom must be a top national priority.”

In a wide-ranging speech that touched on a broad array of economic topics, Rubio called for “new policies that encourage bold innovation.” He vowed to introduce legislation to reallocate federal government spectrum to the airwave-hungry wireless companies, who are looking to appeal to subscribers increasingly relying on their smartphone and other mobile devices. More broadly, Rubio called for an end to government involvement that impedes innovation and growth.

The U.S. can spend another century leading innovation, “but achieving this will require us to replace the antiquated policies and institutions of the last century with ones built for this new era,” he said. Rubio called for an overhaul to the tax system that would allow U.S. companies to avoid paying domestic taxes on revenue made and taxed abroad, and to take immediate deductions for investments. The Florida Senator is working on legislation with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would make those changes.

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Congress Pushes Bill To Create Internet Kill Switch

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Joe Lieberman

ORWELL LIVES! EVEN AS EGYPT'S GOVERNMENT attempts to crackdown on street protests by shutting down internet and mobile phone services, the US is preparing to reintroduce a bill that could be used to shut down the Internet, a kill switch. The legislation, which would grant presidential powers to seize control of and even shut down the internet, would soon be reintroduced to a Senate committee, Wired.com reported. It was initially introduced last year but expired with a new Congress. The proposed legislation, introduced into the US Senate by independent senator Joe Lieberman, who is chairman of the US Homeland Security committee, seeks to grant the President broad emergency powers over the internet in times of national emergency.

Last year, Lieberman argued the bill was necessary to "preserve those networks and assets and our country and protect our people". He said that, for all its allure, the internet could also be a "dangerous place with electronic pipelines that run directly into everything from our personal bank accounts to key infrastructure to government and industrial secrets". US economic security, national security and public safety were now all at risk from new kinds of enemies, including "cyber warriors, cyber spies, cyber terrorists and cyber criminals". Although the bill was targetted at protecting the US, many have said it would also affect other nations.

According to Renesys, a US Internet monitoring company, Egypt's four main internet service providers cut off international access to their customers in a near simultaneous move at 2234 GMT on Thursday. Around 23 million Egyptians have either regular or occasional access to the internet, according to official figures, more than a quarter of the population.

One of Australia's top communications experts, University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt, had previously railed against the idea, saying shutting down the internet would "inflict an enormous damage on the entire world". He said it would be like giving a single country "the right to poison the atmosphere, or poison the ocean".

The scale of Egypt's crackdown on the internet and mobile phones amid deadly protests against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak is unprecedented in the history of the web, experts have said. US President Barack Obama, social networking sites and rights groups around the world all condemned the moves by Egyptian authorities to stop activists using mobile phones and cyber technology to organise rallies. "It's a first in the history of the internet," Rik Ferguson, an expert for Trend Micro, the world's third biggest computer security firm, said.

Julien Coulon, co-founder of Cedexis, a French internet performance monitoring and traffic management system, added: "In 24 hours we have lost 97 per cent of Egyptian internet traffic". Despite this, many Egyptians are finding ways to get access, some using international telephone numbers to gain access to dial-up internet. According to Renesys, a US Internet monitoring company, Egypt's four main internet service providers cut off international access to their customers in a near simultaneous move at 2234 GMT on Thursday. Around 23 million Egyptians have either regular or occasional access to the internet, according to official figures, more than a quarter of the population.

"In an action unprecedented in internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the internet," James Cowie of Renesys said in a blog post.

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Congress On Foreign Internet Oppression

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Chinese Internet Police

CONGRESS in its inimitable fashion has considered how to resolve the dilemma of U.S. Internet companies that try to serve their customers but end up serving repressive foreign governments. Witnesses at a congressional hearing talked about dissidents in China, Syria and Russia who were imprisoned after posting their political thoughts on the Internet.

Routers, e-mail and other Internet services of U.S. companies helped the foreign governments track down the dissidents in some cases, the witnesses told members of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on human rights and the law.

"Cisco´s routers are supercomputers," said Shiyu Zhou, deputy director of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, a group that advocates against political censorship of the Internet. "They can be used as a toys, but they can also be made into an A-bomb."

He was referring to the Chinese government's Golden Shield Project, sometimes referred to as the Great Firewall of China. It is a censorship and surveillance program run by China's Ministry of Public Security that began operating in November 2003.

The Global Internet Freedom Consortium says Cisco Systems Inc.'s contract with the Chinese government to help build the Golden Shield program enabled Chinese police to find and arrest dissidents by tracking their Internet postings back to the source.

"They can make it into an A-bomb to make it do whatever the Golden Shield needs," Mr. Zhou said about Cisco's computer systems.

Well, our wonderfully sluggish US Congress finally awakens from their slumber on this issue that has caught the attention of concerned industry pundits for at least a decade. Damned American greed once again strikes at the hearts of the innocents, just to gain a foothold in market share (and the misplaced hope that these governments will either loosen up or the people will somehow rise up against their oppressors by luck of Western technologies. Read the entire Washington Times article.