First, Philip Giraldi, writing for Campaign for Liberty, details the increasing and disturbing level of government intervention into the internet. He writes:
A recent trip to Europe has convinced me that the governments of the world have been rocked by the power of the internet and are seeking to gain control of it so that they will have a virtual monopoly on information that the public is able to access. In Italy, Germany, and Britain the anonymous internet that most Americans are still familiar with is slowly being modified.After detailing the various types of controls and monitoring efforts taking place in Europe, he cites two major justifications that are being offered by Western governments:
[T]he ability to control the internet technically is only part of the story. Laws are being passed that criminalize expressing one's views on the internet, including both "hate crime" legislation and broadly drafted laws that make it a crime to support what the government describes loosely as terrorism in any way shape or form. Regular extra-legal government intrusion in the private lives of citizens is already a reality, particularly in the so-called Western Democracies that have the necessary technology and tech-savvy manpower to tap phones and invade computers.If you think these concerns are a product of the imaginations of over zealous civil libertarians, consider this Washington Post expose based on two years of investigation. Quoting the report, titled Top Secret America: A Hidden World, Growing Beyond Control:
The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.If "terrorism" and keeping Americans "safe" were the concern, then why not consider identifying our enemy and attacking their aiders and abettors by launching a war against Iran, Syria, and others? Instead, the United States is constructing a vast police state, an "alternative geography", to monitor and control the flow of ideas within our own borders. At what point will any criticism of the government be regarded as "hate speech" or a potential "terrorist" threat which provokes government investigations and censorship? I agree with Giraldi who writes:
These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.
But the moves afoot to create a legal framework to completely shut the internet down and thereby control the "message" are far more dangerous. American citizens who are concerned about maintaining their few remaining liberties should sound the alarm and tell the politicians that we don't need more government abridgement of our First Amendment rights.Hear, Hear - before it's too late.