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Thread: Obama Administration's Plans for Regulating the Internet

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    Default Obama Administration's Plans for Regulating the Internet

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008
    LAW OF THE LAND
    WorldNetDaily

    Cyber cops on their way?
    Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Posted: December 09, 2008
    10:36 pm Eastern

    By Drew Zahn
    WorldNetDaily



    A panel of web experts from government, private and the military sectors released a report yesterday urging the next president to establish a new office of cyberspace security and begin federal regulation of the Internet.

    The report, "Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency," from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank established during the Cold War, alleges the Department of Homeland Security has failed to secure the Internet and new measures are needed – despite inevitable concerns about online privacy – to keep America safe.

    "We still have an industrial-age government that was organized a century ago," said Jim Lewis, one of CSIS's directors, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. "The DHS has a 1970s-style solution to a 21st century problem."

    "The United States must treat cybersecurity as one of the most important national security challenges it faces," the CSIS panel asserts in its report. "This is a strategic issue on par with weapons of mass destruction and global jihad."

    To back its claim, the panel cites a litany of cybersecurity breaches that it claims hit sensitive areas in 2007 alone:
    "The unclassified e-mail of the secretary of defense was hacked, and DOD officials told us that the department's computers are probed hundreds of thousands of times each day," the panel reports.

    "A senior official at the Department of State told us the
    department had lost 'terabytes' of information. Homeland Security suffered break-ins in several of its divisions, including the Transportation Security Agency. The Department of Commerce was forced to take the Bureau of Industry and Security off-line for several months, and NASA has had to impose e-mail restrictions before shuttle launches and allegedly has seen designs for new launchers compromised.

    "Recently the White House itself had to deal with unidentifiable intrusions in its networks," the report continues.

    "Senior representatives from the intelligence community told us that they had conclusive evidence, covertly obtained from foreign sources, that U.S. companies have lost billions in intellectual property."
    To counter the reported attacks, the panel recommends steps that, by the CSIS' own admission, may raise privacy concerns for American citizens.


    While acknowledging the benefit of online anonymity, the report nonetheless contends there must be better systems in place to authenticate Internet users' digital identities.

    "Creating the ability to know reliably what person or device is sending a particular data stream in cyberspace," the panel states, "must be part of an effective cybersecurity strategy."

    The report continues, "We appreciate that many may be concerned about where this [review of Internet usage laws] may lead."

    The panel acknowledges police may worry new laws might make enforcement difficult, companies may worry that new laws may hinder online business, and, "Civil libertarians may worry that, in a world consumed with terrorism, the protection for civil liberties may take a back seat to national security and public safety."

    "These concerns are all legitimate," the panel admits. "But in a world where the Internet citizen is about to embrace cloud computing (or, put another way, in a world where a citizen's most sensitive data may routinely be globally accessible and in the possession of third parties), we have a unique opportunity to proactively decide what the right rules should be."
    The report sets forth a seven-stage plan of recommendations for implementing its cybersecurity strategy, beginning with the next president.

    "This strategy should be based on a public statement by the president that the cyber infrastructure of the United States is a vital asset for national security and the economy," the report recommends, "and that the United States will protect it, using all instruments of national power, in order to protect national security and public safety."

    From that first step, the report recommends creating a new National Office for Cyberspace under the Executive Office of the President, partnering with the private sector, limiting the federal government's information purchases to only secure technology, creating a digital ID for both government and private citizens online and reviewing current laws to create a market-sensitive, federally regulated Internet.

    The report acknowledges several times that digital identity authentication and federal regulations may be controversial, but, the panel asserts, they are necessary.
    "We believe that cyberspace cannot be secured without regulation," the report insists. "Market forces alone will never provide the level of security necessary to achieve national security objectives."

    Regarding digital identification, the panel proposes that high-risk situations (such as accessing critical infrastructure controls) require a strong authentication system, while low-risk situations (such as accessing public government data or purchasing a pair of shoes) need not utilize increased identification measures.
    Further, the report asserts, "Our discussions made it clear that government programs must provide security while also protecting privacy and civil liberties."

    "Greater security must reinforce citizens' rights, not come at their expense," the CSIS report concludes.
    The CSIS is a bipartisan, nonprofit organization that conducts research and analysis and advises decisionmakers in government, international institutions and the private sector. Based on K Street in Washington, D.C., CSIS has approximately 220 employees and an annual operating budget of $29 million, which comes mostly from corporate, foundation and government sources.

    The panel that produced the cyberspace report was chaired by Rep. James Langevin, D-R.I., Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Scott Charney, corporate vice president for trustworthy computing at Microsoft Corporation and retired Lt. General Harry Raduege, USAF.

    At least five members of Obama's transition team contributed to the report, and the remainder are looking forward to reviewing the recommendations, a spokeswoman told the Chronicle.

    The Department of Homeland Security, however, was less enthusiastic.

    "We're the first ones to admit that there's more work to be done," department spokeswoman Laura Keener told the Chronicle, "but to stop midstream and reorganize the deck chairs is not an effective use of resources."

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=83156

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Report: Obama helicopter security breached

    Pa. company says blueprints for Marine One found at Iran IP address

    NBC News and msnbc.com
    updated 10:07 a.m. CT, Sun., March. 1, 2009

    A company that monitors peer-to-peer file-sharing networks has discovered a potentially serious security breach involving President Barack Obama's helicopter, NBC affiliate WPXI in Pittsburgh reported Saturday.

    Employees of Tiversa, a Cranberry Township, Pa.-based security company that specializes in peer-to-peer technology, reportedly found engineering and communications information about Marine One at an IP address in Tehran, Iran.

    Bob Boback, CEO of Tiversa, told WPXI-TV: "We found a file containing entire blueprints and avionics package for Marine One, which is the president's helicopter."

    The company was able to trace the file back to its original source.
    "What appears to be a defense contractor in Bethesda, Md., had a file-sharing program on one of their systems that also contained highly sensitive blueprints for Marine One," Boback said.

    Tiversa also found sensitive financial information about the cost of the helicopter on that same computer, WPXI-TV reported.

    Someone from the company most likely downloaded a file-sharing program, typically used to exchange music, not realizing the potential problems, Boback said.

    "When downloading one of these file-sharing programs, you are effectively allowing others around the world to access your hard drive," Boback said.
    Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, an adviser to Tiversa, said the company discovered exactly which computer the information came from. "I'm sure that person is embarrassed and may even lose their job, but we know where it came from and we know where it went."

    Boback said the government was notified immediately.

    Iran is not the only country that appears to be accessing this type of information through file-sharing programs, Boback told the station.

    "We've noticed it out of Pakistan, Yemen, Qatar and China. They are actively searching for information that is disclosed in this fashion because it is a great source of intelligence," Boback said.

    Clark told WPXI that he doesn't know how sensitive this information is, but he said other military information has been found on the Internet in the past and should be monitored more closely.

    Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., said he would ask Congress to investigate how to prevent this from happening again.

    More from msnbc.com

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet


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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Let me know if I have this right.

    A few computers owned by the government were hacked.

    Yeah, I consider that a major breach.

    So now Barry O and Company want to regulate the Web?

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Should Obama Control the Internet?

    By Steve Aquino | Thu April 2, 2009 12:33 PM PST
    Should President Obama have the power to shut down domestic Internet traffic during a state of emergency?

    Senators John Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) think so. On Wednesday they introduced a bill to establish the Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor—an arm of the executive branch that would have vast power to monitor and control Internet traffic to protect against threats to critical cyber infrastructure. That broad power is rattling some civil libertarians.

    The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (PDF) gives the president the ability to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" and shut down or limit Internet traffic in any "critical" information network "in the interest of national security." The bill does not define a critical information network or a cybersecurity emergency. That definition would be left to the president.

    The bill does not only add to the power of the president. It also grants the Secretary of Commerce "access to all relevant data concerning [critical] networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access." This means he or she can monitor or access any data on private or public networks without regard to privacy laws.

    Rockefeller made cybersecurity one of his key issues as a member of the Senate intelligence committee, which he chaired until last year. He now heads the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which will take up this bill.

    "We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs—from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records—the list goes on," Rockefeller said in a statement. Snowe echoed her colleague, saying, "if we fail to take swift action, we, regrettably, risk a cyber-Katrina."

    But the wide powers outlined in the Rockefeller-Snowe legislation has at least one Internet advocacy group worried. "The cybersecurity threat is real," says Leslie Harris, head of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), "but such a drastic federal intervention in private communications technology and networks could harm both security and privacy."

    The bill could undermine the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), says CDT senior counsel Greg Nojeim. That law, enacted in the mid '80s, requires law enforcement seek a warrant before tapping in to data transmissions between computers.

    "It's an incredibly broad authority," Nojeim says, pointing out that existing privacy laws "could fall to this authority."

    Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says that granting such power to the Commerce secretary could actually cause networks to be less safe. When one person can access all information on a network, "it makes it more vulnerable to intruders," Granick says. "You've basically established a path for the bad guys to skip down."

    The bill's scope, she says, is "contrary to what the Constitution promises us." That's because of the impact it could have on Internet users' privacy rights: If the Commerce Department uncovers evidence of illegal activity when accessing "critical" networks, that information could be used against a potential defendant, even if the department never had the intent to find incriminating evidence. And this might violate the Constitutional protection against searches without cause.

    "Once information is accessed, it can be used for whatever purpose, no matter the original reason for accessing something," Granick says. "Who's interested in this [bill]? Law enforcement and people in the security industry who want to ensure more government dollars go to them."

    Nojeim, though, thinks it's possible the bill's powers could be trimmed as it moves through Congress. "We will be working with them to clarify just what is needed and how to accomplish that," he says. "We're hopeful that some of the very broad powers that the bill would confer won't be included."

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Bill Would Grant President Unprecedented Cyber-security Powers

    By Roy Mark
    2009-04-02

    The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 introduced in the Senate would allow the president to shut down private Internet networks. The legislation also calls for the government to have the authority to demand security data from private networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access.

    The headlines were all about creating a national cyber-security czar reporting directly to the president, but the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 introduced April 1 in the U.S. Senate would also give the president unprecedented authority over private-sector Internet services, applications and software.

    According to the bill's language, the president would have broad authority to designate various private networks as a "critical infrastructure system or network" and, with no other review, "may declare a cyber-security emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from" the designated the private-sector system or network.

    The 51-page bill does not define what private sector networks would be considered critical to the nation's security, but the Center for Democracy and Technology fears it could include communications networks in addition to the more traditional security concerns over the financial and transportation networks and the electrical grid.

    "I'd be very surprised if it doesn't include communications systems, which are certainly critical infrastructure," CDT General Counsel Greg Nojeim told eWEEK. "The president would decide not only what is critical infrastructure but also what is an emergency."

    The bill would also impose mandates for designated private networks and systems, including standardized security software, testing, licensing and certification of cyber-security professionals.

    "Requiring firms to get government approval for new software would hamper innovation and would have a negative effect on security," Nojeim said. "If everyone builds to the same standard and the bad guys know those standards it makes it easier for the bad guys."

    The legislation also calls for a public-private clearinghouse for cyber-threats and vulnerability information under Department of Commerce authority. The Secretary of Commerce would have the authority to access "all relevant data concerning such networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access."

    In another section of the bill, though, the president is required to report to Congress on the feasibility of an identity management and authentication program "with appropriate civil liberties and privacy protections."

    Nojeim complained the bill is "not only vague but also broad. Its very broad language is intended to confer broad powers." Nojeim also speculated that the bill's vague language and authority may prove to be powerful incentive for the private sector to improve its cyber-security measures.

    "The bill will encourage private-sector solutions to make the more troubling sections of the bill unnecessary," he said.

    According to a number of media reports, the bill was crafted with the cooperation of the White House. The legislation aims to create a fully integrated, coordinated public-private partnership on cyber-security in addition to pushing for innovation and creativity in cyber-security solutions.

    "We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs—from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records—the list goes on," Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), bill co-sponsor, said in a statement. "It's an understatement to say that cyber-security is one of the most important issues we face; the increasingly connected nature of our lives only amplifies our vulnerability to cyber-attacks and we must act now."

    Fellow co-sponsor Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) added, "America's vulnerability to massive cyber-crime, global cyber-espionage and cyber-attacks has emerged as one of the most urgent national security problems facing our country today. Importantly, this legislation loosely parallels the recommendations in the CSIS [Center for Strategic and International Studies] blue-ribbon panel report to President Obama and has been embraced by a number of industry and government thought leaders."

    The CDT's Nojeim stressed that are a "number of good things in the bill," including creation of a cyber-security czar, scholarships for cyber-security programs and collaborations between the government and the private sector. While urging Congress to change the bill, he argued that the "problematic provisions shouldn't crowd out the beneficial provisions of the bill."

    Senate bill S. 778

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by Backstop View Post

    So now Barry O and Company want to regulate the Web?
    Yeah, they want to be able to block sites that they don't want you to have access too.
    I'm guessing the internet will be something like the digital tv. You pay for which sites you want to be able to access. And if its a site they don't want you to have access to, then you cant choose that site. Probably gonna be all entertainment and something like google/wiki.
    Horrible.

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by I am a weakish speller View Post
    Probably gonna be all entertainment and something like google/wiki.
    Horrible.
    While it would be horrendous, the genie is already out of the bottle. People won't accept the internet having the same options as a TV remote control.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by Malsua View Post
    While it would be horrendous, the genie is already out of the bottle. People won't accept the internet having the same options as a TV remote control.
    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.
    Then they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.
    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a Jew.
    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out for me.
    Now you think about how many people that wouldn't mind the internet to be all entertainment and goggle/wiki and no rational webpages where you can talk freely.
    I'm not saying people wont demonstrate and stuff, all I'm saying is that history repeats itself all the time and all we say is: we will never let history repeat itself and never again.

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    From The Sunday Times
    April 26, 2009
    Beware surfers: cyberspace is filling up

    John Harlow

    Internet users face regular “brownouts” that will freeze their computers as capacity runs out in cyberspace, according to research to be published later this year.

    Experts predict that consumer demand, already growing at 60 per cent a year, will start to exceed supply from as early as next year because of more people working online and the soaring popularity of bandwidth-hungry websites such as YouTube and services such as the BBC’s iPlayer.

    It will initially lead to computers being disrupted and going offline for several minutes at a time. From 2012, however, PCs and laptops are likely to operate at a much reduced speed, rendering the internet an “unreliable toy”.

    When Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British scientist, wrote the code that transformed a private computer network into the world wide web in 1989, the internet appeared to be a limitless resource. However, a report being compiled by Nemertes Research, a respected American think-tank, will warn that the web has reached a critical point and that even the recession has failed to stave off impending problems.

    Related Links


    “With more people working or looking for work from home, or using their PCs more for cheap entertainment, demand could double in 2009,” said Ted Ritter, a Nemertes analyst. “At best, we see the [economic] slowdown delaying the fractures for maybe a year.”

    In America, telecoms companies are spending £40 billion a year upgrading cables and supercomputers to increase capacity, while in Britain proposals to replace copper cabling across part of the network with fibreoptic wires would cost at least £5 billion.

    Yet sites such as YouTube, the video-sharing service launched in 2005, which has exploded in popularity, can throw the most ambitious plans into disarray.

    The amount of traffic generated each month by YouTube is now equivalent to the amount of traffic generated across the entire internet in all of 2000.
    The extent of its popularity is indicated by the 100 million people who have logged on to the site to see the talent show contestant Susan Boyle in the past three weeks.

    Another so-called “net bomb” being studied by Nemertes is BBC iPlayer, which allows viewers to watch high-definition television on their computers. In February there were more than 35 million requests for shows and iPlayer now accounts for 5 per cent of all UK internet traffic.

    Analysts express such traffic in exabytes – a quintillion (or a million trillion) bytes or units of computer data. One exabyte is equivalent to 50,000 years’ worth of DVD-quality data.

    Monthly traffic across the internet is running at about eight exabytes. A recent study by the University of Minnesota estimated that traffic was growing by at least 60 per cent a year, although that did not take into account plans for greater internet access in China and India.

    While the net itself will ultimately survive, Ritter said that waves of disruption would begin to emerge next year, when computers would jitter and freeze. This would be followed by “brownouts” – a combination of temporary freezing and computers being reduced to a slow speed.

    Ritter’s report will warn that an unreliable internet is merely a toy. “For business purposes, such as delivering medical records between hospitals in real time, it’s useless,” he said.

    “Today people know how home computers slow down when the kids get back from school and start playing games, but by 2012 that traffic jam could last all day long.”

    Engineers are already preparing for the worst. While some are planning a lightning-fast parallel network called “the grid”, others are building “caches”, private computer stations where popular entertainments are stored on local PCs rather than sent through the global backbone.

    Telephone companies want to recoup escalating costs by increasing prices for “net hogs” who use more than their share of capacity.

    Additional reporting: Adam Lewitt

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    >>>Internet users face regular “brownouts” that will freeze their computers as capacity runs out in cyberspace, according to research to be published later this year.<<<<

    Horse pucky.

    This already happened. Back in the mid to late 90s, if ANYTHING got a mention on TV, radio or whatever and the site got hit, the servers would go down immediately.

    There is plenty of bandwidth out there and it's getting bigger and more robust continuously.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Well if the LEFT can't wrangle freedoms away from it's citizens to control it because of our laws. You can always rely on your global friends to get the same or better results.

    EU wants U.S. to give up Internet oversight

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Last Updated: 4th May 2009, 7:26am

    BRUSSELS — A senior European Union official called on President Barack Obama to give up United States’ oversight of the Internet.

    Major decisions on how the Internet is run are made solely by the California-based non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN.

    It is overseen by the U.S. Commerce Department under an agreement that expires Sept. 30.

    EU Commissioner Viviane Reding, the EU’s Internet chief, called for the severing of links between ICANN and the U.S. government.

    Instead, he wants monitoring by an independent legal authority and a group of 12 countries that would meet regularly to discuss Internet governance and security.

    The previous U.S. administration resisted efforts to hand ICANN oversight to a United Nations agency.

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Obama setting up better security for computers


    President Barack Obama returns a salute as arrives on the
    South Lawn of the White House in Washington,
    Thursday, May 28, 2009. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)


    WASHINGTON -- America has failed for too long to protect the security of its computer networks, President Barack Obama said Friday, announcing he will name a new cyber czar to press for action.

    Surrounded by a slew of government officials, aides and corporate executives, Obama said the U.S. has reached a "transformational moment" when computer networks are probed and attacked millions of times a day.

    "It's now clear this cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation," Obama said, adding, "We're not as prepared as we should be, as a government or as a country."

    He said he will soon pick the person he wants to head a new White House office of cyber security, and that person will report to the National Security Council and the National Economic Council - a nod to his contention that the country's economic prosperity depends on cybersecurity.

    While the coordinator's exact title has not yet been decided, Obama addressed concerns that the person might not have the budgetary and policy-making authority needed to force change. The coordinator, he said, will have "regular access to me."

    As many as a half dozen candidates - from the public and private sector - are being considered for the job, according to officials familiar with the discussions.

    Obama's announcement comes as the Pentagon is poised to create a new cyber command to improve protection of military networks and coordinate its offensive and defensive cyber missions.

    Government officials have grown increasingly alarmed as U.S. computer networks are repeatedly assailed by attacks and scams, ranging from nuisance hacking to more nefarious probes and attacks, including suspicions of cyber espionage by other nations, such as China. Officials earlier this year revealed there was an attack against the electrical grid, and computers at the Pentagon were infected by a virus.

    Even the president was a victim.

    Obama said his presidential campaign's own computer system was attacked last year, and hackers gained access to e-mails and filed, but not to contributors or financial information.

    "It was a powerful reminder: In this Information Age, one of your greatest strengths - in our case, our ability to communicate to a wide range of supporters through the Internet - could also be one of your greatest vulnerabilities," said Obama.

    Laying out a broad five-point plan, the president said the U.S. must provide the education required to keep pace with technology and attract and retain a cyber-savvy work force. He called for a new education campaign to raise public awareness of the challenges and threats related to cyber security.

    The newly interconnected world offers great promise, but it also presents significant peril, the president said, declaring: "Cyberspace is real, and so are the risks that comes with it."

    He assured the business community, however, that the government will not dictate how private industry should tighten digital defenses. And he made it clear that the new cyber security effort will not involve any monitoring of private networks or individual e-mail accounts.

    The Internet, he said, should remain open and free.

    Corporate leaders and cyber experts, however, say they are concerned that the new coordinator will not wield enough power to force reluctant government agencies to put aside turf wars or dictate how they spend the millions of dollars the U.S. pours into its digital budgets.

    "Placing a strategy "czar" in the White House will hinder Congress' ability to effectively oversee federal cybersecurity activities and will do little to resolve the bureaucratic conflicts, turf battles, and confusing lines of authority that have undermined past cybersecurity efforts," said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the top Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

    Experts expressed similar reservations.

    "I expect that a position that has a lesser role, that doesn't have budget authority, that is reporting up through the NEC, would probably not result in the kinds of changes that really need to be made," said Gene Spafford, computer security expert and professor at Purdue University, where candidate Obama first pledged last year to make cyber a priority.

    Obama said the coordinator will work with the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that agencies reflect the spending priorities needed.

    Overall, computer company executives and members of Congress hailed Obama's announcement as a good first step, while warning that there is much hard work still to be done.

    "Because the private sector owns and operates the vast majority of our nation's critical infrastructure, government and business have a shared responsibility to defend our networks," said Ann Beauchesne, vice president of national security at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    GAG THE INTERNET!

    AN OBAMA OFFICIAL'S FRIGHTENING BOOK ABOUT CURBING FREE SPEECH ONLINE



    Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor who has been appointed to a shadowy post that will grant him powers.

    Last updated: 12:09 pm
    July 11, 2009
    Posted: 12:05 pm
    July 11, 2009
    When it comes to the First Amendment, Team Obama believes in Global Chilling.

    Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor who has been appointed to a shadowy post that will grant him powers that are merely mind-boggling, explicitly supports using the courts to impose a "chilling effect" on speech that might hurt someone's feelings. He thinks that the bloggers have been rampaging out of control and that new laws need to be written to corral them.

    Advance copies of Sunstein's new book, "On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done," have gone out to reviewers ahead of its September publication date, but considering the prominence with which Sunstein is about to be endowed, his worrying views are fair game now. Sunstein is President Obama's choice to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. It's the bland titles that should scare you the most.

    "Although obscure," reported the Wall Street Journal, "the post wields outsize power. It oversees regulations throughout the government, from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Obama aides have said the job will be crucial as the new administration overhauls financial-services regulations, attempts to pass universal health care and tries to forge a new approach to controlling emissions of greenhouse gases."

    Sunstein was appointed, no doubt, off the success of "Nudge," his previous book, which suggests that government ought to gently force people to be better human beings.

    Czar is too mild a world for what Sunstein is about to become. How about "regulator in chief"? How about "lawgiver"? He is Obama's Obama.

    In "On Rumors," Sunstein reviews how views get cemented in one camp even when people are presented with persuasive evidence to the contrary. He worries that we are headed for a future in which "people's beliefs are a product of social networks working as echo chambers in which false rumors spread like wildfire." That future, though, is already here, according to Sunstein. "We hardly need to imagine a world, however, in which people and institutions are being harmed by the rapid spread of damaging falsehoods via the Internet," he writes. "We live in that world. What might be done to reduce the harm?"

    Sunstein questions the current libel standard - which requires proving "actual malice" against those who write about public figures, including celebrities. Mere "negligence" isn't libelous, but Sunstein wonders, "Is it so important to provide breathing space for damaging falsehoods about entertainers?" Celeb rags, get ready to hire more lawyers.

    Sunstein also believes that - whether you're a blogger, The New York Times or a Web hosting service - you should be held responsible even for what your commenters say. Currently you're immune under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. "Reasonable people," he says, "might object that this is not the right rule," though he admits that imposing liability for commenters on service providers would be "a considerable burden."

    But who cares about a burden when insults are being bandied about? "A 'chilling effect' on those who would spread destructive falsehoods can be an excellent idea," he says.

    "As we have seen," Sunstein writes, having shown us no such thing, "falsehoods can undermine democracy itself." What Sunstein means by that sentence is pretty clear: He doesn't like so-called false rumors about his longtime University of Chicago friend and colleague, Barack Obama.

    He alludes on page 3 (and on page 13, and 14, and 45, and 54 - the book is only 87 pages) to the supposedly insidious lie that "Barack Obama pals around with terrorists." Since Sunstein intends to impose his Big Chill on such talk, I'd better get this in while I can. The "rumor," i.e., "fact," about the palsy-walsiness of Obama and unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers (Ayers referred to Obama as a "family friend" in a memoir) did not "undermine democracy," i.e., prevent Obama's election. The facts got out, voters weighed them and ruled that they weren't disqualifying.

    Sunstein calls for a "notice and take down" law that would require bloggers and service providers to "take down falsehoods upon notice," even those made by commenters - but without apparent penalty.

    Consider how well this nudge would work. You blog about Obama-Ayers. You get a letter claiming that your facts are wrong so you should remove your post. You refuse. If, after a court proceeding proves simply that you are wrong (but not that you committed libel, which when a public figure is the target is almost impossible), you lose, the penalty is . . . you must take down your post.
    How long would it take for a court to sort out the truth? Sasha and Malia will be running for president by then. Nobody will care anymore. But it will give politicians the ability to tie up their online critics in court.

    Sunstein, trying to fair, argues that libel awards should be capped at $15,000, or at least limited for anyone demonstrating financial hardship. But $15K is the limit you'd pay to your opponent. The legal bill is the scary part, and the reason bloggers already have plenty of reason to be careful about what they say, even if they don't much fear a libel conviction.

    Sunstein dreams of an impossibly virtuous America: "We could also imagine a future in which those who spread false rumors are categorized as such, discounted and marginalized . . . people would approach rumors skeptically even they provide comfort and fit their own biases." But if his chilling wind doesn't work, Sunstein may try to make good on the implicit threat that runs through his book: that he would redefine libel as the spread of false information and hold everyone up the ladder responsible.

    If this happened, the blogosphere would turn into Pluto overnight. Comments sections would slam shut. Every writer would work on a leash shorter than a shoelace.

    Sunstein is an enemy to every news organization and blogger. We should return the favor and declare war on him.

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Obama Declares Internet WAR on Bloggers

    First Posted: 07-20-09 05:48 PM | Updated: 07-21-09 02:22 AM

    Sam Stein stein@huffingtonpost.com
    .



    In a reflection of a legislative strategy that has left no stone unturned, President Barack Obama on Monday called on like-minded bloggers to help his administration keep the heat on lawmakers to pass health care reform.

    "It is important just to keep the pressure on members of Congress because what happens is there is a default position of inertia here in Washington," the president said during an invitation-only conference call. "And pushing against that, making sure that people feel that the desperation that ordinary families are feeling all across the country, every single day, when they are worrying about whether they can pay their premiums or not... People have to feel that in a visceral way. And you guys can help deliver that better than just about anybody."

    In a roughly 25-minute session with a handful of prominent progressive bloggers, the president also asked for help combating disinformation about his health care plan.

    "I know the blogs are best at debunking myths that can slip through a lot of the traditional media outlets," he said. "And that is why you are going to play such an important role in our success in the weeks to come."

    The call demonstrates just how heated the health care debate has become in recent weeks and how much ammunition the administration is willing to bring to the table. At various points in the call, the president offered a strikingly detailed synopsis of his political strategy and health care policy as a whole.

    While he refused to insist that lawmakers stay in Washington during the August recess, he declared definitively that, "the time for talk is through."

    "Now is the time for us to go ahead and act," Obama declared. "We are working as hard as we can and I have told Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi that it is critical that we have seen serious forward motion before people leave [in August]."

    Moreover, for the first time in recent memory, Obama floated the possibility that if it appears that health care reform lacks the 60 votes needed for passage, he might be open to reconciliation, which would allow for an up-or-down vote on budgetary and tax aspects of the bill.

    "Keep in mind that the way we had structured the reconciliation issue several months ago, we moved forward on the basis of the assumption that we could get a bill through the regular order and the regular process by October," Obama said. "If I think that is not possible, then we are going to look at all of our options, including reconciliation. Not because that is my preferred option but because what I think would be unacceptable for the American people is inaction."

    Perhaps sensing the ramifications that such a parliamentary maneuver could cause, the president added: "In fairness, I do think that what you are seeing right now is really serious hard work on the part of members of the Senate and those on the Finance Committee. And although I may not agree with every single decision that is made in any of the committees, I think that folks really are working overtime and I appreciate the work that they have done. And I feel confident that we could pass a bill in the absence of reconciliation."

    LISTEN TO THE CALL:

    The recruiting of blogger support comes at a particularly sensitive time for the president. While hoping to see legislation produced from Congress that carries bipartisan support, which can make its way through both chambers, the White House is cognizant that a watered-down bill could insult the progressive base. Especially at a time when the party has 60 caucusing members in the Senate. At various times during the call, not surprisingly, the president implored the participants not to let the perfect piece of health care legislation be the enemy of something fundamentally good.

    "I know that there has been a lot of focus from a lot of people on keeping the bill strong and that continues to be a key focus for me as well," he said. "But there is also a primary point that can't be lost: The status quo is unacceptable... People who would defend doing nothing are defending the indefensible."

    Along these lines, the president insisted on multiple occasions that he remained committed to a public option for insurance coverage and even threw a bit of cold water on one of the alternative proposals.

    "I'm still looking at the details of a co-op approach. I will tell you that there are some instances of co-ops being set up and just having a very difficult time getting off the ground because they don't have the scale and the resources to compete effectively," Obama said of the approach advocated by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) "What I have asked my health care team to do is to look at what evidence we have that this could provide the kind of competition that drives or helps to promote insurance reform... If I can see some evidence that that would work then I would be happy to consider it.

    Peppering the president with questions were some of the progressive community's most prominent netroots voices from Jonathan Singer of MyDD to John Amato of Crooks and Liars. As in interviews and public statements past, the president stressed that the White House had already made major steps toward achieving reform, including bringing key stakeholders in the private sector to the table. Repeating his statement on Monday criticizing the posture of some of his Republican opponents, Obama accused those who sought to delay the bill as trying to kill the prospects of reform and, by extension, his presidency.

    "I think it was telling, some of you may have seen, a Republican senator this weekend saying, we are just going to delay and delay because if we can stop Obama on this one, this is going to be his Waterloo. We will break him," he said of the remarks made by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C).

    "That was a quote. And I think it indicates the degree to which a lot of folks may sincerely think that the more time we take the better off we are going to be but I also think there are some who deliberately want to delay this process because they know the longer the special interests have to run negative ads or lobby members of congress, the more difficult it becomes to get this done."



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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Russia not the first to see Skype as a security threat

    In partnership with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's political party, a Russian business lobby group wants to enact "legal safeguards" against foreign VoIP services like Skype and ICQ. Domestic telecom revenue is, of course, a factor, but Russia may be looking to join China in spying on Skype conversations.

    VoIP services like Skype and Vonage radically changed the US communication landscape years ago and ignited a telecom race to catch up. The most powerful business lobbying group in Russia, partnering with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's political party, is hoping to avoid the same fate with "legal safeguards" for home turf competition. Lobbyists also cite national security concerns, hinting that Russia should join China by spying on conversations over Skype and similar services.

    Called the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE), the 1,000-member strong business lobby organization recently announced that it wants government restrictions on IP telephony services from foreign countries like Skype and ICQ. RUIE believes that the VoIP market is now growing faster than traditional telecoms, estimating that by 2012, 40 percent of Russia’s voice conversations will travel through Internet tubes. Unsurprisingly, the group—composed of telecom executives and other members of private and state-run businesses—wants to "protect domestic producers in [the telecom market]," reads a loose Google translation of RUIE’s official statement.

    RUIE also warns that "without control by the States, security concerns [will inevitably be triggered]." As Reuters reports, delegates at the meeting state that "it has been impossible for police to spy on VoIP conversations." Perhaps these statements are red herrings intended to shift focus towards anything but the assault on Russian telecoms’ bottom lines. But these statements touch on the issue of Skype and spying on foreign consumers—after all, the company has done it before.

    A server misconfiguration in October 2008 allowed researchers to discover that Skype was providing China with text communication logs.

    Created in a partnership between Skype and TOM Online, Skype's partner in China, the logs revealed typical things like the monitoring of "sensitive" topics, but also that specific users were targeted for further monitoring. "Millions" of records found on publicly (and briefly) accessible servers contained IP addresses, usernames, and landline phone numbers, as well as details of users outside of China who communicated with TOM/Skype users in China.

    According to researchers, many of the leaked logs contained none of the typical hot-button topics like Taiwan independence or opposition to the Communist Party of China. Apparently, if you ever talked about flagged topics in China or with one of its residents, you qualify for TOM/Skype's list of folks to spy on.

    At the time, an eBay representative would only talk about the security breach that led to the leaked logs, stating that swift, ironic action will be taken to protect the privacy of these spy logs. When Ars asked about the RUIE's implications of working with Russia to spy on its citizens, a Skype representative would only say, "Where technically possible, we work with law enforcement."

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    August 28, 2009 12:34 AM PDT
    Bill would give president emergency control of Internet

    by Declan McCullagh Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.
    They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.



    The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.
    "I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness," said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. "It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill."

    Representatives of other large Internet and telecommunications companies expressed concerns about the bill in a teleconference with Rockefeller's aides this week, but were not immediately available for interviews on Thursday.

    A spokesman for Rockefeller also declined to comment on the record Thursday, saying that many people were unavailable because of the summer recess. A Senate source familiar with the bill compared the president's power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. The source said that one primary concern was the electrical grid, and what would happen if it were attacked from a broadband connection.
    When Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed

    The Rockefeller proposal plays out against a broader concern in Washington, D.C., about the government's role in cybersecurity. In May, President Obama acknowledged that the government is "not as prepared" as it should be to respond to disruptions and announced that a new cybersecurity coordinator position would be created inside the White House staff. Three months later, that post remains empty, one top cybersecurity aide has quit, and some wags have begun to wonder why a government that receives failing marks on cybersecurity should be trusted to instruct the private sector what to do.

    Rockefeller's revised legislation seeks to reshuffle the way the federal government addresses the topic. It requires a "cybersecurity workforce plan" from every federal agency, a "dashboard" pilot project, measurements of hiring effectiveness, and the implementation of a "comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy" in six months--even though its mandatory legal review will take a year to complete.

    The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. "As soon as you're saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it's going to be a really big issue," he says.
    Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to "direct the national response to the cyber threat" if necessary for "the national defense and security." The White House is supposed to engage in "periodic mapping" of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies "shall share" requested information with the federal government. ("Cyber" is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

    "The language has changed but it doesn't contain any real additional limits," EFF's Tien says. "It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)...The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There's no provision for any administrative process or review. That's where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it."

    Translation: If your company is deemed "critical," a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

    The Internet Security Alliance's Clinton adds that his group is "supportive of increased federal involvement to enhance cyber security, but we believe that the wrong approach, as embodied in this bill as introduced, will be counterproductive both from an national economic and national secuity perspective."
    it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. "We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs--from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records," Rockefeller said.

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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Ladies and gentlemen...

    Start YELLING about this. Put it everywhere on the internet, tell your friends. Tell people with cell phones. Tell people who TEXT messages, twitter it, Facebook it, and any other place.

    Why is this important? Shut down the internet - you shut down our ability to fight back against this sort of thing.

    The President has NO RIGHT to control speech. NONE. At ALL.

    His only authority is in protecting military/defense based infrastructure and the protection of the nations infrastructure - but not by SHUTTING IT DOWN at his whim!
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    If the founding Documents prevent you from controlling it, hand it off to your socialist friends in the international community to manage for you.


    Ceding the Internet to “Global Governance”



    Last month, President Obama proudly announced at the United Nations the steps taken under his administration to “embrace a new era of engagement” in international affairs by correcting the actions of past administration that might lead people to “question the character and cause” of America including supporting the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, addressing global warming through the U.N., joining the Human Rights Council, signing the Disabilities Convention, supporting the Millennium Development Goals, and paying America’s arrears to the United Nations without asking the organization to implement reforms to prevent those payments from being misused.

    Well, we can add another dubious decision to the list of sacrifices the Obama Administration has made to alter of international engagement. Today it was announced that the Obama Administration had agreed to cede much U.S. control over the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that regulates and manages the Domain Name System under which Internet Protocol addresses and registration of top-level domains like .org and .com are assigned. According to a story in the Guardian:
    The deal, part of a contract negotiated with the US department of commerce, effectively pushes California-based Icann towards a new status as an international body with greater representation from companies and governments around the globe.

    Icann had previously been operating under the auspices of the American government, which had control of the net thanks to its initial role in developing the underlying technologies used for connecting computers together.

    But the fresh focus will give other countries a more prominent role in determining what takes place online, and even the way in which it happens – opening the door for a virtual United Nations, where many officials gather to discuss potential changes to the internet.
    Under the previous arrangement, the U.S. government retained veto power over ICANN’s decisions. Although the U.S. government was very hands-off with managing ICANN, the relationship helped insulate the Internet from political influence of states threatened or frustrated by the freedom of that medium. As discussed in a 2005 Heritage WebMemo, the United Nations has sought for some time to acquire authority over ICANN at the behest of a number of countries who wish to tax or regulate it. As noted in the paper:
    For decades, the Internet has developed with a minimum of government interference. The core governance of the medium has been performed by non-governmental entities and overseen by the U.S. government, which has exercised a light regulatory touch. It is no coincidence that the medium has prospered from this benign neglect, growing from a research curiosity into a major force in the world economy and an invaluable venue for the exchange of information….

    The result of a UN-controlled and regulated Internet would be that non-democratic countries that oppose the right to free speech such as China and grasping, anti-market impulses like those of the European Union would have a greater voice in guiding the Internet in a direction away from “freedom, education, and innovation.” If the Internet cannot be a government-free zone, it should be governed in a manner that minimizes restrictions rather than imposing international standards that restrict Internet freedom. Given the stakes, the U.S. must stand firm and reject efforts to internationalize governance of the Internet.
    Quite simply, the decision of the Obama administration increases the vulnerability of the Internet to political pressure, censorship, and strangling regulation and taxation. Welcome to “responsibility and leadership in the 21st century” under the Obama Administration.

    Since its establishment in 1998, ICANN has operated under a formal contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce, which stipulated the duties and limits that the U.S. government expected ICANN to respect. The Commerce Department did not provide much active oversight, although the need to renew this contract, called the Joint Project Agreement (JPA), helped keep ICANN policies within reasonable bounds.

    That's why last spring, when the Commerce Department asked for comment on ending the JPA, the U.S. business community opposed the idea.

    But the U.S. government's role in ICANN has long been a source of complaint from foreign nations. United Nations conferences have repeatedly voiced concerns about "domination of the Internet by one power" and suggested that management of the system should be handed off to the International Telecommunications Union—a U.N. agency dominated by developing countries. The European Union has urged a different scheme in which a G-12 of advanced countries would manage the Internet.

    The Obama administration has declined to endorse such alternatives.

    Instead it has replaced the latest JPA, which expired Sept. 30, with a vaguely worded "Affirmation of Commitments." In it, ICANN promises to be a good manager of the Internet, and the Commerce Department promises—well, not much of anything. The U.S. will participate in a Governmental Advisory Committee along with some three dozen other nations but claims no greater authority than any other country on the committee, whose recommendations are not binding on ICANN in any case.

    An ICANN cut loose from U.S. government oversight will not, for that reason, be free from political pressures. One source of pressure will come from disputes about expanding top-level domain names. For example, would a ".xxx" domain help to isolate pornographic sites in a unique (and blockable) special area, or would it encourage censorship in other domains by suggesting that offensive images only appear there?

    Should we have ".food" or ".toys" along with ".com" domains? If we do, as the Justice Department warned last year in a letter to Commerce, companies that have invested huge sums to protect their trademarks under ".com" will have to fight for protection of their names in the new domains. Yet strangely, there is not a word in the new plan about protecting trademark rights or other intellectual property interests that might be threatened by new ICANN policies.

    Even more disturbing is the prospect that foreign countries will pressure ICANN to impose Internet controls that facilitate their own censorship schemes. Countries like China and Iran already block Web sites they regard as politically objectionable. Islamic nations insist that the proper understanding of international human-rights treaties requires suppression of "Islamophobic" content on the Internet. Will ICANN be better situated to resist such pressures now that it no longer has a formal contract with the U.S. government?

    It may be that the Obama administration expects to exert a steadying hand on ICANN in indirect or covert ways. Or here too it may have calculated that winning applause from other nations now is worth taking serious risks in the long run.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The U.S. Abandons the Internet

    Multilateral governance of the domain name system risks censorship and repression.





    By JEREMY RABKIN AND JEFFREY EISENACH

    There's a lot of concern out there right now about America's world leadership—facing down Iran's nuclear program, bracing NATO's commitment in Afghanistan, maintaining free trade. Here's something else to worry about: Has the Obama administration just given up U.S. responsibility for protecting the Internet?

    What makes it possible for users to connect with all the different Web sites on the Internet is the system that allocates a unique electronic address to each site. The addresses are organized within larger entities called top-level domains—".com," ".edu," ".gov" and so on. Overseeing this arrangement is a relatively obscure entity, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Without the effective oversight of ICANN, the Internet as we know it would not exist, billions of dollars of online commerce and intellectual property would be at risk, and various forms of mass censorship could become the norm.

    Since its establishment in 1998, ICANN has operated under a formal contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce, which stipulated the duties and limits that the U.S. government expected ICANN to respect. The Commerce Department did not provide much active oversight, although the need to renew this contract, called the Joint Project Agreement (JPA), helped keep ICANN policies within reasonable bounds.

    That's why last spring, when the Commerce Department asked for comment on ending the JPA, the U.S. business community opposed the idea.

    But the U.S. government's role in ICANN has long been a source of complaint from foreign nations. United Nations conferences have repeatedly voiced concerns about "domination of the Internet by one power" and suggested that management of the system should be handed off to the International Telecommunications Union—a U.N. agency dominated by developing countries. The European Union has urged a different scheme in which a G-12 of advanced countries would manage the Internet.

    The Obama administration has declined to endorse such alternatives. Instead it has replaced the latest JPA, which expired Sept. 30, with a vaguely worded "Affirmation of Commitments." In it, ICANN promises to be a good manager of the Internet, and the Commerce Department promises—well, not much of anything. The U.S. will participate in a Governmental Advisory Committee along with some three dozen other nations but claims no greater authority than any other country on the committee, whose recommendations are not binding on ICANN in any case.

    An ICANN cut loose from U.S. government oversight will not, for that reason, be free from political pressures. One source of pressure will come from disputes about expanding top-level domain names. For example, would a ".xxx" domain help to isolate pornographic sites in a unique (and blockable) special area, or would it encourage censorship in other domains by suggesting that offensive images only appear there?

    Should we have ".food" or ".toys" along with ".com" domains? If we do, as the Justice Department warned last year in a letter to Commerce, companies that have invested huge sums to protect their trademarks under ".com" will have to fight for protection of their names in the new domains. Yet strangely, there is not a word in the new plan about protecting trademark rights or other intellectual property interests that might be threatened by new ICANN policies.

    Even more disturbing is the prospect that foreign countries will pressure ICANN to impose Internet controls that facilitate their own censorship schemes. Countries like China and Iran already block Web sites they regard as politically objectionable. Islamic nations insist that the proper understanding of international human-rights treaties requires suppression of "Islamophobic" content on the Internet. Will ICANN be better situated to resist such pressures now that it no longer has a formal contract with the U.S. government?

    It may be that the Obama administration expects to exert a steadying hand on ICANN in indirect or covert ways. Or here too it may have calculated that winning applause from other nations now is worth taking serious risks in the long run.

    Mr. Rabkin is professor of law at George Mason University. Mr. Eisenach is an adjunct law professor at George Mason and chairman of Empiris LLC, which does consulting work for Verisign, an Internet registry.


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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    Default Re: Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

    Obama to control blogging, beginning Dec 1st.

    FTC to Regulate Blogging

    Monday, October 05, 2009

    • The Federal Trade Commission will try to regulate blogging for the first time, requiring writers on the Web to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.

    The FTC said Monday its commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the final Web guidelines, which had been expected. Violating the rules, which take effect Dec. 1, could bring fines up to $11,000 per violation. Bloggers or advertisers also could face injunctions and be ordered to reimburse consumers for financial losses stemming from inappropriate product reviews.

    The commission stopped short of specifying how bloggers must disclose conflicts of interest. Rich Cleland, assistant director of the FTC's advertising practices division, said the disclosure must be "clear and conspicuous," no matter what form it will take.

    Bloggers have long praised or panned products and services online. But what some consumers might not know is that many companies pay reviewers for their write-ups or give them free products such as toys or computers or trips to Disneyland. In contrast, at traditional journalism outlets, products borrowed for reviews generally have to be returned.

    Before the FTC gave notice last November it was going to regulate such endorsements, blogs varied in the level of disclosures about these potential conflicts of interest.

    The FTC's proposal made many bloggers anxious. They said the scrutiny would make them nervous about posting even innocent comments.

    To placate such fears, Cleland said the FTC will more likely go after an advertiser instead of a blogger for violations. The exception would be a blogger who runs a "substantial" operation that violates FTC rules and already received a warning, he said.

    Existing FTC rules already banned deceptive and unfair business practices. The final guidelines aim to clarify the law for the vast world of blogging. Not since 1980 had the commission revised its guidelines on endorsements and testimonials.

    Cleland said a blogger who receives a freebie without the advertiser knowing would not violate FTC guidelines. For example, someone who gets a free bag of dog food as part of a promotion from a pet shop wouldn't violate FTC guidelines if he writes about the product on his blog.

    Blogger Linsey Krolik said she's always disclosed any freebies she's received on products she writes about, but has stepped up her efforts since last fall. She said she adds a notice at the end of a post, "very clear in italics or bold or something — this is the deal. It's not kind of buried.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    ."
    We’ll so weaken your
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    until you’ll
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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