Legislators in Washington are at it again, working tirelessly to ruin a perfectly good Internet.
Maybe it would be different if they consulted with leaders in technological advancements to find out the implications of an idea. Or maybe they could ask what technology might break because of a bill. But that’s not how it works.
I imagine the Congressional discussions of Internet manipulation to be like a group of senior citizens sipping coffee at McDonald’s at 5:00 a.m. and fussing about those “dagburned Internet machines” taking over life as they once knew it.
Surely it can’t be that way, but when you read the legislation, you have to wonder.
SOPA and PIPA threatened to do all sorts of bad things to the Internet. There was a whole list of problems with that legislation, and though massive Internet protests managed to derail the bills, it’s worth noting that if not for those protests, SOPA and PIPA would have been passed with much bipartisan support.
Then CISPA came along, and while it wasn’t a brutal pillaging of core Internet technologies like SOPA and PIPA, it would have opened the door for some serious privacy issues. With full cooperation from the Heritage Foundation (which was an outright betrayal of the American public), House Republicans managed to pass CISPA and send it to the Senate, where it fortunately hasn’t gone anywhere – yet.
Now there’s a stirring in the Senate to pass a CISPA-like bill called Secure IT. I’ve been told it has been revamped to get those pesky civil liberties people to shut up and go away, but I remain a skeptic. First, the new legislation is favored by the White House. Obama opposed the House’s version of CISPA because it didn’t overreach enough. He won’t fall in love with Secure IT simply because John McCain says it’s ok now.
Other than the fact that the White House supports this bill is the fact that two specific red flag Republicans – John McCain and Saxby Chambliss – are in on it. I’ve been fighting Saxby’s insanity as a constituent of his for a while, and I’ve learned that anything Chambliss gets excited about should throw up a red flag in the minds of anyone who cares anything at all about freedom.
The House version of CISPA has also received some criticism lately here in Georgia as Congressman Phil Gingrey has been accused of giving government the power to spy on Americans because of his vote in favor of CISPA. The accuser is challenger Michael Opitz, and though he has some valid points on CISPA, he overstates and exaggerates them (which, I’m told, is par for the course with Opitz). Nevertheless, Gingrey is no advocate for freedom.
This battle over the Internet has just begun. The Internet is not taxed, regulated, or monitored nearly enough to satisfy lawmakers in Washington. Though their bills will have nice names and will sound like they do good things, make no mistake: legislation that involves regulating and monitoring the Internet for the alleged purpose of safety is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs – especially if it gets bipartisan support.