U.N. to Seek Control of the Internet

Next week the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union will meet in Dubai to figure out how to control the Internet. Representatives from 193 nations will attend the nearly two week long meeting, according to news reports.

“Next week the ITU holds a negotiating conference in Dubai, and past months have brought many leaks of proposals for a new treaty. U.S. congressional resolutions and much of the commentary, including in this column, have focused on proposals by authoritarian governments to censor the Internet. Just as objectionable are proposals that ignore how the Internet works, threatening its smooth and open operations,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Having the Internet rewired by bureaucrats would be like handing a Stradivarius to a gorilla. The Internet is made up of 40,000 networks that interconnect among 425,000 global routes, cheaply and efficiently delivering messages and other digital content among more than two billion people around the world, with some 500,000 new users a day. …

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U.N. plotting takeover of Internet

The United Nations is about to discuss whether it should have the power to regulate the Internet.

Next month, the 12th World Conference on International Telecommunications, or WCIT-12, will be held in Dubai. At the meeting, the 193 member countries of the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union, or ITU, will consider renegotiating a fairly obscure treaty known as the International Telecommunication Regulations, or ITRs.

The 24-year-old agreement delineates much of the ITU’s rule-making authority over telecommunications.

The hope of several countries is that they can expand the ITU’s jurisdiction to the Internet, replacing the current governing system with one that is controlled by a U.N. bureaucracy.

The member nations will also consider an “Internet tax” designed to collect money from more affluent nations and redistribute it to poorer nations to improve their Internet infrastructure. ITRs do not currently include regulation of the Internet within their jurisdiction, since they have not been revised since the beginning of the Internet communications era.

In testimony given last May at a hearing of a U.S. House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee, Republicans and Democrats were united in their opposition to any move by Russia and China to transfer control of the Internet to the U.N.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, said, “Nations from across the globe will meet at a United Nations forum in Dubai at the end of this year, and if we’re not vigilant, just might break the Internet by subjecting it to an international regulatory regime designed for old-fashioned telephone service.”

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Power Fail: White House Directs Storm Victims To … The Internet

The people in need of the most help today after the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, are those living in a number of states along the East Coast that have lost power. And yet, at least according to Politico, while these people had the electricity necessary to get the information needed, neither the White House nor FEMA gave anyone instructions on where to turn for help or where to go for information in the event of a power outage:

When President Barack Obama urged Americans under siege from Hurricane Sandy to stay inside and keep watch on ready.gov for the latest, he left out something pretty important — where to turn if the electricity goes out.

Despite the heightened expectation of widespread power and cable television failures, everyone from the president to local newscasters seem to expect the public to rely entirely on the Internet and their TVs for vital news and instructions.

Everyone with an IQ above room temperature knew that one of the most crippling effects of Sandy would most certainly be widespread power and cable television outages — and yet, no one in charge at the White House even considered offering up information that included emergency telephone numbers or radio stations:

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New Gov’t Anti-Terror Initiative: Online Trolling

A member of the U.S. State Department has begun a new anti-terror initiative that is unlike others taken on by the U.S. government. It’s name: “Viral Peace.”

What’s the plan? Wired explains that instead of engaging in traditional warfare, this initiative is going to try to “annoy, frustrate and humiliate denizens of online extremist forums.”

Wired reports the program has already begun and was launched by Shahed Amanullah, a senior technology advisor with the State Department. In an interview with Wired, Amanullah said the goal is to use “logic, humor, satire, [and] religious arguments, not just to confront [extremists], but to undermine and demoralize them.”

Jarret Brachman, who studies online jihadism, thinks the tactic could work as those on the forums are often used by “massive narcissists [who] need constant ego boosts.” If you can get rid of the ”momentum, the anger and the virulence“ on such forums by balancing it with counterterror ”trolling,” some of the most verbose participants could dwindle off.

Viral Peace is still in its fledgling stages though — it doesn’t even have an official strategic plan yet. There’s also the fact that many of these contrary posts on forums could be taken down by administrators, as Will McCants, formerly with the State Department and now with the CNA think tank, told Wired.

McCants said the strategy could work if it targeted forums where terrorists were trying to recruit members.

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The FBI Could Cut Your Internet Access in Four Days

For months now, the FBI has been warning people that a blackout of their access to the Internet could be coming. The warnings about the Internet problem have been splashed across Facebook and Google, and Internet service providers have sent notices as well.

But tens of thousands of Americans may still lose their Internet service Monday unless they do a quick check of their computers for malware that could have taken over their machines more than a year ago.

The Blaze has covered the story a couple times, first stating the FBI would shut off Internet access to computers still infected as of March and later reported the extension the clean-up period until July 9.

Despite repeated alerts, the number of computers that probably are infected is more than 277,000 worldwide, down from about 360,000 in April. Of those still infected, the FBI believes that about 64,000 are in the United States.

Users whose computers are still infected Monday will lose their ability to go online, and they will have to call their service providers for help deleting the malware and reconnecting to the Internet.

To check whether a computer is infected, users can visit a website run by the group brought in by the FBI: http://www.dcwg.org. This link also provides resources for how to “disinfect” your computer should the malware be found on it. As the Blaze has reported before, the FBI has said fixing the problem will be much harder once your access to the Internet is cut off.

Read more here.

God bless America’s warriors

Freedom isn’t free. Never has been, never will be. Very special warriors have provided freedom at supreme sacrifice since time immemorial. Good people will never forget, and we celebrate Memorial Day with a hard-charging spirit in appreciation for hard-charging warriors.

With his lifeblood pouring out of him from a mortal RPG wound to center mass, Pvt. 1st Class Todd Balding from Texas was, on the surface, but a bundle of red gauze and bandages, a jumble of tubes and numerous electronic apparatus beeping away. He was surrounded by a dedicated team of U.S. military medical experts at the Landstuhl hospital in Germany doing everything in their power to save the young American’s life.

Toby Keith and I literally stood in the young hero’s blood and said a very solemn prayer. Moments later, Pvt. 1st Class Todd Balding died. He was 21 years-old. He died fighting for freedom. That was one of many defining moments that struck me deep inside during my USO tour in 2004, and a defining moment in my life.

Toby and I were humbled beyond words to be allowed to join a presentation guard of warriors on the tarmac of the Iraq air base as we saluted a procession of flag-draped coffins being loaded onto a massive C-130 aircraft. Like our tears, the coffins just kept coming – and coming and coming and coming.

When I received the call, I immediately sent out an all-points bulletin to my management, staff and family to clear my schedule of all events. Within an hour, I had arranged a private plane, guitars and various electronic sound equipment. I had been requested to perform the national anthem and my song “Fred Bear” by Navy SEAL hero Chris Campbell in his will. How could I not honor his request. Regrettably, Chris Campbell’s dying request was thwarted by a politically correct bureaucrat, we believe by his commander in chief. On the night of his public memorial, all alone, I played the songs anyway in his honor in my home.

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UN to Regulate the Internet?

The Hill is reporting that the United States House of Representatives is due to consider an international proposal that would give the United Nations more control over the Internet sometime next week.

Backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other members of the international body, the proposal is drawing fire on both sides of the aisle in Congress, as members of the Obama administration even move to criticize it.

“We’re quite concerned,” said Larry Strickling, the head of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

He described the measure as “top-down regulation where it’s really the governments that are at the table, but the rest of the stakeholders aren’t.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also pointed out that China and Russia “aren’t exactly bastions of Internet freedom,” and just because they support a measure, that’s not exactly a reason to follow suit.

Pledging to guard the issue, Rubio elaborated: “Any place that bans certain terms from search should not be a leader in international Internet regulatory frameworks.”

Read more here.

Government Surveillance Crackdown On Internet Goes Into Overdrive

In a New York Times editorial, former government cybersecurity czar Richard A. Clarke has called for the creation of customs checks on all data leaving and entering US cyberspace.

Clarke makes the call in relation to Chinese hackers stealing information and intellectual property from US firms.

“If given the proper authorization, the United States government could stop files in the process of being stolen from getting to the Chinese hackers.” Clarke writes.

“If government agencies were authorized to create a major program to grab stolen data leaving the country, they could drastically reduce today’s wholesale theft of American corporate secrets.”

While Clarke may well be coming at this subject well intentioned, the fact that government has a long history of attempting to crackdown on internet freedom and control the web will mean his words are a cause of concern for many.

“Under Customs authority, the Department of Homeland Security could inspect what enters and exits the United States in cyberspace…” Clarke continues.

“And under the Intelligence Act, the president could issue a finding that would authorize agencies to scan Internet traffic outside the United States and seize sensitive files stolen from within our borders.”

We have seen with the recent attempts to pass legislation such as SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA, that the federal government is hell bent on skirting around legal oversight in order to seize more control over web content and communications.

While those particular bills have more of a focus on copyright protection, there is a huge move afoot to use the issue of cybersecurity as a means to crack down on the free internet.

The Obama administration is going all out to muster support in Congress for a bipartisan cybersecurity bill co-sponsored by Republican Senator Susan Collins and Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman and Democratic Senators Jay Rockefeller and Dianne Feinstein.

Critics contend that the bill contains several provisions that represent a sweeping power grab on behalf of the federal government.

A measure recently added to the bill by Collins and Lieberman, and supported by Obama, would empower the Department of Homeland Security to conduct “risk assessments” of private companies in sectors deemed critical to U.S. national and economic security, forcing them to comply with expensive mandates to secure their systems.

ISPs AT&T and Comcast have denounced the provision, declaring that federal oversight will stifle innovation.

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Anti-Troll or Censorship?

An Arizona bill has passed in state legislature to make online bullying and some other speech an illegal and punishable offense, but it has opponents saying if made into law it would set a precedent that would lead to online censorship.

Arizona House Bill 2549 states:

“It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use a any electronic or digital device and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.”

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Santorum attacks Google for playing politics with ‘horrific fifth’ searches

As most are aware by now, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has a Google problem with his last name, since it has another definition that rates higher in Google searches than his name itself. But according to Santorum, that’s not by accident.

On Friday night’s “Hannity,” Santorum doubled-down on the Republican sentiment of the day, arguing that the media has a bias and has played favorites, especially as it pertains to criticizing President Barack Obama.

“It’s fundamentally unfair, but you know it,” Santorum said. “These folks are despicable in what they will do to promote their agenda. They are all in the tank and they have been in the tank for the left, whether it’s Barack Obama or any other candidate. I’ve been dealing with this issue, as Newt and other conservatives have for every year I have ever been in public life. And we’ve been sabotaged in every possible way.”

Santorum mentioned his Google problem, but said there seems to be that same double standard because of the search engine’s willingness to protect Obama.

“You know, go on the Internet and look at the filth, the dispute out there. Look at organizations like Google. I mean Google, who has repeatedly on more than one occasion taken down sites, taken down searches for folks like Barack Obama and Michelle Obama but has left it out there for me for 10 years so people can be exposed to the most horrific filth that you ever want to see but it’s okay if you are a conservative.”

And that Santorum said is the result of a political agenda from Google.

Read more here.