The Masters of the Universe and Lords of Global Governance got together in Paris recently for a so-called e-G8 summit, hoping to advance plans for creating global Internet "rules." We mere mundanes, you see, just have way too much freedom.
The world's most powerful Internet and media barons gathered in Paris on Tuesday in a show of strength to leaders at the G8 summit, amid rows over online copyright, regulation and human rights.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy kicked off the gathering in Paris, hailing the assembled players as the leaders of the "Internet revolution", but warning that with their power comes great responsibility.
He hailed the role of the Internet in helping protestors organise recent Arab uprisings such as the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, but insisted it must be underpinned by "values" and "rules."
And, while acknowledging the net's power as a force for freedom elsewhere, western countries differ on how to harness or curb it on their own doorsteps.
That's right. Western Rulers are looking to "curb" the Internet's "power as a force for freedom ... on their own doorsteps."
What are they afraid of? Simple.
First of all, the Internet has made it increasingly difficult for governments to control the flow of information. Second, the Old Media corporatist donors who run the state organs are losing market share.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged Internet leaders gathered in Paris on Tuesday to work with governments and share fairly the benefits of a revolution he compared to the discoveries of Columbus, Galileo and Newton.
Sarkozy, widely mistrusted in the online world ... maintained governments have a role in setting ground rules to limit the abuses and excesses of the Internet, citing in particular privacy and intellectual property, as well as voicing a concern over monopolies forming online.
The debates at the forum, whose conclusions ... pit passionate advocates of two opposing views of the Internet against each other.
One, espoused by Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Twitter as well as many academics, favors a hands-off approach to allow innovation and freedom of information.
The other, embraced by many established media companies, privacy advocates and governments in Europe, favors more regulation to cope with the broad changes to business and society brought on by the web.
News Corp, whose Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is among the speakers at the forum, has led a movement to stem the flood of free information online by charging readers and viewers for content on the Web.
John Perry Barlow, a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which campaigns for Internet civil rights, said: "It's about the revenge of the mass media."
Of course this is about revenge. Well, revenge and power.
Let's take a look at how "rules" and regulations play out in the real world.
The White House has named Jesse Lee to a new position within its communications department titled Director of Progressive Media & Online Response. According to The Huffington Post, Lee will essentially be responsible for building up Obama’s online presence as he prepares for his reelection bid, and squashing any negative stories ...
If you’re going to post something online about Obama that isn’t true, Lee is going to be the one to handle you. Considering that Lee’s first tweet about his new position included a picture of The Terminator, we suggest you watch what you say OR BE DESTROYED.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on the administration's legislative proposal, announced two weeks ago, that would rely on a pre-World War II radio emergency law to provide the president with authority to protect key computer and communication networks — like those mainly in private hands that run power grids, phone systems and banking services — from a cyber-attack.
At issue is one of the more controversial elements of any new cybersecurity law — what powers the president should have over the Internet in the event of a catastrophic attack on vital U.S. assets.
"Clearly, if something significant were to happen, the American people would expect us to be able to respond and respond appropriately," said Phillip Reitinger, Homeland Security undersecretary for infrastructure protection, during the hearing.
"Different people have different views about how the government ought to be empowered and what the constraints on the government exercise of authorities ought to be," responded Mr. Reitinger, adding he hoped "there would be further discussions" with Congress "to figure out the right set of mechanisms, if any, that were necessary to move forward."
It appears that Internet control will soon be added to the ever-expanding list of Executive Branch powers. Great.
We're slipping down that slippery slope.
The sites seized are:
DHS's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency began seizing the domains last year in a program known as "Operation in Our Sites."
Hey, at least we get to "elect" our own dictator.