Do You Trust Congress With Your Cell Phone And The Internet?

You Can't Delegate Vigilance ...

You Can’t Delegate Vigilance …

Two highly political technology stories merit  a lot more attention than the once watchdog and now lapdog media are providing. These have to do with cellphones and the Internet.

Re the cellphones, industry lobbyists are pressing Congresfolk, who need pressing on this about like bears need pressing to look for honey, to mandate that cell phones include a “kill switch.” That will equip the phone carriers to shut off any phone it desires to close down. The phone companies love the idea for collecting past due bills; our Congressfolk love it for the ability to shut off communications of selected folk at will. Your cell during a police raid on your home, for example or a bunch of phones in a city where anti-government demonstrations are planned.

This “kill-switch” bill is presently in Congress with little opposition. If you don’t mind your government shutting down phone service for its convenience, you needn’t care. If on the other hand, this bothers you, you may wish to let your elected representatives know. Once your phone service exists only at government whim, you’ll never regain control.

The Internet is the opposite case: Instead of grabbing control, the government is giving up its control of ICANN, the primary Internet administrator. There are two reasons for this: The stated reason is the years of foreign discontent with the American control of the net; the other is the governments’ frustration with its inability to parlay its administrative control into the abilities to shut down the net or portions of iit and to control its contents. Every time it has attempted those, the public has risen up and prevented it.

So the government seems to believe that, by handing off to an “international group” Americans will no longer have a veto but the U.S. will retain influence to gain its ends. You’ll note that in China, Russia, Iran and other places, the government decides what happens on heir internet. Our government is palpably jealous and doing something about it. As with the cell phones, we may watch this occur or rise up to stop it. The results either way, will be ours to live with for a long time.

As said way back, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, or something to that. It was and remains, true.

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
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