Your Federal ‘Servants’ Are Grabbing For The Internet Again

Obama ReachPerhaps the greatest changes in the history of human government are flowing from invisibly small electrons. The impact of the cell phone and the internet has frightened the liver out of governments worldwide. The ones that is, that have not yet been knocked over through the impacts of those two bits of tech.

In China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other like-minded control freaks, the reaction has been government control and censorship. In more freedom-loving places like the U.S. and Europe, the reaction has been as much control and censorship as the various governments have imagined that they could pull off, a difference of degree, not of kind. Governments of all stripes prefer their citizens less than fully informed and organized.

In the United States, the government committed early to an open and free Internet and its Constitution protected citizens from excessive surveillance by requiring a court-approved warrant to authorize tapping someone’s telephone. It is not obvious today, but that is still supposed to be the law. Theoretically, anyway. Yet somehow we have the NSA listening in on everybody plus we suppose, any nearby aliens in space. (Thank you, Mr. Snowden!)

The same government that was so opposed to phone taps is still a stanch defender of a free Internet. So, why is the FCC pushing to regulate it, under powers granted decades back to regulate telephone companies? And why is the FEC pushing to regulate conservative news sources on that Internet? Well, we suppose it’s for the same reasons that the IRS was (and likely still is) auditing conservative non-profits.

It is ironic and kind of fun at times like this, to recall that the Federal Civil Service was imposed as a cure for the overly-partisan government functions provided under the preceding ‘spoils system. The fun is a result of the fact that the Civil Service was seen as a triumph of the political Progressives, whose descendants run the government now. Time passes; things change, we guess.

Anyway, cell phones organize folk independently of government; that is seen as a threat to said government. And with the Internet, they spread the word much faster than ever before, making it nearly impossible for government machinations to persist very long unrevealed. These constraints sharply limit what government can get away with, similarly as with the existence of influential churches. So no government will tolerate any of the above any further than it has to. The California Senate just passed a bill requiring a “kill switch” in all cell phones, so that government can order any or all such phones turned off at will, making it harder for folks to organize unwanted demonstrations, though the claim is to deter theft.

Those readers interested in such things best pay attention; the fewer noticing, the more likely such efforts will be pushed to conclusion. And in Washington as you may be noticing with Obamacare, power-enhancing programs are seldom repealed, even when those previously opposed come into power.

The FEC and FCC may win their new powers this time or not, but the government’s effort to grab control of American communications will never end until it succeeds. It’s the same principle that led to the popularity among America’s Founders of the reminder that: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Perhaps it’s time if not past time, to keep a better watch?

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 ...
This entry was posted in Big Brother, Government, Internet, Liberty and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Your Federal ‘Servants’ Are Grabbing For The Internet Again

  1. Rawclyde! says:

    Yes ~ I do wonder if my blocked access to the wordpress forum is a technical glitch or brought about by the NSA because I’m covering the Afghanistan War. Then I wonder further, well, the NSA’s job is to protect the American citizen. So is the NSA protecting me from getting under the skin of the enemy (Islamic extremist training for suicide bomber Pakistan headquarters) and thus getting targeted? Or is the NSA protecting the enemy which is also our Pakistan ally from being revealed to the American public by me? Or are they attempting to stop me from botching the war effort with what I do not know? At any rate, my readers are few. And Afghanistan seems to be under-reported in the United States ~ except on my blog which, incidentally, is still uncensored and free in more ways than one… Thank you.

  2. Jack Curtis says:

    Well, your comments are welcome here, whether or not you agree with us. As for the NSA, we expect that its job is to protect those politicians who run the government. And we too see Afghanistan underreported. Too uch coverage lets too many important folk look bad, perhaps.

    • Rawclyde! says:

      I think the under-reporting might have something to do with a very dubious relationship with Pakistan. And Saudi Arabia. And Iran. And India. And…

      J.C., you express lots of valid political logic on this blog, and I’m real glad I’m welcome here to tighten a nut and bolt here and there and occasionally accidentally drop my monkey wrench…

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