Peer-to-Peer Blog: Internet On, Internet Off

David ByrdMost of my blogs avoid politics because I want the focus to be on learning about IP communications and gaining a selling advantage. Today is a little different in that I am very much opposed to legislation sponsored by two usually milquetoast politicians, Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). The Lieberman-Collins bill, Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act” would allow the Department of Homeland Security to establish and maintain a list of servers, systems or assets that constitute critical infrastructure of the Internet. The government is enabled to make the designation without congressional or judicial review. The servers, systems or assets designated as critical can be then placed under government control through presidential action. Moreover, this idea did not originated with Lieberman and Collins; similar, more restrictive legislation was proposed by Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in 2009. What is both odd and dangerous about this legislation is the intent is to protect us from a cyber threat.

Lieberman states, For all of its user-friendly allure, the Internet can also be a dangerous place with electronic pipelines that run directly into everything from our personal bank accounts to key infrastructure to government and industrial secrets.” I agree and because of that I have no interest in giving the executive branch sole discretion to determine when it should take control of information regarding our bank accounts or industrial secrets.

Last year I noted that Iran attempted to disrupt the protests against the government by shutting down the Internet and degrading wireless services. Internet access was indeed cut off but thanks to the governments need to communicate remotely, wireless access was maintained. The worlds best information and pictures were then received from wireless phones and sent to countries with Internet access to distribute information about the protests. Today, Egypt faces a similar crisis. With growing protests against the government, they, too, have begun to shut down access to the Internet and impede wireless communications. It is what governments do when under attack.

While I do not own a handgun, I find great value in the Second Amendment. It was not created for personal protection as many attempt to purport. Rather the intent was to enable an armed citizenry the ability to fight armed government forces. Over the centuries monarchies and dictatorships have always disarmed the people to strengthen their abilities at enforcing corrupt laws and collecting unfair taxes. This countrys constitution recognizes the need to enable its citizens to fight back if necessary. Given the sophistication of our current military, a handgun for protection is a joke. I would rather authorize machine guns, bazookas, small tanks and body armor.

The Internet is the machine gun every government fears. It should be protected by both the First Amendment, assuring freedom of the press and free speech, and the Second Amendment. If there is a real threat to the U.S. which requires a presidential declaration of a national cyber emergency, then there should be no fear of review by one or more of the other executive branches, currently not in the bill.

Why are these people so intent on having the ability to control the most fluid an open manner of communications the world has ever known?

Simple, they know the truth, The pen is mightier than the sword.”

See you on Monday.

David Byrd is vice president of marketing and sales for


, and is responsible for marketing and channel sales programs to SMBs, enterprises and carriers as well as defining the product offering. Prior to joining Broadvox, David was the vice president of Channels and Alliances for Eftia and Telcordia. As director of eBusiness Development with i2 Technologies, he developed major partnerships with many of the leaders in Internet eCommerce and supply chain management. As CEO of Planet Hollywood Online he was a pioneer in using early Internet technologies to build a branded entertainment and eCommerce website company partnered with Planet Hollywood. Having over 20 years of telecom sales and marketing experience, he has held executive positions with Hewlett-Packard, Sprint and Ericsson.

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