I know, I know, it sometimes seems that this column is loaded with doom and gloom. “Where’s the fun part, Andrea?”
Trust me, I’m scratching around for some.
File this in the category of “Stuff you need to know about, what the lame ducks are up to when it comes to our Internet”:
This week the wise ones on the Hill are scheduled to vote on a bill that will increase Big Brother’s access to our e-mail. Originally written to protect our privacy, the bill would now do anything but. Why?
According to published reports, it’s because some 22 law enforcement agencies squawked hard and loud, complaining this would diminish their capacity to catch the bad guys. Kinda like the TSA is there to make sure we aren’t going to set off our underwear or shoes.
“A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans’ e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law,” CNET reported.
Now, in his infinite wisdom, a certain liberal Democrat from Vermont who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and thus should know better, quietly rewrote the bill, giving the LEO agencies carte blanche to have a peek-see at our e-mails and other online communications without first having to get a warrant.
Read the entire article. It lists all the goodies this august body will hand over to “the authorities” at the expense of our liberty if this bad legislation is passed. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Lovely, huh? Call your senators now and give them a piece of your mind. They evidently need one. Remind them of the Constitution’s 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights that guarantees our freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. And tell them you’re holding them to it. A deal’s a deal.
Also, write them a “love” note through GradeGov.
Election’s over, and they’ve already forgotten about us. Squawk louder than the LEOs. Do what you can to get their attention.
Even more Big Brother
And while you’ve got their attention, remind them that you’re keeping a close eye on this development too: an international meeting in Dubai next month of more government “officials” who will try to further curtail our cyber freedom.
From The Hill: “The 193 member countries of the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union will meet in Dubai to update the International Telecommunications Regulations treaty for the first time since 1988. The treaty governs how telephone calls and other communications traffic are exchanged internationally.
“A lot is at stake in the upcoming negotiations,” the report continues. “Observers say some of the proposals put forward by countries for the treaty conference could threaten Internet freedom, encourage online censorship and expand a United Nations agency’s authority over the Internet.
“The treaty negotiations run by the ITU will take place in Dubai over a two-week period from Dec. 3 to Dec. 14,” The Hill reports. “Ambassador Terry Kramer, a former Vodafone executive, will lead the 95-person U.S. delegation during the conference. Members of the U.S. delegation include a mix of Obama administration officials and industry representatives from Google, Verizon, AT&T, Cisco, Microsoft and Facebook. Advocacy groups and trade organizations also have representatives on the delegation.
Some little consolation is found later in The Hill report: “The U.S. has argued that the scope of the treaty should stay confined to telecommunications networks and not the Internet.”
Got it? Make sure your elected senatorial representatives in that shining city on the hill responsible for signing on to treaties “get it” too.
And now some Big Sister, too …
Meantime, the Environmental Protection Agency has been in overdrive making sure our environment is pure, clea and safe to drink. How? By creating more Obama-like transparency.
You’ll appreciate this one: “Republicans on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee have launched a probe into whether Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has been conducting official business using secret e-mail accounts.”
Oh yes she has, that busy gal!
“The lawmakers said the practice may violate transparency and record-keeping laws.”
Ya think? Here’s more to that story.
Israel under ‘Net attack
Attacked in the air, on the ground, on the Internet too. Israelis are being swarmed, or at least they were before a magical “cease-fire” was declared last week (has the bombing from Gaza actually stopped?).
It’s been reported that some 60 million Israeli websites were hacked by the eponymous Anonymous. Evidently the amorphous international hacking group supports Palestinians in the deadly Gaza conflict. Among those hacked were the Facebook and Twitter accounts of Israel’s Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom by a group calling itself ZCompany Hacking Crew. Not sure if “ZCompany” connected to Anonymous’ hacktivists.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that the attack came shortly after personal information of thousands of Israelis was hacked. It’s called asymmetrical warfare, baby.
And now for some good news! This video shows how an app helps Israelis track missile fire.
At last, the lighter fare
Okay, so while I’ve been writing the above, I found some “fun stuff”. Here you go!