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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

License Plates for the Internet - The Blueprints for Obama's Assault on the Internet

Newspapers are widely covering a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies calling for Obama to appoint a "Cyberspace Czar" to oversee cyberspace security. And in the words of the New York Times article, "License plates may be coming to cyberspace."

The Center for Strategic and International Studies, whose chairman is Obama advisor Sam Nunn and whose President and CEO is John J Hamre, who was a possible candidate for Secretary of Defense under Obama. One of the members of the board of trustees is our old friend and Obama advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski. The report's recommendations are unsurprisingly expected to be fast tracked through the Obama administration.

To quote the New York Times story,

The report, which offers guidance to the Obama administration, is a strong indictment of government and private industry efforts to secure cyberspace to date. “The laissez-faire approach to cyber-security has failed,” Mr. Kellermann said.

So naturally it's time to stop all that laissez-faire internet, and crack the whip.

The report's recommendations emphasize taking away cybersecurity from DHS in order to create a special department to oversee cybersecurity. It recommends ending the division between civilian and national security systems. And calls for establishing "international norms" when it comes to the internet.

And it focuses a good deal on identity verification, not just for Federal employees, but for ordinary Americans as well.

The report urges a move away from passwords, and toward physical identity verification, via a device that would verify an individual's identity. And calls for "government issued credentials" to be used by consumers.

From Page 14 of the report.

17. The United States should allow consumers to use strong government-issued credentials (or commercially issued credentials based on them) for online activities.

Under the Bush Administration such a proposal would have produced hysterical rhetoric from the press and the left. Now they think that license plates coming to cyberspace is a fantastic idea.

The report proposes a model that would have consumers use Federally issued credentials for online transactions, in the way that some businesses currently require driver's licenses and social security numbers for commercial transactions, with businesses choosing to downgrade customers who refuse to use it.

Of course the information would now instead be stored by the government in one central location. And authentication online is used for everything from email to logging in to your blog. The report pays a good deal of lip service to talk about civil liberties, but its approach is a formula for a civil liberties nightmare.

The report suggests that such government authentication should be reserved for "high risk" areas, but just about any password protected online service is high risk. Companies such as Google and Microsoft merge accounts for paid transaction and unpaid personal services.

The implications of this kind of centralization are painfully obvious. It would put everyone's virtual housekeys in the hands of the government. More so than Bill Clinton's Carnivore program already did. This means
giving government unprecedented control over online free speech. It would mean the end of whistleblowers and the beginning of a dark shadow falling over the internet.

Additionally the reports calls for creating an international treaty structure based on international norms, when international norms criminalize many kinds of free speech, including criticism of Islam. Taken literally, that would mean that Russia could demand that Britain or the US extradite an online critic of Putin, or that Saudi Arabia could demand the extradition of an online cartoonist who mocks Mohammed.

What is more disturbing than just the report itself, is the uncritical acceptance that is it receiving, as well as the confidence that it will be fast tracked by Obama.

The report's most dangerous aspect is that it conflates government cybersecurity with commercial cybersecurity and even individual cybersecurity, and pushes Federal control and authentication as the solution for all three. By treating the security of private companies as a matter of national security, and by extension that of individual internet users, the report paves the way for government control over all aspects of public and private internet use.

No one is questioning the report's premise that the government should take the lead from private companies in maintaining online security, despite the fact that private companies have demonstrated a better ability and toolkit for protecting their networks, than the government has.

Federal centralization would actually weaken internet security, but would allow greater government oversight over the internet and would allow Obama to suppress civil liberties and free speech on the internet. Which is the real goal here.

The consolidation of business interests under government control is a big part of the Obama agenda, mirroring what Putin has done. The CSIS report follows this same approach to the internet. And like the rest of the Obama agenda, it is a fundamental threat to Civil Liberties and the American way of life.


  1. Anonymous10/12/08

    OMG. So now any blogger who might want to say that Israel belongs to the Jews and Pals be damned- they'll go to those lovely detention centers too. Don't drink the kool-aid! Sultan, check out www.the18.org

    It's a good start? or too little too late?

  2. Anonymous10/12/08

    Isn't what China does? I've read today on Drudge Report that Obama is going to give a major speech in an Islamic country. Chickens are coming home to roost for us.

  3. Great enterprising reporting, Sultan.

    This is much worse than the Patriot Act, Magic Lantern etc. And yes, very disturbing that the media and liberals are nodding their heads yes yes yes to anything Obama says.

    Nodding their heads in agreement when Obama says he had no interaction whatsoever with the governor of Illinois when Obama endorsed him.

    The Stepford Children of America.

  4. david axelrod, obama's campaign manager claimed that obama did have discussions with blago


    and obama did meet with blago


  5. Sultan - OT but would love for you to attend.


  6. thank you, i'll look into it

  7. Obama lying through his teeth once again--as usual. Pinocchio had his nose. Obama has his "uh" to indicate to the world he's lying.

    TY for the links.

    Blago makes Spitzer look like a virtual choir boy.

  8. Anonymous11/12/08

    I posted this topic on another forum and basically one poster wanted to relinquish all blame from Obama since this was planned before his administration. He also seems to have no problem with this while ranting against the patriot act. And all of the extreme implications of this system dont seem to concern him in the least. He says "And no matter who is in office and however much they want to appease global opinion, they won't allow and won't be allowed to create such a reality."

    Yeah right...the guys delusional

  9. it's more comforting for people to think that way than deal with reality



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