This week, I would like to have a look at the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, which is the third attempt of the United States Senate to decide on a bill which gives the President and US security agancies more power in the event of a cyber 9/11. That is what they say.
The reasons on which that bill is based are the importance of the information and communication infrastructure, the increase in recent hacking activities (China-Google), the panic caused by ‘cyber-9/11 prophets’ and simply the hunger for power over the Internet by certain security agencies.
This reminds me on the law which prohibits the use of strong encryption within the United States and the US sponsored encryption tool which was heavily supported and which included a backdoor usable by US government agencies.
First of all, I am not a lawyer. This time, I would like to have a short look at the possibility that the US and its security agencies have an even tighter grip on the governance of the Internet. As discussed in earlier articles and some papers, the US are already a hotshot when it comes down to Internet governance – soft and hard politics wise. Furthermore, it is clear, that after years of articial evolution, the US do not have the power anymore to shut down the Internet completely. With the tools in their tool box, they can do a lot, but they will never be able to shut it down. Which is a good thing.
Additionally, I would like to state again, that I am considering myself as a cyber-libertarian which means I value the freedom of the Internet even over malpractices such as hacking and copyright infringements. For me, this is part of the Internet. Having said that, I am not quite sure if I would like to support the US approach. Only because it is the US.
Normally, I am very critical when it comes down to US politics – most of the time for a good reason. The point herein is, that the US government with its think tanks and laboratories created the ARPANET which later became widely known as the Internet. Of course you can argue that even though the US created the Internet, it gave one part to academia and the people (the ARPANET) and kept one part for itself in order to further develop it (MILNET). After years of development of the ARPANET it is also questionable how much US there is still in ‘the Internet’. Again, having a look at the governing structures of the Internet (ICANN, ISOC, IETF etc.), the US is still big in cyberspace.
I have mixed feelings. The money and effort was initially and is still spend from the US side. Why should they have not the power to exert it on the Internet? They never really gave it up and that should have been clear to all of us who are using it. East-side and West-side politics (Redmond and Washington) will always run the Internet. Especially the Chinese know that. That is why they tried to create their own linux-based operating system ‘Red Flag’ in order to escape Redmond politics. That is why they created the CHINAnet to escape the Washington politics. Both attempts failed, even though China still thinks that its ‘Greate Firewall’ works good. Somehow our American friends have the right to do so. Even though it is disgusting.
This article shall just be a little heads-up for everyone of you who read this or a similar article an initially thought ‘how can they do that?’, ‘the US again!’, ‘they have no right to do that’.
Well maybe they have…and they just knew how to play the game well?