Posts Tagged ‘Internet’
Another end-run around congress, another abuse of executive power, another unconstitutional power grab. Time to wake up, people!
Another late-Friday afternoon release from the White House — this one on how agencies should communicate with the public in emergencies — has Internet privacy advocates crying foul over a possible power grab.
The executive order — “Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions” — was released last Friday in the late afternoon. The Friday before, the White House issued data showing that its payroll had increased 14.1 percent over the last year of the Bush administration.
President Barack Obama’s new order outlines procedures for government agencies to follow in preparing plans so they can communicate with “the public, allies, and other nations” should a national crisis occur, CNBC reports.
Essentially, it says the government can take control of private telecommunications technology, presumably including those used for the Internet, for government communications in an emergency.
“Under the Executive Order the White House has … granted the Department [of Homeland Security] the authority to seize private facilities when necessary, effectively shutting down or limiting civilian communications,” wrote the Electronic Privacy Information Center in a blog post.
This is what has Internet privacy advocates worried. They say the document represents a power grab on behalf of the federal government, CNBC reports.
It is long past time to cut these control freaks loose.
Secret negotiations involving dozens of countries preparing for a United Nations summit on international telecommunications could lead to changes in a global treaty that would diminish the Internet’s role in economic growth and restrict the free flow of information.
The U.S. delegation to the World Conference on International Telecommunications to be held in Dubai in December has vowed to block any proposals from Russia and other countries that they believe threaten the Internet’s current governing structure or give tacit approval to online censorship.
But those assurances have failed to ease fears that bureaucratic tinkering with the treaty could damage the world’s most powerful engine for exchanging information, creating jobs and even launching revolutions, according to legal experts and civil liberties advocates who have been tracking the discussions. Social networks played a key role in the Arab Spring uprisings that last year upended regimes in Egypt and Tunisia.
Russia, for example, has proposed language that requires member states to ensure the public has unrestricted access and use of international telecommunication services “except in cases where international telecommunication services are used for the purpose of interfering in the internal affairs or undermining the sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity and public safety of other states, or to divulge information of a sensitive nature,” according to a May 3 U.N. document that details the various proposals for amending the treaty.
The wording of this provision could allow a country to repress political opposition while citing a U.N. treaty as the basis for doing so. The provision also appears to contradict Article 19 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says people shall have the right to access information “through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
An amended treaty would be binding on the United States if it is ratified by the Senate.
Maybe it’s time to switch search engines.
Google exercised its belief in freedom of speech recently, turning down a censorship request by the Canadian government to remove a YouTube video showing a man urinating on his own Canadian passport.
“We received a request from the Passport Canada office to remove a YouTube video of a Canadian citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down the toilet,” the company revealed. “We did not comply with this request,” Google said.
But Google had to comply with others: The search giant claims it increasingly fields requests from government agencies trying to use their power to suppress political opinions and other material they don’t like.
The details of the Canadian case were released in Google’s semi-annual “transparency report” for the last half of 2011, released on Sunday. It was the U.S.-based company’s fifth since 2009, summarizing the company’s responses to requests received from governments to remove links to web content alleged to be illegal, hateful, terrorism-promoting, or offensive — an onslaught of requests that are only increasing, the company said Sunday.
“It’s alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect — Western democracies not typically associated with censorship,” Dorothy Chou, Google’s senior policy analyst, wrote in a Sunday blog post.
That comment may have been aimed at the U.S., where police prosecutors, courts and other government agencies submitted 187 requests to remove content from July through December last year, more than doubling from 92 requests from January through June.
RightOnline had a fantastic line-up of speakers this year. I watched some of it live streaming, and really hope I can go in person next year!
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S. E. Cupp
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Other speakers included Jonah Goldberg and Lars Larson.
The Social Media Revolution
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59.5 percent of the news people get via social media is from Facebook, and most of that is from their family and friends posting new links. A conservative who posts links on their page to news stories or quality commentary that traditional media channels ignore is doing their friends a favor. Many of them would never had heard about it otherwise.
Breaking News can make it around the globe a dozen times on Twitter before the traditional media even has time to shape the narrative in their favor. Websites like Twitchy help conservatives to stay on top of which leftist narrative is currently being “pwned” and let you join in on the fun.
There are several reasons why it is so crucial for conservatives to use Facebook and Twitter to help educate their friends and family in the months leading up to the election:
People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. To put that number in perspective, that’s roughly how long it would take the every single person living in Tampa, FL (population 335,709 in 2010 according to the U.S. Census Bureau) to earn a standard, four-year bachelor’s degree online.
Granted, to rack up those numbers it takes Facebook’s 750 million users (or 310 million daily unique users) and assumes that the hypothetical online students are online 24/7, but the point, or rather the question, is: Are people really getting anything out of Facebook? Out of social media, in general?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is so dramatically changing the way we learn and how we get our news that Encyclopedia Brittanica is wrapping up its print edition after 244 years and nearly half of all Americans get some form of news online at least three times per week.
[...] News organizations are adapting to give social media lovers what they want, but these markets are as diverse as they are demanding. For those who do get their news from social media sites, there are different desires and formats needed for each demographic/user group, requiring targeted sharing techniques for maximum effect:
- On Facebook, 70 percent get most of their news from friends and family, versus the only 13 percent who get it from news organizations and journalists, 10 percent who get news from non-news organizations and nine percent who aren’t sure.
- On Twitter, only 36 percent get news links from friends and family, as opposed to the 27 percent who get it from traditional news orgs and journalists, the 18 percent who get it from non-news organizations and the 19 percent who simply don’t know.
The simple truths behind all of this: We are living in the Information Age, and the methods for the dissemination of information are constantly changing and rapidly evolving. With around one in four Americans getting news almost exclusively from mobile devices in the last year, something that wasn’t even remotely possible twenty years ago, this evolution has never been more apparent. One can only hope that real news continues to be valued, and that the lowest common denominator doesn’t dictate what’s news.
Social media is how conservatives can bypass the traditional leftist media gatekeepers and get their message out to the American people. It’s how we can thoroughly vett candidates that the media refuses to.
So get your Facebook and Twitter accounts ready to roll! This is how the November election will be won.
When dealing with an enemy who believes that practically any means are justified when attacking political opponents, conservatives must be ever more vigilant.
Free speech is under attack. Conservative writers are now facing threats against themselves, their families, and their livelihoods merely because they’ve aggressively investigated the history and funding of radical liberals.
Ali Akbar is president of the National Bloggers Club, a coalition of 300 conservative bloggers who reach millions of readers, has been targeted by these vicious attacks on himself and, even worse, his family.
Akbar has seen his mother’s home photographed and placed on the internet. He has also received formal notification that he may soon be sued for publishing truthful information about radical liberals and their wealthy donors.
The ACLJ will be providing legal representation to Akbar and his organization of conservative bloggers who are facing threats and intimidation tactics by those opposed to their viewpoint. We will aggressively defend their constitutionally-protected free speech rights from these unwarranted attacks.
As Akbar told the ACLJ, “I’m grateful for the support of the ACLJ, and I’m confident we’ll defeat any and all legal challenges to our fundamental right to free speech. We will not be deterred in our quest for the truth.”
In addition, a number of conservative bloggers have been targeted with a dangerous and illegal tactic that’s become known as SWAT-ing – (making false 911 calls sending police to the homes of bloggers, claiming a crime has occurred.) The tactic has been used in retaliation for posts that conservative bloggers have written.
SWAT-ing and other intimidation tactics to silence conservative viewpoints are quickly becoming a favorite tool of the radical left.
Obama Economic Plan: Go Buy A Thingamajig
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Sometimes he just makes it too easy!
While stumping in Golden Valley, Minn., President Obama told a group of Honeywell employees that his proposed tax breaks would help them afford “thingamajigs” for their furnaces.
“There are some folks here who could use $3,000 a year,” President Obama said. “If you got $3,000 dollars a year extra, that helps you pay down your credit cards, that helps you go out and buy some things that your family needs — which is good for business.”
“Maybe some of you will be replacing some thingamajig for the furnace,” the president said to laughs and applause.
“They’ve been putting that off! But if they got that extra money, they might just go out that and buy that thing, right?”
Of course, the staff at Twitchy wasn’t about to let this go without first having a good laugh.
“Hush with your worry about the abysmal jobs report and the worsening economy, people. Just go buy some thingamajigs already!” the Twitchy staff writes.
“Maybe buy some widgets to inflate your tires, too. We guess President Obama forgot that sometimes, at a certain point, you’ve earned enough thingamajigs.”
If it weren’t for America’s long history of respect for private sector innovation and the freedom of speech, there wouldn’t BE an internet.
Keep the power-hungry UN’s grubby hands off our free speech!
House lawmakers will consider an international proposal next week to give the United Nations more control over the Internet.
The proposal is backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members, and would give the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet.
It’s an unpopular idea with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress, and officials with the Obama administration have also criticized it.
“We’re quite concerned,” Larry Strickling, the head of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said in an interview with The Hill earlier this year.
He said the measure would expose the Internet to “top-down regulation where it’s really the governments that are at the table, but the rest of the stakeholders aren’t.”
At a hearing earlier this month, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also criticized the proposal. He said China and Russia are “not exactly bastions of Internet freedom.”
“Any place that bans certain terms from search should not be a leader in international Internet regulatory frameworks,” he said, adding that he will keep a close eye on the process.
Yet the proposal could come up for a vote at a UN conference in Dubai in December.
How to turn a liberal meme back in their faces, 101.
Remember Obama’s “The Life of Julia“? Well, a few clever conservatives have given her a face:
…or at least a body:
Welcome to the internet meme wars.
But when it comes to meme images going viral on Facebook and other social media sites, conservatives have some catching up to do.
Take YourECards, for example. These are incredibly popular on Pinterest and Facebook. Conservatives have made a few clever ones, but not nearly as many as liberals have, and none of which have really gone viral:
You get the idea. A successful meme takes off because it’s brief, funny, and scathingly truthful. Even people who normally avoid politics often can’t help but share, pin, or re-tweet a meme that makes them laugh and confess, “this is so true!” Give it a whirl and create your own here.
There is nothing so effective as humor in getting your message across in a way that is hard to dispute or dismantle. A leftist trying to hit back against a humorous message risks coming across as bitter, thin-skinned and unable to take a joke or acknowledge the underlying truth (but I repeat myself).
These memes made of a photo of a liberal college girl, for instance, are bitingly accurate:
And there’s more where that came from.
The jabs at Obama are just as varied and creative, and you can easily take images like these and change the text with a meme generator (click on images):
Or, you can take a popular pic of the president and get creative on your own:
Some of these are just begging for a caption:
I’d love to see some memes made with Sharpton, Franken, Jesse Jackson, Michael Moore, Gore, Fluke, Pelosi, Reid…
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to put the left on the defensive with humor!
Like I needed another reason to home school my kids!
A federal judge has ordered a Missouri school district to unblock its web filters and give students access to sexually explicit material by the middle of March.
A US District Judge issued a preliminary junction against the Camdenton R – III School District banning them from using filtering software. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the district claiming it was deliberately restricting access to homosexual themed sites, while allowing students to view what it claims are “anti-LG BT sites that condemn homosexuality.”
In issuing its ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri said the district’s custom filtering system “systematically allows access to websites expressing a negative viewpoint toward LGBT individuals by categorizing them as ‘religion,’ but filters out positive viewpoints toward LGBT issues by categorizing them as ‘sexuality.”
Joe Ortwerth, executive director of the Missouri Family Policy Council, says, “When you consider that there’s a federal law on the books that obligates school districts to ensure that their computers do not allow access to materials that might be pornographic for minors, this judge’s action — considering that — is pretty shocking.”
The ACLU’s website claims that schools cannot block LGBT sites claiming that to do so is a violation of the First Amendment. “Programs that block all LGBT content violate First Amendment rights to free speech, as well as the Equal Access Act, which requires equal access to school resources for all extracurricular clubs, including gay-straight alliances and LGBT support groups.”
Among the sites the ACLU says students have a right to view is the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. The site provides a link to “It Gets Better” which is a program advocating the homosexual lifestyle founded by Dan Savage, a “gay” sex columnist.
Savage is known for his vulgar and raunchy columns. He was also responsible for “bullying” Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum by creating a “Google bomb” that attached a vile sex term to the candidate’s name.
Most transparent administration EVAH!
An overwhelming majority of journalists who cover Washington say the public is not getting needed information because of government control over interviews and information requests, according to a new poll.
The survey from the Society of Professional Journalists of reporters who cover federal agencies found most journalists have experienced a range of interference from public affairs employees. The release comes at the start of so-called Sunshine Week, a week dedicated to government transparency.
Nearly 85 percent in the poll said those public affairs officers have monitored their interviews at least some of the time.
Three-quarters said they have to obtain approval from those officers before interviewing agency officials. And two-thirds of those who responded said federal agencies block access to agency employees at least some of the time.
Most reporters classified these controls as a form of censorship — and 85 percent agreed that the public is not getting needed information because of those barriers.
It’s almost like they have something to hide!
Protect Your Voice Petition Video
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The establishment media are threatened by bloggers like me because we bypass the traditional gatekeepers of the ruling class and get the truth out.
This past December, federal judge Marco Hernandez of Oregon issued a ruling in the libel trial of Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox that has dangerous First Amendment implications.
Hernandez ruled that blogger Crystal Cox was not entitled to the same protection under media shield laws that other members of the press enjoy. This ruling made it easy for a jury to find her guilty of libel. That result threatens the First Amendment rights of all citizen-journalists.
With the Internet increasingly serving as the dominant source of information, a national debate has been taking place asking the question, who is a journalist? Legal scholars, journalism academics and First Amendment advocates all have their opinions and as expected, there is little agreement.
But why is this issue so complicated? Bloggers, like all citizens of the United States, have First Amendment rights. Has the definition of a journalist changed? Or has perception and therefore legal definition simply not adjusted to modern technology?
According to Professor Kyu Ho Youm of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, Judge Hernandez “ruled correctly” in the Cox case. But he also acknowledges that the ruling was based on his “textual interpretation” and that “pre-Internet law needs updating.”
Youm offers a wake-up call to state legislators. Media shield laws must be revised to make clear that bloggers and all citizen-journalists deserve the same protection as the city hall beat-writer at the local newspaper.
This is especially important, as technology and new economic realities have forced newspapers all over the country to cut staff drastically and in many cases, close up shop. The public now relies on citizen-journalists to perform an invaluable service to our democracy — serving as government watchdogs.
Obama Launches Citizen ‘Truth Squads’ To Monitor Critics, Control Message, Give Supporters Talking Points
The Obama campaign on Monday launched a new effort to rally grassroots supporters to join “Truth Teams” by fighting word-of-mouth “misinformation” about President Obama.
“The goal is to ensure that when Republicans attack President Obama’s record, grassroots supporters can take ownership of the campaign and share the facts with the undecided voters in their lives,” the campaign wrote in a press release.
The website, housed at Obama’s campaign website, includes information listed by issue, and allows volunteers to organize by state or group.
An email from Obama campaign adviser Stephanie Cutter to supporters describes the initiative as “the grassroots communications team of the Obama 2012 campaign.” The campaign also doubled down in its characterization of Republican super-PACs pouring big money into supporting Obama’s competition as the “boogeyman” in the general election.
The first “Truth Teams” will launch in 13 swing states on Monday, including Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
Here we go again…
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, following a recent anti-piracy legislative debacle with SOPA and PIPA, will lead his second effort of 2012 to push Internet-regulating legislation, this time in the form of a new cybersecurity bill. The expected bill is the latest attempt by the Democrats to broadly expand the authority of executive branch agencies over the Internet.
Details about the bill remain shrouded in secrecy. Clues available to the public suggest that the bill might be stronger than President Barack Obama’s cybersecurity proposal, which was released in May 2011. Reid said that he would bring the bill — expected to come out of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, chaired by Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman — to the floor during the first Senate work period of 2012.
A classified meeting behind closed doors in October 2011 between key Senate committee leaders with jurisdiction over cybersecurity and White House officials, took place at the request of the Obama administration. Lieberman, in an interview with The Hill in October, said that past Senate cybersecurity bills were considerably stronger than the White House proposal.
The White House proposal recommended that the Department of Homeland Security be given broad regulatory authority for cybersecurity matters over civilian networks. The White House proposal also recommends that the DHS program be “developed in consultation with privacy and civil liberties experts and with the approval of the Attorney General.”
Citizens Opposed To Taxes And Regulations, Concerned About Online Privacy Now Classified As Potential Violent ‘Extremists’
Here we go again. The FBI and Homeland Security are sounding the alarm bells once again to watch out for “anti-government extremists,” which criteria naturally include conservative dissenters.
Shouldn’t they be more worried about the Occupiers, who have a proven track record for violence?
Anti-government extremists opposed to taxes and regulations pose a growing threat to local law enforcement officers in the United States, the FBI warned on Monday.
These extremists, sometimes known as “sovereign citizens,” believe they can live outside any type of government authority, FBI agents said at a news conference.
The extremists may refuse to pay taxes, defy government environmental regulations and believe the United States went bankrupt by going off the gold standard.
Routine encounters with police can turn violent “at the drop of a hat,” said Stuart McArthur, deputy assistant director in the FBI’s counterterrorism division.
Got that? If you are opposed to paying exorbitant taxes, onerous government regulation, or fiat money, the FBI considers you a potential “extremist” who could “turn violent at the drop of a hat.”
Also on the “suspect” list: people concerned about online privacy:
Being concerned about your online privacy might be a sign that you’re up to no good, says the FBI and the US Department of Justice, via a collection of 25 fliers to be distributed to people working at airports, construction sites, electronic stores, hotels/motels, storage services, financial institutions, and many other places.
Among the fliers is also one aimed at Internet cafe employees and, among others, lists the following behaviors as suspicious:
- being overly concerned about privacy, attempting to shield the screen from view of others
- using anonymizers, portals, or other means to shield IP address
- using encryption or steganography software
- communicating through VOIP or a PC game.
To be fair, the leaflet does include a lot of other suspicious behaviors and notes, at the end, that “it is important to remember that just because someone’s speech, actions, beliefs, appearance, or way of life is different; it does not mean that he or she is suspicious,” but I suspect that will not give much comfort to people who might be flagged as terrorists just because they care about their privacy.
If you happen to believe that “the government deliberately is stripping Americans of their freedoms” and ardently support 2nd Amendment rights, you too qualify as a potential danger to society:
A recently published “lexicon” distributed to thousands of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) targets citizens concerned about their Second Amendment rights and the steady encroachment of the federal government, categorizing such as “militia extremists.”
…what drives militia extremism according to DHS now is “belief that the government deliberately is stripping Americans of their freedoms.” It is demonstrated by opposing “many federal and state authorities’ laws and regulations, (particularly those related to firearms ownership).” Would writing about those topics (as I am now) fall under “facilitation”? On its face, it’s hard to see how it could be excluded under DHS’s broad definition.
Another indicator, according to DHS, is that militia extremists “often belong to paramilitary groups,” which would mean that there are “militia extremists” who aren’t part of a militia. So if you oppose federal regulations and support the Second Amendment to the Constitution, and though you don’t actually belong to a militia, you can still be branded a “militia extremist” by your own government, and presumably be targeted by law enforcement agencies.
Let’s see… people who are unhappy about tax policy, are opposed to excessive environmental regulations.. sound like anyone you know? That final one, though – identifying people who wish to return to the gold standard – seems to be a particularly focused shot at Ron Paul’s followers, particularly given all the headlines he’s getting as a presidential candidate. [...]
The agency really needs to give us a bit more to go on here, as Nalle points out. With this “rise of incidents” they manage to cite two men in Arkansas and one in Texas who engaged in gunfights with the police during traffic stops. The rest of the “increase” in cases are, by their own admission, complaints filed against white collar criminals engaged in fraud and/or tax evasion.
When it comes to violence, I think we can all remain firmly on the side of the FBI. If there are any more violent kooks out there building bombs for home use, I certainly want them found. As for the three men noted in the report, if you happen to be the type of person who reacts to a traffic stop by whipping out a gun, the odds are pretty good that you’ve got bigger issues to deal with and are likely several french fries short of a Happy Meal.
One closing thought for you to ponder. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen these reports, and it doubtless won’t be the last. But … is it just me, here, or do they seem to mostly pop up during election years when there’s a Democrat in the White House? Hey… I’m just asking here. No need to send the ATFE over to my private gun range or anything.