Yes We Can: United States Declared “Enemy of the Internet” With Iran, North Korea, and Other Bad Actors

President_Barack_Obama1-foam-fingerWe previously discussed the rapid drop of the United States in the protection of the free press. Now, the respected Reporters Without Borders has produced a separate report on Internet freedoms. In yet another dubious distinction for President Obama, the United States is now listed with such “Enemies of the Internet” as Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. This is our first time on the infamous list — a true accomplishment for an Administration that has been denounced for its wholesale attacks on privacy and other core civil liberties.

The Administration (and its Senate allies like Sen. Dianne Feinstein) spent little time in setting itself against the open Internet forum and has sought a variety limitations and sanctions for Internet speech. Our mass surveillance programs features prominently in our inclusion of this list. The National Security Agency has worked furiously to break down walls on the Internet while the Justice Department has pursued various individuals for web posting.

There will come a day when Democrats will seek again to speak in favor of core values of free speech, free press, privacy, and the like. When that day comes, there will be a chorus of howls from civil libertarians who have watched in astonishment as the Democratic Party enabled these assaults on freedom either actively or by acquiescence. The trading away of the power of principle for the power of personality will, in my view, be judged harshly in history. Obama will leave office in a few years and what he will leave a much larger security system, more extensive surveillance, and a mountain of hypocrisy for his supporters to climb in his wake.

I am not sure how the Administration will celebrate its latest distinction, but the First Lady is currently traveling at great public expense in China. That would seem a perfect place to celebrate since the White House told reporters that they would not answer any questions. However, the First Lady (despite announcements that she would avoid discussion of human rights) did call for respect for freedom of speech and other rights.

Source: Salon

135 thoughts on “Yes We Can: United States Declared “Enemy of the Internet” With Iran, North Korea, and Other Bad Actors”

  1. Great links ap. However, any “fix” suggested by either Congress or the President cannot include a review by the FISA court. This court is a joke because it rubber stamps over 95% of all actions brought in front of it. End the Patriot Act as amended and end the Authorization to use Force and that would be a good start.

  2. Edward Snowden Statement on Administration’s NSA Reform Plan

    March 25, 2014

    The following is a statement from Edward Snowden provided to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is coordinating his legal advice and representation:

    “I believed that if the NSA’s unconstitutional mass surveillance of Americans was known, it would not survive the scrutiny of the courts, the Congress, and the people.

    “The very first open and adversarial court to ever judge these programs has now declared them ‘Orwellian’ and ‘likely unconstitutional.’ In the USA FREEDOM Act, Congress is considering historic, albeit incomplete reforms. And President Obama has now confirmed that these mass surveillance programs, kept secret from the public and defended out of reflex rather than reason, are in fact unnecessary and should be ended.

    “This is a turning point, and it marks the beginning of a new effort to reclaim our rights from the NSA and restore the public’s seat at the table of government.”

  3. “Mr. Obama’s Limits on Phone Records”



    If President Obama really wants to end the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records, he doesn’t need to ask the permission of Congress, as he said on Tuesday he would do. He can just end it himself, immediately.

    That’s what Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, urged him to do. “The president could end bulk collection once and for all on Friday by not seeking reauthorization of this program,” Mr. Leahy said.

    Ending bulk collection now wouldn’t undermine Mr. Obama’s proposal to Congress. In fact, if his promise is matched by the final details (which are not yet available), it could be an important and positive break from the widespread invasion of privacy secretly practiced by the National Security Agency for years. Getting a law to create strong judicial oversight of data collection would be a check on the ambitions of future presidents. But once the question is tossed into the maelstrom of Congress, where one party routinely opposes anything the president wants, the limits could be delayed, or diluted, or just killed.

    And while lawmakers wring their hands, the invasion of privacy will continue.

    As Charlie Savage reported in The Times on Tuesday, the president is planning to ask Congress to end the N.S.A.’s systematic collection of telephone records begun under President George W. Bush, an action already endorsed by his independent board of advisers. The records will be left in the hands of the phone companies, where they belong, until the N.S.A. gets permission from a judge to review an individual record because of a possible tie to terrorism. (The companies would only have to store the data 18 months, compared with the agency’s five years.)

    The requirement for judicial review is one of the most important parts of the president’s plan. Just as police departments have to get a court order for a wiretap, the intelligence agencies need to present their justification to an outside arbiter for a request of telephone data, which can be as revealing as the content of a conversation. The provision distinguishes the White House plan from a much weaker bill introduced by the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, which would allow the N.S.A. to subpoena individual records without judicial approval.

    But there are still important unknown details. What standard of suspicion does the government need to meet to persuade a judge? Administration officials said it would be the “reasonable, articulable suspicion” of terror ties now used by the N.S.A. when examining phone records, but that remains an unacceptably weak level of proof. Judicial review should require a clearer, stronger standard, though it is doubtful Congress will approve one.

    It’s not clear, as Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union wrote, whether the proposal covers all the methods the intelligence agencies use to collect personal and financial records, and whether the N.S.A. will delete the records it has. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which will consider the requests for records, should be required to disclose how often it says yes.

    The immediate question, though, is why the president feels he needs to wait for Congress before stopping mass collection. As Mr. Obama said on Tuesday, because of Edward Snowden’s revelations, “we have to win back the trust not just of governments but, more important, of ordinary citizens.” Continuing the current surveillance program while lawmakers argue is not the way to begin winning back the country’s trust.

  4. yep, until Obama came along, they never referred to the best room in a hotel as the “Presidential Suite”.

    1. I am not a user of either tin foil or aluminum foil, so I am going with “urban myth,”

    1. My understanding was that only tin-foil works. Substituting aluminum foil is fine for cooking but not for blocking alien communications. However, annie, you may be an expert in this area having tested all available methods and can best give us advice on what does or does not work. 😉

  5. dagda,
    your source doesn’t pass the smell test because of an alleged secret learned from Russian intelligence sources! Darren is right. so little tin foil to go around.

  6. Again, bias and conspiracy theory are two distinctly different things. I actually don’t mind sources biased to the right if they aren’t based in Infowars type nuttery. Most people here dismiss those types of sites out of hand, but especially so after reading them.

    1. annie,
      Are you familiar with Cassandra? Often sites like Infowars are the Cassandra of our times. Don’t dismiss them so easily.

  7. Bias is one thing, conspiracy theory nuttiness is quite another thing. That should be self explanatory. 😕

    Oy, serenity now.

  8. has no bias whatsoever??? You can’t make this shit up!! No wonder left and right ideologues are as whacky as they are, they read all that horribly biased shit and think it’s legit. Serenity now.

  9. dagda,
    I am not buying what crisisboom is selling. Any article based on a secret information from the Russian intelligence service about US activities is tin foil hat stuff.

    1. rafflaw,
      You do not have to buy it, but I do not buy rightwingwatch or thinkprogress or mediamatters. They all have an agenda and a bias. So, if you want me to buy into something, find a source with less bias. 🙂

  10. Please cite your assertion about this simulation Dagda.

    Why do people make such outrageous assertions and not provide links, how annoying.

  11. Dagda,
    My daughter, who has been in the Navy since 2002, has complained that she feels annoyed that prayers come over the PA system and all are required to listen. No one in the military is being told a thing about the religious right being “terrorists”. My daughter surely would’ve mentioned something like that to me, as she is a progressive liberal, as am I.

    Where did you pull that out of anyway? Some dark nether region?

    1. annie,
      the administration is teaching soldiers that people of the religious right are terrorists. There is going to be a military simulation on that this week and Michelle is speaking about civil and religious rights? Pleeeease? This administration is the most anti-religious I have ever seen and that includes the Carter administration.

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