02.01.2011 0

The Internet “Kill Switch”

By Adam Bitely –

It is entirely possible for the government to turn off the Internet. Don’t believe it? Just look at what happened in Egypt.

Last week after protests began against the dictatorial government of Egypt, the Egyptian government under the order of the President Mubarak ordered that the Internet be turned off. And that is exactly what happened.

Egypt Internet Turned Off

This same thing can happen anywhere on Earth. If Egypt can do it, then every other country could have the same ability, especially a superpower like the United States.

Just last year, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) sponsored legislation that would have given the President the authority to shutdown the Internet in the event of a “cyber security emergency”. So far, this legislation has not been brought to the Senate floor, but is expected to be later this year.

But just because this legislation has not passed does not mean that the government cannot shut off the Internet currently.

Most shocking in the United States though is the reaction from those that seek greater regulation of the Internet from the Federal Government.

In the aftermath of Egypt shutting the Internet off, progressives around the United States began to sound off at the breach of civil liberties taking place. They wondered aloud why government would ever commit such a travesty? This should strike one as an odd turn.

If there were such concerns from the progressives over the ability of the government to muddle with the Internet, then why are they so actively pushing “Net Neutrality”? If one believes that the government should not be involved in regulating the Internet or have the abilities to turn it off, why would one want the powers to regulate Internet Service Providers (IPS’s) to be in the hands of the government? They could easily take one overstep of authority that could result in lack of Internet service or much worse, a complete Internet blackout.

Further, if these same “regulators” recognize that government could get out of control with the power they wield over the Internet, should they not logically be seeking to limit or even ban the government from having any oversight power at all?


The rhetoric from these so-called civil liberty and human rights defenders ends right about there. Their thought process seems to center around personalities rather than realities. And all of their regulatory suggestions always stem from the dream that the regulator will be perfect and never overstep their powers.

The very “Net Neutrality” progressives that are concerned that the Internet could be turned off never dream it will happen in America. Of course, they believe, Obama or anyone in his administration would never turn it off. But they never think of who comes after them. So why give him or anyone else inside of government the ability to do so?

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.” And those that think it’s a good idea for the government to regulate their Internet don’t deserve to complain when the government abuses that power.

For the rest of us that know that the government is too overbearing under its current powers, we just want to be left alone.

Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com. You can follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamBitely.

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