http://lastampa

[International Herald Tribune, France]

 

 

La Stampa, Italy

U.S. Scheme to Shut Down the Web Rivals the Censorship of Beijing

 

"Paradoxically, this brings the U.S. closer to China, which just months ago was loudly denounced by Hillary Clinton for Internet censorship. It is indeed a contradiction that in an era of growing de-Westernization, a further step in this dangerous direction is being taken by the United States of all places, the creator and greatest beneficiary of Western political ideas."

 

By Vittorio Emanuele Parsi*

                                               

 

Translated By Enrico Del Sero

 

June 28, 1010

 

Italy - La Stampa - Original Article (Italian)

The Oval Office: A new propasal to give the U.S. president the power to shut down the planet's electronic nervous system has people in other nations worried.

BBC NEWS VIDEO: Tech gurus debate the potential of the Internet, June 30, 00:08:03RealVideo

In case of a cyber attack that could undermine (economic) national security, the President of the United States may shut down the Internet for a period of 90 days without prior authorization by Congress. [From the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act proposed by Senator Joe Lieberman]

 

This is the wording approved by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs that will likely pass on the Senate floor. It's an act with great symbolic value.

 

Not even after the September 11 terrorist attacks did we anticipate that the Executive could "confiscate" the Web from its citizens for such a long period by simple presidential order. The 90-day period directly evokes another particularly delicate case in which the exercise of presidential power is afforded wide discretion. It is the arrangement under which the president can deploy American forces for 90 days without formal authorization from Congress. Since World War II, U.S. involvement in most conflicts have been undertaken under this discretionary power. Now that the Internet is likely to be the battleground of the future - and in many ways could be a more dangerous field of battle than the traditional ones - the U.S. is playing catch up to put its national defense in a position to act in a timely fashion.

 

That the cyber threat is far from a hypothesis of science fiction fantasy is testified to by a number of recent experiences and the evolution of NATO's core strategic doctrine. Over recent years, Lithuania, an E.U. member and member of the Atlantic Alliance, was subjected to an actual cyber assault by Russia. The Chinese secret services, in their turn, have been accused by the British government (among others) as having repeatedly attempted to breach defense sites and industrial firms linked to national security. The same strategic doctrine of the Alliance, which is now under review, provides for more attention to be devoted to countermeasures in case of cyber attacks against NATO and its members.

 

On the other hand, however, it is easy to see that due to the very nature of the worldwide Web, a closure of U.S. providers would have consequences far beyond the borders of the United States. Yet, once again, just as has occurred with bipartisan regularity since the end of the Cold War (with the exception of the first Bush Administration), the multilateral implications of unilateral solutions are given very little consideration along the banks of the Potomac. Such was the case with George W. Bush and his neo-con advisers, and the pattern seems like it is being reproduced with Barack Obama and his liberal eggheads. 

Posted by WORLDMEETS.US

 

[International Herald Tribune, France]

 

But this isn't the only cause for concern. It's clear that the impact of such measures on the civil liberties of the United States would be much greater that the similar provision allowing for the deployment of combat troops abroad. On the one hand, it remains to be seen how public opinion and libertarian groups will react. What would they have said if the same provision had been enacted under the Bush Administration? Second, one should frankly acknowledge that the gulf between the U.S. and Europe has deepened with respect to maintaining an optimal balance between the protection of individual liberty and civil rights on the one hand, and collective security on the other. Paradoxically, this brings the U.S. closer to China, which just months ago, was loudly denounced by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Internet censorship. It is indeed a contradiction that in an era of growing de-Westernization, a further step in this dangerous direction is being taken by the United States of all places, the creator and greatest beneficiary of Western political ideas.

 

*Vittorio Emanuele Parsi of a Professor of political science at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan

 

CLICK HERE FOR ITALIAN VERSION

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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US July 6, 8:21pm]

 

 







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