Is American military policy in conflict with Internet freedom?



People's Daily, People's Republic of China

U.S. Internet Hypocrisy Creates Global Suspicion


Is the United States talking out of both sides of its mouth when it comes to Internet freedom? Continuing with Beijing's online counter-offensive, this article from China's state-run People's Daily asserts that Pentagon plans for software to allow Defense Department personnel to assume multiple identities online for the purpose of planting pro-U.S. propaganda again demonstrates to the world that America cannot be trusted.


By Ren Bing [任冰]


Translated by Sarah Chan


March 30, 2011


China - The People’s Daily - Original Article (Chinese)

There's no doubt that the U.S. is full of double standards, whether in the traditional international community or virtual world online.


On March 17, The Guardian reported that the U.S. military is secretly working with a California company to develop a new type of software that uses false identities to deliver propaganda favorable to the U.S. on the Internet. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter will be the main targets "manipulated" by this new software. Once developed, the software will allow U.S. Defense Department personnel to log on with 10 different identities and produce fake IP addresses that have no connection to the U.S. military and pose as people from around the world and fabricate pro-American commentary.


[Editor's Note: The updated version of The Guardian article says the following: "This article was amended on March 18 to remove references to Facebook and Twitter, introduced during the editing process, and to add a comment from U.S. Central Command, received after publication, that it is not targeting those sites."]


The United States is hoping for a "cyber war" breakthrough, which isn't surprising. As the global technology leader, the U.S. has the power to achieve it. What's so staggering is that the while the American military anticipates manipulating Internet sentiment with "online PR units," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has on various occasions spared no effort advocating "Internet freedom" and attacking the Internet policies of other nations, claiming that "an open Internet fosters long-term peace, progress and prosperity." It's no wonder that thousands of netizens on the Huffington Post Web site condemned the American military program as "democratic hypocrisy."


U.S. politicians have the audacity to advocate information freedom on the Internet, while their military tries everything possible to manipulate and mislead online conversation. This shows one side of how the U.S. deals with the Internet as a medium. It seems that for some American politicians, when the U.S. uses the phrase "Internet freedom", this is the logic: the Internet should be "free" as long as it is in accordance with America's will and its values of "freedom." If this cannot be arranged and the situation won't allow it to be "more powerful and prosperous," then it isn't "freedom."


As for how the United States acts in regard to the Internet, just take a look at the expansion of its national interests and the needs of crooked U.S. politicians, who talk high-mindedly about "virtue and morality" while waving a big stick behind their backs and doing as they please. In short, U.S. Internet policy will never be acceptable to the global public. Such broad national interests and ideological hegemony are enough to make the international community want to steer clear of the United States. But this clumsy double-standard has also issued a blow to the U.S. itself. With this deception and then by ripping off its own mask, the U.S. only allows people to more clearly understand its Internet policy.


The deliberate manipulation of public opinion online is just the tip of the iceberg for American Internet policy. America's double-dealing on the Internet and it implementation of double-standards reflect its desire to monopolize the online world and dominate technology. Last year, American politicians were enthusiastically promoting "the China Internet threat," while the United States failed to address a number Internet "threats" that America poses.


But how could anyone address them? A 2007 Global Internet Security Threat Report pointed out that in the second half of 2006, computer networks in the U.S. accounted for 31 percent of all hacking attacks. On average on a daily basis, about 64,000 computers worldwide are affected by malicious software, 26 percent of which are located in China. In another report from 2006 on network security monitoring, approximately 27,000 Trojan horse attacks on China came mainly from the U.S., and approximately 16,000 foreign IPs operated botnets, also mainly located in the U.S.


What's more worrying is that out of 13 root name servers, 10 of them are in the United States. During the Iraq War, under the direction of the U.S. government, Iraq's top-level domain "iq" was blocked, and from then on, Iraq's virtual world "evaporated." Whoever controls the Internet root name servers has the capacity to control root domain names, IP address distribution, international standards and online public opinion - and therefore has de facto control over and dominance of the Internet. American politicians understand where their interests lay. But when they high-handedly promote Internet diplomacy while establishing a strong U.S. Cyber-Command and implementing online hegemony through multinational enterprises, they make it easy for other people to understand.  



The development and application of Internet technology is a valuable asset to humanity. It is also an exciting stage shared by the entire world. But for it to develop soundly, there must be fair rules and direction. It should not be a tool for a single country to become a manipulative hedgemon, seizing the interests of others. However, many of us cannot deny the reality of one thing: in the Internet world, the amount of desire the U.S. has is matched only by its ambitions.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US April 8, 2:59am]



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