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Obama Administration Pressures ISPs To Censor Websites

Department of Justice would have power to shut down “unlawful content,” which according to their own definition includes political free speech

Obama Administration Pressures ISPs To Censor Websites 250610top2

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Obama Administration IP Czar Victoria Espinel has been holding meetings with ISPs, registrars, payment processors and others in a bid to get them to block access to websites “dedicated to infringing activities”. However, as we have documented, the government deems such infringement to include political opinions which are antagonistic toward the state, leaving the door open for state censorship of free speech on the world wide web.

Espinel, the White House’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, aims to create a special relationship between the government and Internet companies in order to “harmonize the efforts of law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels and strengthen cooperation with the private sector.”

“While the meeting is carefully focused on stopping websites that sell gray market pharmaceuticals, if registrars start agreeing to censoring websites at the behest of the government, it’s as if we’re halfway to a COICA-style censorship regime already. ICANN, who manages the internet domain name system was asked to attend the meeting, but felt that it “was not appropriate to attend” such a meeting,” reports Datamation.

The meeting was convened to grease the skids for government control of the Internet as part of a back up plan in case the increasingly unpopular Cybersecurity and COICA bills fall by the wayside.

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act would, “Establish a path for the Department of Justice to take action against websites dedicated to peddling unlawful content, including leaning on Internet providers, registrars, payment processors and other Internet players to deny services to the offending sites.”

However, as we have documented, material that the DoJ considers “unlawful” and even a potential red flag for terrorism includes Tea Party literature posted on public bulletin boards, as well as copies of the “Obama Joker” poster.

According to a recent memo released by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a component of the DoJ, “extremist literature” includes “political or religious displays,” or anything related to “abortion”. The memo also warns against “radical bookstores”.

If the Department of Justice considers such material to be a red flag for terrorism, what will they consider to be “unlawful” on the Internet, and is it wise to empower them with the tools to effectively silence political free speech based on their own definitions of what constitutes “extremist” content?

In addition, Espinel’s effort to harmonize action between ISPs and law enforcement takes on a new dimension when we consider the fact that federal and state authorities are considering the implementation of technology that scans Internet posts and emails for content deemed to display “resentment toward government,” and then passes the information to the relevant authorities for terrorist surveillance measures.

We got a taste of which websites might be targeted under such a system back in March when, coinciding with the Obama administration’s release of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, a government plan to “secure” (or control) the nation’s public and private sector computer networks, Democrats attempted to claim that the independent news website The Drudge Report was serving malware, an incident Senator Jim Inhofe described as a deliberate ploy “to discourage people from using Drudge”.

Digital rights groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge have expressed concern over how the COICA bill offers only a “nebulous definition of what constitutes an infringing site,” opening the door for the government to shut down their political adversaries on the flimsiest of pretexts.

The Obama administration seems determined to attain a stranglehold grip on the world wide web by whatever means possible. The true motivation behind doing so was revealed when Senator Joe Lieberman, a key supporter of cybersecurity legislation that would hand Obama the power to shut down portions of the Internet for months with no congressional oversight, told CNN’s Candy Crowley that the ultimate intention was was to mimic the Communist Chinese system of Internet policing.

“Right now China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in case of war and we need to have that here too,” Lieberman told Crowley.

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Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show. Watson has been interviewed by many publications and radio shows, including Vanity Fair and Coast to Coast AM, America’s most listened to late night talk show.

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