Government pushing to control Internet
For the past decade, the federal government has been moving to gain effective control over the internet. Now, thanks to legislation just crafted by Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the government may finally realize its goal of being able to control virtually all aspects of the vast internet, including private internet systems.
The decade-long process began in earnest in 2001, when the Bush Administration secured passage of legislation giving it jurisdiction to prosecute computer hackers anywhere in the world if the packets of information travelled through a U.S. computer or router and affected a “federal interest computer.”
Then, in 2006, the Senate voted to ratify the Cybercrime Treaty that essentially internationalized all “cybercrimes,” so that crimes committed in any country that is a signatory to the treaty can be investigated by any other signatory country. The treaty contains extremely broad definitions of “cybercrime” with no meaningful privacy protections.
Two years later, during his last year in office, President George W. Bush signed an executive order centralizing in the National Security Agency (NSA) the power to monitor the computer networks of all federal agencies. As a result of this non-legislative initiative, federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies were empowered to monitor even private, domestic networks if they suspected unauthorized intrusions.
Shortly after taking office in January 2009, President Barrack Obama sought and obtained significantly increased funding for federal cybersecurity activities. Also in 2009, the administration created a cybersecurity office in the White House, and a new military command dedicated to cybersecurity in the Defense Department. Problems continue to plague the government’s efforts to protect government cyber systems against intrusions, however, based largely on technical difficulties and privacy concerns.