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HYPOCRITES: Obama Administration Pushes Internet Freedom Abroad While Urging Crack-Down At Home

HYPOCRITES: Obama Administration Pushes Internet Freedom Abroad While Urging Crack-Down At Home
Left-leaning Demand Progress calls administration to task for Internet censorship policies

Washington, DC -- The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. The United States this month signed on to a statement praising a pro-Internet freedom report by the United Nation's Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, even as the U.S. pushes new domestic laws and regulations to censor the Internet, restrict users' Internet access, and criminalize more online activities.

Those efforts, pushed by the Obama Administration, its Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, and certain members of Congress include:

1) Senate Bill 978 -- the "Ten Strikes Bill" -- would make unlicensed online streaming a felony -- punishable by 5 years in prison.

2) Senate Bill 968 -- the PROTECT IP Act or "Internet Blacklist Bill" -- would give the government the power to force Internet service providers, search engines, and other "information location tools" to block users' access to sites that have been accused of copyright infringement -- the initiation of a China-style censorship regime here in the United States.

3) It was reported last week that the Obama administration is facilitating a "three strikes" style deal between Internet Service Providers and intellectual property rights holders to reduce bandwidth and restrict web access to certain sites for users who have been accused of copyright infringement. As CNET reported:

More Than 50,000 Americans Call On Homeland Security To Drop Baseless Charges Against Internet User

Momentum Building: More Than 50,000 Americans Call On Homeland Security To Drop Baseless Charges Against Internet User

Demand Progress members decry scurrilous charges against Brian McCarthy -- arrested for nothing more than linking to other websites

More than 50,000 Americans have signed a petition urging the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release Brian McCarthy. McCarthy ran a website,, that linked to various sites where Internet users could watch online streams of TV shows and sports networks. DHS and ICE seized his domain name in late January. And in an unprecedented move, they arrested him earlier this month and charged him with criminal copyright infringement -- punishable by five years in prison. As public outcry and media coverage of the story have grown, DHS and ICE have so far declined all requests for comment.

Obama adminstration fails us on so-called "Net Neutrality"

FCC breaks Obama's promise, allows corporate censorship online with fake Net Neutrality

Minutes ago, the FCC passed new rules -- written by corporations -- that will end Net Neutrality. For the first time in history, the U.S. government approved corporate censorship of the Internet, putting the future of online free speech at risk. Unbelievably, the person leading the charge was Obama appointee Julius Genachowski (known in some circles as Judas GenaComcast for his historic sellout and notorious industry-friendly attitude).

These rules also violate President Obama's campaign promise to protect Net Neutrality and appoint an FCC Commissioner who would do the same, but some media are reporting the corporate spin that this is a "Net Neutrality compromise." The White House is trying to convince us this isn't a sellout as well with their wholly supportive statement.

This is not a compromise and it doesn't fulfill Obama's campaign promise -- not even close. There's no such thing as half a First Amendment and no such thing as prohibiting "some" corporate censorship. In reality, these rules are what Senator Al Franken said they are:

The Fate of the Internet is Being Decided in a Back Room

The Fate of the Internet. Decided in a Back Room

By Tim Karr, June 22, 2010

    The Wall Street Journal just reported that the Federal Communications Commission is holding "closed-door meetings"with industry to broker a deal on Net Neutrality – the rule that lets users determine their own Internet experience.

    Given that the corporations at the table all profit from gaining control over information, the outcome won't be pretty.

    The meetings include a small group of industry lobbyists representing the likes of AT&T, Verizon, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and Google. They reportedly met for two-and-a-half hours on Monday morning and will convene another meeting today. The goal according to insiders is to "reach consensus" on rules of the road for the Internet.

    This is what a failed democracy looks like: After years of avid public support for Net Neutrality – involving millions of people from across the political spectrum – the federal regulator quietly huddles with industry lobbyists to eliminate basic protections and serve Wall Street’s bottom line.

    We’ve seen government cater to big business in the same ways, prior to the BP oil disaster and the subprime mortgage meltdown.

    The Industry's regulatory capture of the Internet is now almost complete. The one agency tasked with oversight of communications now thinks it can wriggle free of its obligation to protect the open Internet, if only it can get industry to agree on a solution.

FCC Chair Proposes New Net Neutrality Rules

FCC Chair Proposes New Net Neutrality Rules

Date: September 21, 2009 - Contact: Moira Vahey, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x31

WASHINGTON -- Federal Communications Commission Chair Julius Genachowski today proposed new Net Neutrality rules that would protect the open Internet on all wired and wireless networks. In a speech at the Brookings Institution, Genachowksi proposed rules that would prohibit discrimination of content or applications by Internet service providers and would ensure network management practices are transparent.

Genachowski intends to introduce a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at the FCC’s October meeting to codify these two principles, in addition to the four open Internet principles that now guide the FCC's oversight and enforcement of communications law. FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn have already indicated they support stronger Net Neutrality rules.

Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, made the following statement:

New Legislation and Debate on Net Neutrality

New Legislation and Debate on Net Neutrality
By Christopher Kuttruff - t r u t h o u t | Report - Thursday 15 May 2008

Last week, lawmakers proposed legislation on network neutrality that would open up the possibility for antitrust lawsuits against companies that violate the bill's regulations. The bill has fueled the ongoing debate about the implications of network regulation.

On Thursday, May 8, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Michigan) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) introduced the "Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2008" (H.R. 5994) which seeks to prevent anti-competitive and discriminatory activity by broadband Internet service providers.

The legislation mirrors previous efforts undertaken in 2006 to amend The Clayton Antitrust Act (15 U.S.C. 12 et seq.) by making unlawful the failure to provide "broadband network services on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions." The 2006 bill, which passed the House Judiciary Committee by an overwhelming majority, was never brought before the House floor.