We have just passed through the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) brouhaha.
A bill intended to stop theft – an important goal, and a necessary function of government. But SOPA was overly broad, and deserved in its most recent iteration to go away – which it did.
Because of a bipartisan oppositional uprising – but the two sides arose for very different reasons.
The Theft-Left is vociferously opposed to private property rights. SOPA is aimed at protecting private property. So the Left said No.
The Right is loathe to grow government control of anything – including the Web. And having just witnessed the recent Big Government Network Neutrality Internet power grab, their antennae were highly sensitized – and they said No.
Now, Washington is talking cyber security. Where there is, again, a legitimate role for government – but we have, again, a bill that defines said role much too broadly.
Before we get to SOPA-level heights of righteous (Right) and faux-righteous (Left) indignation, let us reflect – and reset.
The cyber security legislative overreach in question is California Republican Dan Lungren’s HR 3647 – the PrECISE Act. A similar Senate bill will be proffered on February 17 – by the very awful Senate Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Lungren’s bill makes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the decision-making hub for all things cyber security. For the government – AND the private sector.
The government would take the lead role in developing, implementing, and conducting on-going tests of cyber incident response plans.
And we all know how well the government does when taking the lead on things.
Lungren’s bill creates a whole new level of bureaucracy – in a nonprofit entity called the National Information Sharing Organization (NISO). And it sounds an awful lot like some of the criss-cross-government personnel monstrosities created by ObamaCare (and others). And is a Crony Socialist and Media Marxist nightmare mess waiting to happen.
NISO’s Board of Directors consists of:
- One representative from the Department of Homeland Security and four representatives from three different Federal agencies with significant responsibility for cyber security.
- Ten private sector representatives, including at least one member representing a small business interest. These must represent each of the following sectors and sub-sectors:
- Banking and finance
- Defense industrial base
- Energy, electricity sub sector
- Energy, oil, and natural gas sub sector
- Heath care and public health
- Information technology
Behold the Crony Socialist Bureau. You can just imagine the size of the campaign contributions necessary to land here. But it’ll be worth it. You’ll get to then write regulations that benefit you and hamstring your competitors. And receive exclusive shots at myriad government contracts. And….
- Two representatives from the privacy and civil liberties community.
It will undoubtedly look like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age. On which not a single conservative organization sits – but more than a dozen Leftist groups do.
A little ironic for a “diversity” panel, is it not?
And last but not least:
- The Chair of the National Council of Information Sharing and Analysis Center
NISO is a bureaucratic, sclerotic crony-fest at best. It is a totalitarian Cyber Bureau at worst.
Thanks, but no thanks.
There are better, less government-centric cyber security views out there. There’s the House Republican Cyber Security Task Force report. And a quartet of Republican Senators recently penned an op-ed that lays out a much-better-than-Reid-and-Lungren outlook.
Let’s go the less government route, shall we?
These piecemeal attempts at Internet legislation are indicators of a broader problem.
The last time Congress wrote telecommunications law was…1996. Not to overstate it – but things have changed a little.
(Un)intentional government overreaches like SOPA and the Reid-Lungren cyber security bills keep happening because the Internet (and Internet-connected smart phones) exist in an outdated legal no-mans-land.
Dramatic, intentional power grabs like Net Neutrality are the result of government thuggery – but with some grey-area obfuscation cover provided by this lack of legislative clarity.
Remember, Ladies and Gentlemen, we conservatives believe in less government – not none. Laws can be written to constrain We the People – or to constrain the government. They in fact must be written to control the latter.
When the lines aren’t clearly drawn so as to confine the Leviathan – it inexorably expands its reach. We have long since passed this point with the World Wide Web.
Which has rapidly become a free speech, free market Xanadu. But in so doing has created some new, unique problems – that do in fact require some legislation.
It is time for a government-confining refresh of the now hopelessly antiquated 1996 Telecommunications Act.
Which will go a long way towards helping put a stop to the Big Government Internet atrocities and absurdities that have recently been foisted upon us.