Internet Freedom Update

The internet has been a hot topic in the news recently, often in the context of how the freedoms enjoyed via this growing medium are being threatened by governmental actions. In addition to recent posts on this very page, a few other stories in this vein, with both national and global implications, have been making the rounds recently:

- While it is unlikely that any of our readers sympathize with the Somali militant/terrorist group Shabab, there are at least some among you who might be concerned with government efforts to shut down the group's Twitter account. Apparently the US military complex hasn't taken too kindly to Shabab's mocking of the Kenyan military via Tweets and is seeking out legal avenues to shut down its means of communication. Twitter representatives declined to comment on the story.

- In what is merely the latest attempt at legislation to 'enhance cyber security', the House Homeland Security Committee recently introduced a bill which would establish an entity to oversee information-sharing. The mostly-Republican supported bill would require private firms to share information on cyber threats. The legislation has some similarities to other recent proposals, but it is unclear what actual enforcement mechanisms it might create to accompany the mandate to share information.

- And, in a slight change of direction from stories we normally discuss in this realm, someone in the government is warning that greater regulation of the internet could be a threat to freedom. Of course, this one is a little different because it deals with the UN, and not the US government, creating the regulatory system, so maybe the reticence around the idea can be chalked up more to concerns about sovereignty than internet freedom. However, in either case there is quite a bit of material for domestic internet freedom advocates sprinkled throughout FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell's comments to The Washington Times recently.

Those interested in additional stories related to this topic can visit our November post Freedom v. Security, Tech-Style here.  

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