Category Archives: Internet Freedom

Lindsey Graham ♥’s Justin Amash

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Every libertarian and blogger’s favorite Senator, Lindsey Graham, is back with another memorable tweet that should be chronicled the annals of his greatest misses.  Graham, who isn’t sure bloggers have First Amendment protection, and who thinks free speech is a great idea, except that we’re in a war and you can’t have free speech in war, tweeted the following about the Amash Amendment:

Good read in today’s WSJ Editorial about problems with the Smith-Amash NDAA Amendment in the House of Reps.

The Wall Street Journal, standing as it does for unrestrained liberty for big banks, takes issue with the Tea Party Terror Flakeout (that’s the actual title of the editorial), arguing that it gives political cover to the ACLU.  Well, it also stands for a reinvigorated and meaningful Fourth Amendment limitation on government power.  The Journal, and its sycophant Senator Lindsey Graham, seek to undermine any notion that the NSA’s spying was illegal, unconstitutional, or unnecessary.  No, no, no…our Founders would have chosen security over liberty, which is why they didn’t revolt against the Crown…oh, wait.

Amash vows to continue fighting against NSA surveillance

justin amash

Following a surprisingly close vote on Capitol Hill Wednesday evening, the libertarian congressman who tried to stop the National Security Agency’s blanketing collection of domestic phone records vowed to further his fight against NSA surveillance.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) was unsuccessful with his attempt to tack an amendment on to an upcoming Pentagon appropriations bill Wednesday night that would have barred the NSA from using a PATRIOT Act provision to collect the phone records of all Americans. But despite being relatively new to DC politics, the 33-year-old lawmaker garnered support from both sides of the aisle before and after an evening of heated testimony that ended with a 205-217 vote that shut-down his amendment, co-sponsored by colleague Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan).

Tax bill Hurts the American taxpayer, Business Owners, and YOUR INTERNET PRIVACY


This morning I received an email from Campaign for Liberty. A serious warning and call to action to stop the Federal monster from once again attacking our freedoms online through government terrorism. Please read this important message below about the National Internet Tax Mandate and then TAKE ACTION to stop another Washington DC aggression against the American people.


Dear Patriot,

The power to tax is the power to destroy – and now the ability to track what you purchase.

Legislation recently passed through the U.S. Senate would force small Internet businesses to become sales tax collectors for nearly 10,000 tax jurisdictions.

If passed, the National Internet Tax Mandate would raise taxes on all Americans, as a state sales tax on all goods purchased online would be implemented.

But that’s not all it does.

Truth Up: NSA Edition


It’s your daily re-truthing, and today we’re focused on the ever-evolving NSA spying stories.  The First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles has joined forces with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Human Rights Watch, People for the American Way, and other organizations to sue the NSA for violating their First Amendment right of association by illegally collecting their phone records.  Represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the plaintiffs are suing the NSA over its bulk telephone records collection program, the same program that the New York Times characterized as criminal.

Revelations continue to come about the NSA’s spying programs, particularly the existence of an NSA program named FAIRVIEW, which is an “upstream” program designed to collect information before it even reaches the Internet.  According to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, FAIRVIEW is intended to “own the Internet.”  FAIRVIEW, according to Drake, is “just a name, that at the highest level means to own the Internet” by enabling the NSA to tap fiber optic cables to access information securely before it even reaches the Internet.

To Kill The Internet Sales Tax


The unintended consequences of an Internet Sales Tax

Our tax code is broken. The only people who will disagree with that statement are those who personally profit from the broken system. While our government seems completely incapable of producing a positive vision to escape the multitude of current problems, their imagination knows no bounds when it comes to creative ways to create new taxes.

As far as taxes go, the sales tax seems to be one of the least intrusive and equitable. It’s far superior to the income tax, which demands government intrusion into every aspect of your life that involves the almighty dollar (read: everything).

A Case Against CISPA and for the Internet


Chicago April 18, 2013 – The story to come out of Boston is still in flux, and we are only now putting together the pieces of what happened in the aftermath of that terrible event. It will take much longer to piece together what preceded it. But we now know that within several hours of the attack, law enforcement had named a “person of interest” (an amorphous word that allows media and law enforcement alike to get around calling someone a “suspect” when there is a dearth of evidence against him): a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian student who was here on a student visa. Lest anyone think he was merely profiled for being Saudi Arabian, he was behaving suspiciously, according to witnesses: when the bomb went off, he ran away from it. It did not take long to clear him of any wrongdoing. But first, law enforcement had to ransack his apartment in Revere, Mass., and interrogate his roommate for several hours.

Within 48 hours of the Boston Marathon bombing, two other communities of laymen were conducting their own investigations. The first,, produced 14 threads (each with thousands of comments) over the course of two days. Many of those threads were dedicated to disseminating information about the bombing, and about relief efforts. But some of the comments were directed towards aggregating information, any information, that would become useful in identifying the perpetrator. Soon, the site was inundated with videos and photographs of the scene in the lead-up to the bombing, and in the moments thereafter. When law enforcement revealed that the bomb was likely transported in a black backpack, with silver reflective strips, the pictures were combed for information, in a project dubbed “Where’s Waldo?” by reddit moderators.

A Skype call in Ethiopia will now get you 15 years in prison

A 30-second call using Skype in Ethiopia can land you a 15-year prison sentence, thanks to new legislation passed by the country’s government.

The new legislation will criminalize the use of all Voice Over IP (VoIP) services, such as Skype or Google Voice, from within the country, according to an Al Jazeera report. The legislation, which was voted into law last month with little notice from international media, seems to close a loophole that was allowing some of its citizens to communicate without being monitored by authorities.

The country’s sole communication infrastructure is operated by government-run telecomEthio Teleco. The new legislation empowers the state-owned telecom to prohibit the use not only of VoIP services, but also of video chatting, social media, e-mail, and any other data transfer service capable of communicating information. So that encompass pretty much all communication except for speaking aloud and talking within your own mind.

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Google and Apple use spy planes that can film you sunbathing in your back garden

Spy planes able to photograph sunbathers in their back gardens are being deployed by Google and Apple.

The U.S. technology giants are racing to produce aerial maps so detailed they can show up objects just four inches wide.

But campaigners say the technology is a sinister development that brings the surveillance society a step closer…


….Google will use its spy planes to help create 3D maps with much more detail than its satellite-derived Google Earth images.

Apple hopes its rumoured mapping service for the iPhone and iPad will overtake the hugely popular Google Maps

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, warned that privacy risked being sacrificed in a commercial ‘race to the bottom’.

‘The next generation of maps is taking us over the garden fence,’ he warned. ‘You won’t be able to sunbathe in your garden without worrying about an Apple or Google plane buzzing overhead taking pictures.
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Hate SOPA And CISPA? Get Ready For A Steady Stream Of Internet Regulation Bills

Is 2012 a landmark year for Internet security bills, or is it just the tip of the iceberg?


So far this year we’ve had SOPA, CISPA, CSA and SECURE IT – the latter three still up for votes in the Senate or House. It’s doubtful that any of them will pass in the current legislative session but it does raise an interesting point: why are so many Internet protection bills suddenly coming up in Congress?

For one simple reason: for the first time since the War of 1812, the US cannot protect its borders.

We are witnessing the start of a massive shift in how sovereign countries assert power and control their borders. Until recently, global power has come down to controlling the world’s oceans, which the US Navy (and her allies) has done successfully since 1945. But now cyberspace is surpassing the world’s oceans as the primary means for transit, shipping goods and of course attack.

Part of the problem is the difficulty in developing policy over abstract concepts that are poorly understood by the public or any governing body. For example, cyberspace is not a place in the traditional terms. And its very nebulousness means there are tipping points in cyberspace that

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Insanity: CISPA Just Got Way Worse, And Then Passed On Rushed Vote

from the this-is-crazy dept


Up until this afternoon, the final vote on CISPA was supposed to be tomorrow. Then, abruptly, it was moved up today—and the House voted in favor of its passage with a vote of 248-168. But that’s not even the worst part.

The vote followed the debate on amendments, several of which were passed. Among them was an absolutely terrible change (pdf and embedded below—scroll to amendment #6) to the definition of what the government can do with shared information, put forth by Rep. Quayle. Astonishingly, it was described as limiting the government’s power, even though it in fact expands it by adding more items to the list of acceptable purposes for which shared information can be used. Even more astonishingly, it passed with a near-unanimous vote. The CISPA that was just approved by the House is much worse than the CISPA being discussed as recently as this morning.

Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for “cybersecurity” or “national security” purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.


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