Time Magazine has enthusiastically jumped on the bandwagon to back Microsoft executive Craig Mundie’s call for Internet licensing, as authorities push for a system even more stifling than in Communist China, where only people with government permission would be allowed to express free speech.
As we reported earlier this week, during a recent conference at the Davos Economic Forum, Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer for Microsoft, told fellow globalists at the summit that the Internet needed to be policed by means of introducing licenses similar to drivers licenses – in other words government permission to use the web.
His proposal was almost instantly advocated by Time Magazine, who published an article by Barbara Kiviat – one of Mundie’s fellow attendees at the elitist confab. It’s sadistically ironic that Kiviat’s columns run under the moniker “The Curious Capitalist,” since the ideas expressed in her piece go further than even the free-speech hating Communist Chinese have dared venture in terms of Internet censorship.
“Now, there are, of course, a number of obstacles to making such a scheme be reality,” writes Kiviat. “Even here in the mountains of Switzerland I can hear the worldwide scream go up: “But we’re entitled to anonymity on the Internet!” Really? Are you? Why do you think that?”
Kiviat ludicrously compares the necessity to show identification when entering a bank vault to the apparent need for authorities to know who you are when you set up a website to take credit card payments.
“The truth of the matter is, the Internet is still in its Wild West phase. To a large extent, the law hasn’t yet shown up. Yet as more and more people move to town, that lawlessness is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. As human societies grow over time they develop more rigid standards for themselves in order to handle their increased size. There is no reason to think the Internet shouldn’t follow the same pattern,” she writes.
“The people in charge—as much as anyone can be in charge when it comes to the Internet—are thinking about it,” Kiviat barks in her conclusion, seemingly comfortable with the notion that shadowy individuals and not the Constitution itself are “in charge” of deciding who is allowed free speech.
Despite Kiviat’s mealy-mouthed authoritarianism and feigned reasonableness in advocating such a system, Mundie’s proposal is little different to a similar system already considered by officials in Communist China to force bloggers to register their identities before they could post. At the time the idea was attacked by human rights advocates as an obvious ploy “by which the government could control information” and crack down on dissent.
Indeed, the proposal was deemed too severe and the Chinese government eventually backed down. So a system considered too authoritarian and too much of a threat to freedom in Communist China is seemingly just fine and dandy in the “land of the free,” according to Kiviat and her ilk.
Unfortunately for her, Kiviat was immediately reminded about what makes the Internet such a threat to the ruling elite for whom she is a well-trained apologist – almost every comment below her article disagreed with her.
“No. A thousand times no. This benefits no one but “the people in charge,” wrote one respondent.
“Drivers’ licenses ensure a basic level of driving competency, so that 13-year-olds don’t get drunk and drive into a schoolbus. That kind of stupidity doesn’t happen on the Internet. Enough security theater! Focus on actual security. Truly awful idea, Barbara.”
“I, for one, welcome our new internet overlords. It will be a comforting time when “the law” comes along to protect people from themselves on the net, because gosh darn it, freedom is dangerous,” quips another. “Not to mention, standards only ever come about through coercive government action, and never through private parties responding to their own incentives.”
I think bloggers ought to be fingerprinted, DNA tested for abnormalities and have the information safely stored in a government vault. That way when some authoritarian ruler of pit, decides you have broken his self made tyrannic law he can prosecute you,” jokes another respondent. “For being a journalist you sure are s—-d, anonymity protects the right of free speech especially when the scary internet is most dangerous in a nation that prosecutes freedom of speech and opinion. The biggest thugs and criminals you mentioned are corrupt governments. I bet you love China’s safe internet measures huh? But there are worse than China.”
“The internet is the only thing preventing total tyranny right now, and they are trying everything they can to chill free speech. There is NO grass roots movement anywhere calling for government intervention in the internet. It is not broken. It works too well, that is a problem for tyrants,” points out another.
Shortly after Time Magazine started peddling the proposal, the New York Times soon followed suit with a blog this morning entitled Driver’s Licenses for the Internet? which merely parrots Kiviat’s talking points.
Of course there’s a very good reason for Time Magazine and the New York Times to be pushing for measures that would undoubtedly lead to a chilling effect on free speech which would in turn eviscerate the blogosphere.
Like the rest of the mainstream print dinosaurs, physical sales of Time Magazine have been plummeting, partly as a result of more people getting their news for free on the web from independent sources that don’t feed at the trough of the military-industrial complex. Ad sales for the New York Times sunk by no less than 28 per cent last year with subscriptions and street sales also falling.
“The Internet, where newspapers are generally free, has siphoned off circulation and advertising,” conceded an October 2009 NY Times article, which is precisely why establishment publications like the Old Gray Lady and Time are pushing proposals that would strangle the blogosphere and in turn eliminate their competition – while devastating free speech all in one foul swoop.