Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blocking cell phones and internet

We'll control how you use 
your cell phone and the internet!

(c) ImageShack

Click here for related story [NY Times]

As we draw closer to the Presidential Election, it appears the Administration is increasing its attempts to control the internet and personal communications.

The New York Times story reports that the FCC is trying to determine if it has authority to shut down wireless service and
"... if it can preempt local, state, or government laws that prohibit or constrain the ability of anyone to interrupt service."

Burma and Egypt shut down cell phone service to disrupt protests  (c) Textually

Oddly, this FCC interest arose following an action in San Francisco, of all places, supposedly the nexus of liberal thought in the US. 

There, "... to promote public safety", the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) shut down cell phone service during public demonstrations following the police shooting of an Occupy Oakland protestor." 

Big Brother BART will protect you (c) GawkerAssets
BART decided there was
"... evidence of imminent unlawful activity threaten[ed] [public] safety..."

That meant the protestors could not communicate with each other, or send images of police misconduct. 

It also meant that non-protestors were incapacitated as well as their communications with families and businesses were shut down.

Ultimately, it meant that emergency situations in which individuals in physical distress [read heart attacks, etc.] could not be reported to summon an Emergency Medical Response Team.

Of course, BART's [or the FCC's] interpretation could be extended to apply to virtually any situation in which citizens challenge the public order or decisions made by public officials.

BART felt entitled to shut down the cell towers serving the transit system since they "belonged to BART."

That's odd. 

We would have thought the cell towers were built and are supported by taxpayer and ridership dollars; last we checked, BART answers to the citizens; it is neither an autonomous nor a police-state entity.   The FCC should keep its similar status in mind as well as it answers to Congress, which answers to the US Citizens, who expect their Constitutional Right to Freedom of Speech and Assembly to be not only honored, but to be "protected" by the Government.

Ostensibly, the FCC is airing this issue [very quietly we note] to determine the limitations on its potentially restrictive actions -- which might allow it to shut down the internet and cell phone usage as we near the national elections.

We would call that spurious conjecture had we not recently witnessed several bills before Congress seeking total control over the internet, and had we not just witnessed our beloved Attorney General shut down Kim DotCom's MegaUpload, and later declare that he needed a "crisis" to shut down the internet "... to protect the public safety, and the seizure of private files on the cloud as part of the MegaUpload shutdown.

Forming the Fourth Reich?   (c) Infinite Unknown
The paranoia builds also following the mysterious death [heart stoppage] of Andrew Breitbart, who had been in excellent health, shortly after he announced he was going to release tapes of Obama from his days at Harvard.  Reportedly, the tapes would shock the public.

Now, all this would seem unrelated, were we in different times.

But, since 2001 -- and actually before -- we've noticed restrictions on our Constitutional Rights being enacted piecemeal by Congress, and by Executive Agencies interpretation of existing legislation.

We look to our elected representatives like Congressman Issa to examine these Administration attempts to expand the cumulative police powers of these agencies -- hopefully, before we wake up one day and find ourselves in the midst of the Fourth Reich.