All our tubes are maybe not belong to us completely...or something:
CIVIL LIBERTARIANS, RISE! EXCELSIOR! But seriously:
Several lawmakers and the current Cyber Command chief Gen. Keith Alexander are toying with the notion of creating a ".secure" domain where Fourth Amendment rights to privacy are voluntarily foregone in order to keep that corner of the Internet free of cyber criminals.
I can't decide whether to flail, or nod and walk away from this one. The basic idea is that we could create a "dot-secure" safe zone, where financial institutions, the military, the government, etc. could operate under heavier security measures than are feasible in today's online world.
But, Amy...what about My Rights©?! Will they be taken away in this new "secure" online world?
In a word, yes. In today's intertubes, you enjoy all sorts of Constitutional rights; with this new system (so sayeth the aforementioned linked article), you wouldn't have those same rights--you'd have to waive them before you were allowed to access anything.
IN SOVIET RUSSIA, INTERNETS CHECK YOU!
Calm down. Yes, it seems extreme. It is extreme. Extreme like a security checkpoint at a military base, or a background check before gaining access to the White House.
Hmmm indeed. I took a quick look at a more detailed post on this issue, and what I read there gave me more pause than the short blurb from Fox:
Unlike .com, .xxx and other new domains now proliferating the Internet, .secure would require visitors to use certified credentials for entry and would do away with users' Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. Network operators in the financial sector, for example, would be authorized to scan account holders' traffic content for signs of trouble. The current Internet setup would remain intact for people who prefer to stay anonymous on the Web. [My emphasis added]
Who exactly will be able to scan my Googlings for "signs of trouble"? Hmm? I did my own quick scan of my searches from the past few days, and found quite a few "signs of trouble"
Sarah Palin campaign
"social media + terrorism"
"funding terrorism with twitter"
Hezbollah in Mexico
"Dodd Frank makes trading gold illegal
Looks like a conservative political blogger, right? Or, is it a vicious right winger bent on smuggling gold to Hezbollah to fund their support of the unions? HMMMM????
I don't hate the idea of giving financial institutions and the military a more secure, more widely accessible series of tubes. I really don't, if it means that the likes of Julian Assange, or the sleazebags over at Anonymous, will have a hell of a time publishing private information for all the world to see. My concern lies in the ability of "network operators" to hop into my traffic logs and see what I've been up to.
This is personal for me; I've been creeped by government officials. I've been hacked. I've been threatened, and I've been viciously cyberstalked because of what my "internet profile" says about me, my life, and my beliefs. I don't like the idea of opening this door, whether it be to DHS, or my bank's resident nerd.
If they have to say yes, that means they can say no.
Maintaining privacy online is essential to maintaining freedom of thought and expression. If we do end up with a ".secure" world, I hope the legislators will be very, very careful how they build it (snort). Scrubbing Constitutional rights in favor of heightened security might be expected and accepted when it comes to military security, but I tend to tread lightly on my right to privacy in the civilian sphere. I've already surrendered my existence to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+ (I have invites!), but that was by choice. I would be very, very hesitant to give my moderately respected stamp of approval to a law that would require me to check my privacy rights at the door in order access my financial information.
Why? Because it's mine. If the only way I can access my own personal information is by allowing some creep with a keyboard to check how many times I've visited Michele Bachmann's campaign website (once, thanks), I say that's going way, way too far.
Originally posted at Beyond Clause 8