Obama Good For The Internet? Some Have Their Doubts

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

The Barack Obama administration has outlined some of its policies following January's inauguation at Change.gov That site offers a pledge to protect the Internet from censorship and government interference.

"A key reason the internet has been such a success is because it is the most open network in history. It needs to stay that way. Barack Obama strongly supports the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the internet."

Eric Holder, President-elect Barack Obama's pick for attorney general, has a record that seems to contradict such a policy, however.

Holder's remarks as a top Justice Department official during the Clinton administration indicate support for laws mandating Internet traceability, limits on domestic use of encryption, and more restrictions on free speech online. He also called for new powers for federal prosecutors, some of which became law under President Bush as part of the USA Patriot Act.

In 1998, Holder talked about using federal obscenity law to crack down on porn Web sites featuring consenting adult performers. "Investigation and prosecution of Internet obscenity is particularly suitable for federal resources," Holder wrote in a memo. "Prosecution of cases involving relatively small distributors can have a deterrent effect."

Another point of congruence between Holder and his successors can be found in his support for greater law enforcement surveillance powers during the Clinton administration. In early 2000, he asked Congress for a set of new laws, including granting police the ability to obtain nationwide court orders for telephone surveillance. Another targeted cyberstalking.

"We recognize the importance the public attaches to individual privacy, and any legislation must be carefully balanced to avoid unnecessary infringement on the privacy rights we hold dear in this country," Holder said.

James G. Lakely of NewsBlaze had this to say on the subject:

"Barack Obama, self-confessed BlackBerry addict, will undoubtedly be the most tech-savvy president in history. But being tech-savvy isn't the same as being tech-smart.

"The combination of Obama in the White House and new leaders of key tech-related committees in Congress should send warning flags up for all who cherish the freedom and vitality of the Internet."

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher



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