Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

The Egyptian government — or perhaps a mysterious inter-dimensional vortex, we’re not sure which — has shut down some 99 percent of the Internet within Egypt as protests mount demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down. Mubarak has ruled autocratically for three decades and the protesters are fed up. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other cyber-tools have played a part in their protest, helping them document Egyptians’ clashes with authorities in word and image.

Declan McCullough, a veteran reporter on privacy and the Internet, observes that the Egyptian government is “conducting a high-profile experiment in what happens when a country with a $500 billion GDP, one that’s home to the pyramids and the Suez Canal, decides that Internet access should be restricted to a trickle.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, U.S. pols like Senator Joseph Lieberman are again pushing a bill to give the president authority to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” in the event of a crisis and shut down major portions of the Internet. For our own good, of course. No judicial review would be necessary before the executive branch could snap the cyber-spine.

Perhaps American politicians who advocate letting the president throw a so-called kill switch for the Internet in case of emergency would deny any tyrannical intentions. And perhaps their motives are indeed pure . . . in some aesthetic sense. But once you give government new authority to exercise destructive control over us, there is, of course, the temptation to use it.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Rick Johnson says:

    But, surely, the President would only shut down the internet in the best interests of the people; for our own good.

  2. 2WarAbnVet says:

    Be careful what you wish for. Perhaps most folks don’t remember the euphoria in 1960 over the defeat of the evil dictator Batista by the darling young revolutionary Castro. I’m just saying that shutting down Egypt’s internet may not bode ill for the US.

  3. Dee says:

    remember that power corrupts and absolute power will corrupts absolutely. We are and need to stay a free society, our thoughts and ideas are our intellectual property and should be protected under the laws of this land.

  4. Drik says:

    “Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; …”
    So sayeth Jefferson.

    We, however, are not well informed.
    Not even close to well informed.
    And the so-called “mainstream” media, ie NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, to name a few are complicit with the government in our mis-information.
    If Jefferson is right, then we are not to be trusted with the government or any decisions therein, because the government is in the disinformation and “nudge” business.
    In order for us to earn the right of decision, our first order of business, our first priority is a government that is also trustworthy, unlike the one so inconveniently exposed by Wikileaks.
    Power corrupts, and the exposure to the lack of consequences is the most corrupting. Bringing back accountability by repealing the 17th Amendment would go a LONG way towards shutting down that absence of consequences and restoring a balance of power to the states.
    If we are not a federation, and a republic then we are a failed state and it will only be a matter of curiosity of how long it takes for us to crash.

  5. Drik says:

    Obamacare would not exist if it were not for the 17th Amendment. No senator in their right mind would have shilled such a burden on the state governments and expected to keep their job.

  6. Brad says:


    The government already has too much power, any more and we will have a dictatorship.

    “No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Judge John Tyler, 1804

  7. ed kahn says:

    Mein Fuhrer, do not shut down the internet; Shut down only the NY Times and the Wash Post.

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