Freedom advocates breathed sigh of relief when a coalition of Senate Republicans and a few Democrats opposed the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 3414). Unfortunately, the recent setback of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 has all the earmarks a false sense of security. The timing has created a false impression that Internet regulation legislation has failed for this session of Congress, but the 112th Congress is virtually certain to convene a lame duck session after the election.
Although Senate Republicans rejected cybersecurity legislation last week, President Obama may yet rule on the issue, once again bypassing the legislative branch and the separation of powers set out in the Constitution. According to a report in The Hill, President Obama is mulling the issuing of an executive order to create “law” where Congress failed to do so.
As the international effort to deploy so-called “smart meters” to monitor electricity usage marches on, resistance to the controversial devices is increasing around the world as well. Proponents claim the schemes could save money and reduce energy use. Opponents from across the political spectrum, however, worry that the smart meters might not be just a stupid idea and a waste of money — they could actually be dangerous in more ways than one.
As the technology facilitating the expansion of the surveillance state becomes more advanced, the need for proximity to the target of the surveillance diminishes. For example, the ability to keep drones perpetually airborne is being engineered thanks to multi-million dollar research and development grants offered by the Pentagon to companies on the edge of technological advancement.
Imagine that the U.S. government had the power to scour the reams of public records and collect and collate every bit of personal information about every citizen of this country. Now imagine that any of the various intelligence and security agencies within the government could combine that data with any other information about a person that has been posted to a social media website or compiled by one of the many data aggregating companies that keep tabs on all of us.
Senator Rand Paul began with a story that got a huge laugh from standing-room-only crowd at FreedomFest. “As you may know,” he said, “I have sort of a love/hate relationship with the TSA.” He paused and then added, “Well, let’s be honest. It’s more of a hate/hate relationship.”
The U.S. Air Force is training more drone “pilots” than those who will be at the controls of traditional aircraft, according to the Air Force chief of staff.
In advance of the announcement of his vice-presidential running mate, Mitt Romney has released a smartphone app that is capable of tracking users' GPS location, as well as writing to their SD card.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's bill to protect citizens from surveillance by drones needs 48 more cosponsors in order to rein in the Supreme Court's approvals of such surveillance.
About a year ago, a federal appeals court ordered the deeply unpopular Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to obey the law and hold public hearings on its widely loathed “naked body scanners.” The massive bureaucracy flouted the judicial order and has so far failed to comply. This week, however, the court demanded that the Department of Homeland Security explain itself by the end of the month.