President should not control Internet


As the world watches the current state of chaos unfold in Egypt, one thing everyone is calling attention to is the nation's total lack of Internet access. Interestingly enough, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., has decided that now would be a good time to introduce an Internet blackout bill for the United States. If successful, the bill would give the president the ability to seize control of the Internet — and even shut it down, if deemed necessary — in the event of an emergency. This is a pretty hypocritical step, considering that President Barack Obama himself has urged the Egyptian government to restore Internet access to its citizens.

The mere proposition of this bill is unacceptable. Sponsors of the bill claim that the president would not use this power to control a rowdy populace, as is the case in Egypt. However, there is no way to guarantee that, and such a statement is certainly not one that anyone should ever take on good faith from their government. This is far too much power to concentrate in the hands of a governing body, much less in the hands of one man. If anything, this bill would make it easier for a president to establish some sort of totalitarian rule in a democratic nation. That may sound alarmist — and, in some ways, it is — but it's true. Allowing the president the ability to shut down the Internet at will is a dangerous step that could potentially have very negative repercussions.

The Internet should never be completely shut down, especially not in times of emergency, as the bill stipulates. In fact, the Internet is incredibly useful in emergencies. It is one of the most effective ways to communicate important information to masses of people at great speed. If the country were to enter a state of emergency, Internet communications would be the easiest way for the citizens to access information regarding said emergency. Shutting down the Internet would only rob the people of this important access, thus keeping them in the dark during a time when they should be as informed as possible.

It isn't that we feel the United States government is full of corrupt individuals who would jump at the chance to take advantage of the nation. Rather, it is that the people can never be too careful when the government starts acquiring the ability to control such integral aspects of their lives. We have to ask — will this bill really be used to promote safety, or will it be used to control the people, as the world has seen in Egypt?


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