DHS Official Thinks People Should Have To Give Up Their Anonymity To Use The Internet

Tech Dirt – by Tim Cushing

Apparently, the only way to stop terrorists from hating us for our freedom is to strip away those offensive freedoms.

Erik Barnett, the DHS’s attache to the European Union, pitched some freedom-stripping ideas to a presumably more receptive audience via an article for a French policy magazine. Leveraging both the recent Paris attacks and the omnipresent law enforcement excuse for any bad idea — child porn — Barnett suggested victory in the War on Terror can be achieved by stripping internet users of their anonymity. You know, all of them, not just the terrorists.   

After a short anecdote about a successful child porn prosecution in Europe. Barnett gets straight to the point. Here’s Kieren McCarthy of The Register.

Before we have an opportunity to celebrate, however, Barnett jumps straight to terrorism. “How much of the potential jihadists’ data should intelligence agencies or law enforcement be able to examine to protect citizenry from terrorist attack?”, he poses. The answer, of course, is everything.

Then the pitch: “As the use of technology by human beings grows and we look at ethical and philosophical questions surrounding ownership of data and privacy interests, we must start to ask how much of the user’s data is fair game for law enforcement to protect children from sexual abuse?”

In short, if you value internet-related freedoms, you’re basically supporting terrorism and child porn. No person — especially no legislator — would want to be seen as valuing personal freedoms over the good of the nation’s infrastructure/children. And, because terrible ideas must be buttressed by terrible analogies, Barnett theorizes that the internet is basically a car.

“When a person drives a car on a highway, he or she agrees to display a license plate. The license plate’s identifiers are ignored most of the time by law enforcement [unless] the car is involved in a legal infraction or otherwise becomes a matter of public interest. Similarly, should not every individual be required to display a ‘license plate’ on the digital super-highway?”

To use the Fourth Amendment for a moment, a lowered expectation of privacy is in play when operating a vehicle on public roads. However, the Fourth Amendment affords a great deal of privacy to the interior of people’s homes. Because the government (in most cases) does not provide internet access, it has no basis to demand ongoing access to citizens’ internet activities. Itmay acquire this information (along with subscriber info) using search warrants and subpoenas during the course of investigations, but it cannot demand (or at least shouldn’t) — for national security reasons or otherwise — that every internet user be immediately identifiable.

Discussions of requiring a license for internet usage have been raised previously but rarely go anywhere. To do so is to start heading down the path to totalitarianism. Unfortunately, being in a constant state of war against an ambiguous foe often results in legislators and government officials declaring their interest in seeing this path not only surveyed, but the first layer of asphalt applied.

Barnett is one of this number, and he wants a strawman to serve as construction foreman.

“Social media is used to generate support for terrorist groups … How appropriate is the law enforcement engagement of the social media companies to reveal digital fingerprints of these extremist groups? Who determines the level of ‘extremism’ of a group? Few would disagree that law enforcement and intelligence services should have the ability…”

Actually, lots of people would disagree, starting with many citizens and running all the way up to their service providers. On top of that, the nation’s courts would find the institution of a law that strips the anonymity of internet users to be unconstitutional, so that’s another hurdle Barnett and like-minded officials would not be able to clear, no matter their stated justification.


11 thoughts on “DHS Official Thinks People Should Have To Give Up Their Anonymity To Use The Internet

  1. Who cares? If your on this site, your already on the beach blanket bingo list. List me away all you devil worshiping, transgenderized, subhuman pieces of trash!

    1. “Barnett suggested victory in the War on Terror can be achieved by stripping internet users of their anonymity.”

      Hmmmm, Seeing Carnivore, Echelon and the NSA and all the other intel organizations that have been doing side investigations of any and everything they can put their sensors on (Including main hubs of communication providers.), and nothing they do or come up with (Baby MR Bush’es miserably failed secret sources and methods that cost the taxpayer more then a decent education program.) helps.

      Them evil terrorists keep surprising the authoritarians with stunning actions that no-one in the box would ever think of (Dr Rice.). Mostly during fancy named drills where first res-ponders react to exactly the scenario that goes live during the exercise (It is like them terrorists have better means of Intel then the Authoritarians.). Things normal people only hear about AFTER the fact and when they fall out of the Top Secret domain… Not to forget where dopey terrorists have to be guided on the plane by officials, when the normal passengers have to go through screening as for example in Amsterdam, to then in order not to clog up the justice system with their terrorist cause or put to much information out about their cause, with as much public exposure for the cause as possible, claim guilty for a deal with their mortal enemy instead of doing what someone would do, that has already ended his or her life with a suicide action that would kill them and is now going through the formalities.
      Nono, they disappear without as much as a ripple behind prison bars.. (We are led to believe..)

      It is almost like a religion. If you can make them believe BS, you can make them believe anything as long as it is based on the basic meme who was implanted in fear during shock.

      1. I’ve been on some kind of list all of my life. Clinton initiated the patriot act, Bush drove it home. This is the treason that bites at me the hardest. I could care less about some fag putting me on a list.

        1. “This is the treason that bites at me the hardest.”

          It is their pre-reaction to the knowledge that more and more Americans will be radicalized when they find out the truth of what has been going on for hundreds of years. They have to pre-empt this statistical reaction.

          The Patriot Act I + II, NDAA are just the topping of the pie. The only answer they can come up with (Based on historic outcomes.), without upping the dose of Fluoride to lethal levels in order to avoid what they perceive as inevitable.

          What they as always refuse to see is that Totalitarianism BREEDS Freedom Fighters or whatever the name Authoritarians give to people that stand up, be counted and fight for their ideals that are contrary to those of them Totalitarians.

          (Interesting to note that the Totalitarians don’t leave any other choice then fighting since every other lawful way has been locked down by punishment. {China’s Dissidents as example.})

  2. If access to the internet becomes worse, I’d cut off service. I think many would and the internet providers would lose a lot of money.

    1. 🙂 Good one. 🙂

      Judge Roberts will makes it a tax, after the next president signs the Affordable Internet Act.

      The precedent has been set. Who are you and how long can you financially refuse not to have or use the internet?

  3. I look at it this way,,
    If your not on their list ,, than you arnt trying hard enough , and probably arnt very “American” or dont give a crap about your rights

  4. and here is a wake up call

    they aint gonna tell you when this is done or complete .. you may think you still have some anonymity on line , but that that horse already left the barn too

  5. “When a person drives a car on a highway (the highway they paid for), he or she agrees to display (is forced to pay registration, title, and licensing fee) a license plate.” Then they say something like, “unless you show up on our radar, we don’t even look at you ‘invisible’ people.”

    What, are they trying to tell me they can’t back trace a comment on a website now?

  6. “Do it for the children” can be used to justify literally ANY government violation of privacy.

    “Don’t want the police reading your email? You must be in favor of child porn.”

    “Want to be anonymous on the Internet? You must be a terrorist.”

    Before we know it, we’ll start that argument extended even further:

    “Don’t want mandatory installation of surveillance cameras in your home? You must want people to get away with child abuse.”

    Enough is enough! The fact that some people abuse their rights does NOT, by any means, give the government license to take away those rights from everyone else.

    1. “Enough is enough! The fact that some people abuse their rights does NOT, by any means, give the government license to take away those rights from everyone else.”

      Love it.

      How many examples do you need to realize that they factually and actually have been splitting up society in people that are victimized by their rights taken away on one issue, and the ones that for that particular issue don’t give a sh!t since they don’t use that right and thusly justify not have to stand up for those with other Americans…

      Divide and Conquer… Do everything to keep them from realizing that in the end they are all Americans, and that not using a particular right means not that it should be taken away from anyone else.

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