• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Al Gore Didn’t Invent the Internet, and Obama Can’t Control It

    While Al Gore claimed to invent the internet, he didn’t. Some say Leonard Kleinrock did, others say it was a little government agency called DARPA. If you listen to some members of Congress lately, however, apparently President Obama will soon be able to control the internet. In fact, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 and/or similar draft legislation by Senators Rockefeller/Snowe, would give the President the power to ‘control’ the internet in case of emergency.

    The ability to achieve such a lofty goal aside, too many questions and not enough answers emerge when one looks at why we need this type of legislation. The President has ample authority to take appropriate steps in case of a national emergency. Even with control of the internet, what use would it serve? To send out messages to the public? Look at the Iranian protests—the public did an awfully good job of getting messages out to the rest of the world on what was occurring. To protect critical infrastructure? Seems like putting the cart before the horse—we haven’t been able to determine the appropriate roles and responsibilities for the private sector in terms of critical infrastructure, and now we are going to give at least one of their responsibilities away?

    More fundamentally, the idea that the President can control the internet is laughable. The technology isn’t there. The legal authorities aren’t there. And what about that pesky “freedom of expression”?

    This is simply the wrong course for cyber security. And it is an embarrassing first step for a Congress and a new Administration that have placed cyber security at the top of their homeland security priorities. We need to concentrate on developing cyber security leaders. James Carafano and Eric Sayers point that out in their Backgrounder, Building Cyber Security Leadership in the 21st Century.

    The Obama Administration just had its new cyber czar exit stage left. This legislation has ignited a firestorm around a completely unworkable, unconstitutional idea. Cyber security has official woken up on the wrong side of the bed.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    42 Responses to Al Gore Didn’t Invent the Internet, and Obama Can’t Control It

    1. Doug Graham, Utah says:

      This is another in a long string of efforts to take over and control portions of our private lives for no credible reason. Any President who surrounds himself with Socialists and avowed Communists.

      Please help protect us from these villains that are against Individual Rights and Freedoms.

    2. Dave, Colorado says:

      While in an emergency, I might trust a more mature president to regulate internet traffic, I won't trust Obama to walk my dog. He sure looks, smells, and acts like a communist and certainly has surrounded himself with folks that would never have gotten a top secret ( or even lower grade) security clearance in past administrations.

    3. obamanationblog.blog says:

      I don't think a more mature president would be better or worse. Its not the issue of WHO is regulating our access to the internet, but why? What rights do they have granting or denying our access to information? This is a very weak bill with holes so big that it could sink America's security and freedoms in a matter of switching on or off the electricity.

    4. USMCRich82 says:

      If this legislation were to go through, as written, we would essentially be Iran when the next election comes around. The protests will start when the ballots are fixed, and the internet would be cut off.

      Wake up America.

    5. Vested says:

      The "emergency" would be that somebody like Obama would try to lock down this country like N. Korea or China.

      We should protect the internet like we do our second ammendment right to possess firearms. Maybe we need a law to that effect. It could one day be our only defense – as was demonstrated recently in Iran. In a worst case scenario, the internet might become our only lifeline.

      To my knowledge, the only countries that can currently (legally) control the internet are N. Korea, China, maybe Venezuela, and maybe Saudi Arabia. What does that tell you?

    6. Kevin McCarthy, Virg says:

      It's about stifling free speech. . especially speech that exposes the Left for what it is. These folks are dead serious about identifing "enemies" had eliminating them from the playing field. I shudder to think of what lengths these criminals would go to exact their ends. . .

    7. Bobbie Jay says:

      This government and the leader continue to step over the line ignoring the rightful responsibilities of their rightful duty. Creating these crazy scare tactics to assume the ultimate take-over of everything American. FREEDOM (as we've lost much as it is) WILL BE THE FIRST REMOVED.

    8. Susan, Missouri says:

      We in Missouri will warm up the Pony Express horses in the event it happens AND he manages to get the Fairness Doctrine through. Even without the internet, communications would still go on via cell phones,land lines, handwritten letters, neighbors visiting over backyard fences.

      There's no conceivable reason why he or any president would need "emergency" control of the internet. Particularly since they would be deciding what constitutes an emergency, how long it would last, and if it would ever end.

      Sounds much too much like what the people in China are holding up under in those oppressive regimes.

    9. Christopher Popham S says:

      Saturday, September 12th is only eleven days away.

      We are going to make history.

    10. Pingback: Something or Nothing | Reading between the lines of today's news.

    11. Roger S., Ma. says:

      Not even the Chinese have Cybersec that works perfectly, and they've been "practicing" a lot longer. Hey, Dave, I wouldn't trust him to walk his OWN dog — he'd probably forget the "poop-scoop"! Hey, even the new "Cyber-Czar" quit. Wonder why? My guess is that the "community of electrons" has few similarities to the UAW, or SEIU, or OFA. To manage electrons, he needs to have more than a few easy phrases and smiles, and 15$/hr of taxpayer or fund-raiser money! Just a guess.

    12. MaryAnn, USA says:

      Why do some people keep using "Obama" and "the constitution" or "constituitional authority" in the same sentence, or even the same thought? Obama does not like the constitution- he has said so himself. Moreover, he could not care less about it or it's authority. Everything he has done since January has been outside constitutional authority.

    13. Jeff, Cincinnati says:

      NObamanomics, NObamacare, NObamacars, NObamabanks combined with an attempt to control the internet and control freedom of speech….. socialism to dictatorship. This seems to be the democratic party line. Viva "The One" (insert sarcastic remark and profanity)

    14. RG St Simons Is says:

      Kevin is correct. It's not about security. It's about stiffeling opposition and free speech. And since when did the Constition ever get in the way?

    15. Bob, Portland, OR says:

      To me this represents a real threat to our freedom. Everything Mr.Obama is attempting to do threatens our freedom.

      I am curios though, why they (democrats) seem to be so confident in their purpose.

      Everyday it is something else. Health care, cap and trade, swine flue rules, the "Arts Propoganda Program", green jobs, fairness doctrin, that internet thing and oh yes the economy to name a few.

      It is almost like they are intentionally trying to raise the temperature of the American People.

      Gosh, it is almost like they are following a text book on how to create a revolution to "Change" America. But what do I know.

      It sure can be overwhelming.

      Mr. Obama, you can bring us all of your silly ideas about changing our country, you can intentionally hold down our economy and cause the very human suffering you to claim to abhor.

      We know what you are doing and how you plan to pull it off.

      You see Mr. Obama, we are Americans and we are smarter than you thought. We will stay calm, although provoked everyday, and in 2010 we will exercise our rights as Americans and vote your friends out of office.

      Any questions?

    16. JOJOFLA says:

      I agree again with Kevin. Allowing the Obama administration to keep making up it's own rules and ignoring OUR Constitution is a domestic threat and in my opinion is grounds for treason. I cannot wait till the next election in 2012. The grassroots movement needs to grow and stop this administration from destroying our country and the freedom we and those before us fought and died for.

    17. Chuck, Greenville SC says:

      The internet is the ultimate First Amendment tool. It enables freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion to flourish like never before in the history of man kind. I can post a message that I want to spread, in any number of places where it can be seen by millions of people. This is a power few people had just 20 years ago.

      There is no legitimate reason for the government to ever take control of the internet, even in the case of some form of cyber attack, the ones best able to handle it are the techno geeks that work for the private companies that operate the systems.

      That fact that Obama and company want to try to take it over is absolute proof that they are opposed to freedom and particularly those freedoms protected by First Amendment. The only possible motive for government control of the internet is the sniffling and even silencing of its bounty of free speech.

    18. Rubicon, Southcentra says:

      Lets face it, many here have already realized the "real" purpose of controlling the internet, or talk radio, or any other communications medium, is control. And, trusting control to the likes of Obama is simply not in the cards. The left would not agree to let Bush have such power, so why should the right agree to let Obama have such power?

      In the end, technologically, they cannot do this very effectively. We will find a way around such restrictions, unless they shut down the satellites. And if they do, they too are blind.

      What these guys want is not the ability to shut down the internet. They want to be able to 'manage' the messages on it & 'monitor' the messages & who is saying what. Look at the health care snitch email setup. It was designed to 'get names.' That is their goal.

      Enemies lists are being developed & the PR campaign to portray some as enemies is also underway already.

      The DHS "right wing extremists" report was compiled from data culled from visiting internet sites & data supplied by radical leftist activist groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center & the Anti-Defamation League. These groups idea's of freedom & actions our government should take are seriously different than the idea's of most Americans. So its not to control the net or anything else. Its to get names.

      Now, what do you think folks who call average folks 'unAmerican', astro-turf', 'mobs,' etc., would do with such a list of names?

      The truth is, the left is channeling. They see themselves & they want to make sure others cannot stop them.

    19. Dean- Texas/Alaska says:

      What the National Socialist Party did to displace the Republic in Weimar Germany was to manufacture a "crisis" by creating hyper-inflation thereby destroying the value of the currency. Which then allowed "Der Furer" to remove the already registered and heavily regulated personal weapons from those clinging to them. Which made it a lot safer for his civilian "peacekeeping" force, as well funded and equipped as the military, to pick up dissidents. I heard that there is an estimated 23 million Americans who would fight to the death rather than accept slavery under a totalitarian government. I think that estimate is low myself.

    20. Cooper, Alabama says:

      I am very concerned for our Freedom. I do believe

      it is gone and nothing we do will save it.

    21. Jeff-FL. says:

      The problem with the election in 2012 is there is so much time until then that I am afraid it might be too late to turn things around. The more intitlements this regime keeps putting into law the more people will become dependant upon our socialist government and the more voters (dependants) they will have to keep their agenda going. If we aren't very very careful and start putting a stop to this run away train it's going to be too late and the conservatives are going to be so out numbered at the ballot box by government dependants till it will be all over as far as our freedom and life as we know and enjoy.

    22. Tim Az says:

      I think we must utilize the McCarthy doctrine to disinfect every level of government of people who whish to undermind our constitution and free market system. Those government agencies that are found to have impeded the free market system or the freedoms gauranteed under the constitution since there inceptions must be abolished through means testing. We the people must force term limits on our representatives by attending every election. Now that would be change we could believe in.

    23. jeff, reality says:

      Obama and all civil servants take an oath to "defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic"

      They have obviously violated this oath..isn't that an actionable offense? Grounds for impeachment, charges of treason? We need a good constitutional lawyer.

    24. Therese, Missouri says:

      I found Obama's tactics to be alarming when he first "established" the "Office of the President-Elect" and held press conferences in this made-up authority. Before January. No reporter blinked an eye about his naming himself, in effect, Commander in Chief without being sworn in. Not just The Constitution was stomped on there. What about the Judiciary?

    25. sarah, San Diego says:

      WHERE IS the ACLU on this one? yoo hoo–anybody there??

    26. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Fascism requires absolute control over everthing! The only immediate solution we have as States is for us all to become Soveriegn, and thereby answerable only to the Constituion of the United States of America and its Amendments, and not to Washinton DC, Congress or the President!

      Next we take back our Nation one politician at a time.

      Remember,"Absolute power corrupts absolutely."


    27. Butch Holman, Fl. says:

      A Marxist/Communistic government is what we have. Until we take our Country back, we have to deal with "O" and the CZARS. the one thing you can do, which I'm doing is exposing them, like Glenn Beck. If you didn't see last nights show, You need to go to glennbeck.com. There is a very disturbing video of Van "Green Jobs CZAR" Jonss on there. It's coming to light and we must keep up the investigation on these guys. I do research everyday. Beck can't do this by himself.

      Thanks, Butch

    28. Normca says:

      Obama's best friend is Hugo Chavez, that is outside of Rev Wright. They are his idols. He has gotten a small taste of what Americans are made of. He needs to have it reinforced. His philosophy has been on display. He takes orders from his buddy there in Brazil [where $2 billion was just sent] – Zoros and the unions. He will give more speeches after 9-8-09 in an effort to build his numbers; turning on his charm, but people no longer trust him. He stood up and lied about the pending legislation repeatedly. I hope his numbers go down to the 30's and stay in that range through Nov 2010. Leave him with the MSM, the unions and the free loaders as his only constiniuency. [He has adversely affected most segments of our society.] And then a big turn out in Nov 2010 will take back the Senate and reduce the majority in the House. A strong majority leader, [not like Lott or Friske] will stifle everything he tries to do until 2012.

    29. howard theobald, los says:

      Nor did Gore invent weather. His book/movie has been proven wrong in many areas. His followers called it "global warming" now they call it "weather change" convient-weather can go up or down and the are right. If you want the truth go to ICR.com and get a copy of Dr. Larry Vardiman book "Global Warming" then go to Congressman Dann Rohrabacher web site and click on global warming.

    30. Whicket Williams Kin says:

      Where are the lawyers? When are we going to indict these people for breaking the law? Impeach, then prosecute Jay, where are you?

    31. anoni says:

      The only reason he would want to control the internet in a national emergency is control – but not of the situation – it's control of information; control of us. That's really dangerous. It's my guess the next thing he'll do is redefine what constitutes an " emergency"

    32. Sean, Charlotte NC says:

      Impeachment sounds great.. Problem is, they all came from the Liberal school system…

      Any college that wants government money, has to follow a government base curriculum.

      Beyond curriculums, it would have to go to the Supreme Court, and we all know what direction that has taken over the years…

      I'm with the guys who said to stay strong, keep up the resistance, and turn out in mass numbers in 2010 and finally put an end to this circus!

    33. Rose from Georgia says:

      So now Obama wants to control the internet? NO. Period! End of discussion. Oh, HE wouldn't actually control the internet. He would appoint another Czar! Maybe another buddy like Van Jones? The more my President talks the less I trust him.

    34. James, Phoenix says:

      Bush's subversion of the Constitution for the sake of counter-terrorism was bad enough. However, at least with that there is an focal point which may diminish and "might" lead to restoration of Constitutional balance.

      However, the arrogance of requesting something you don't need, for a bogus reason is dumbfounding. "Fear, Fear everyone, I will save you." He is hitting us with every power grab he can muster during this "Media Honeymoon" phase. We must stand strong and speak out at everyturn!

      And for those of you that think the idea of controlling the Internet is ridiculous, travel to China. The average citizen gets what the government wants them to get on the Internet. It's not perfect control, but if you control enough speech, what would sound like a roar sounds like a faint whisper and carries the same weight.

      My heartfelt apologies to the Founding Fathers that we as a nation would be asleep enough to put someone like this into office.

    35. sargee5.blogspot.com says:

      This is just another in a long line of power grab attempts. I think we would be well advised to watch what our kids will be learning this next, and then save the internet.

    36. Marsh says:

      WATCH the Tyranny!

    37. Anna New Jersey says:

      I have a question: where is the ACLU? Seems to me they have a lot to say about stupid things and nothing to say about REAL issues regarding our CIVIL LIBERTIES, such as the control of our news media, out internet, our radio and our businesses.

      I hope everyone in this nation wakes up to what is really happening before they wake up to jack-boots at the door!

    38. er, va says:

      Be afraid. Be very arfaid.

    39. Tim Az says:

      If you understood the acronym ACLU you would have your answer. Atheistic Communist Liberation Union enough said.

    40. Jonathan, Gardena says:

      When you start off with the oft-told lie that Al Gore claimed to have invented the internet, why should we believe the rest of what you have to say?

    41. irene, san dimas says:

      Al Gore NEVER claimed to "invent" the internet. check your quotes please. You are changing his words!

    42. irene, san dimas says:

      Al Gore never claimed that he "invented" the internet. check your quotes please!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.