Thursday, January 29, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Bill Clinton does freedom a favor

By
From page A7 | March 27, 2014 |

Bill Clinton to the rescue?

You bet. The former president recently spoke forcefully about an Obama administration plan that could aid authoritarian regimes in their efforts to muffle the liberating voice of the Internet and transform it instead into a tool bolstering their own life-diminishing agendas.

It’s something these regimes are already up to, but not with total success. Vast numbers in many of these lands still have more unvarnished information and communication avenues available than ever before, and that’s both humanly uplifting and politically valuable, if not enough in itself to tear down autocratic walls.

The administration plan is to relinquish unilateral U.S. oversight of allocating names and addresses to people and entities wanting Internet websites. The regulatory power would be passed next year to an international group not yet figured out, but one that would consist of major Internet stakeholders.

Some of these almost certainly would be countries anxious for an added means of ridding themselves of the menace of free speech. Or, as Clinton put it in a Tempe, Ariz., panel discussion sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative, they would be those wanting “this authority from the U.S. for the sole purpose of cracking down on Internet freedom and limiting it and having governments protect their backsides instead of empowering their people.”

It’s not like such a charade would be something previously unseen in world affairs. Consider, for instance, how some of the United Nations’ human rights violators have served on the agency charged with protecting those rights. There are, of course, arguments saying don’t worry about what might happen. The arguments make me worry.

Some countries are already squashing Internet communications, it’s said. So we should make it easier for them?

Ceding this regulatory authority won’t give anyone the ability to control all the Internet, it’s said. No, but doesn’t some added ability to do increased harm still add up to the possibility of increased harm?

Going from U.S. supervision to supervision by international entities just won’t limit freedom, it’s said. But how can anyone know that? The answer is that, as of now, no one can.

The U.S. supervision of domain names and addresses — carried out by a Commerce Department agency overseeing a non-profit California corporation — is hardly an arbitrary assumption of power. The Internet, now worldwide, was invented here and most of its masterful intricacies developed and polished here. We’ve managed it well, especially considering how it is ever evolving, although lately there’s been increased international pressure on us to let go of our overseeing duties.

One prompting factor has been the Edward Snowden revelations about widespread surveillance by the National Security Agency. That’s made people here and abroad nervous about U.S. abuses of power, and the fear is that we might put our Internet prowess to intrusive purpose.

The trust-building answer, it seems to me, is for the president to get more serious about the rule of law generally, not just assuring against overreaching by the NSA, but about all kinds of laxity on constitutional issues, including press freedom. A New York Times reporter, James Risen, was just recently quoted as saying this administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”

The president should also listen to Clinton.

“Whatever you think our country has done wrong, the United States has been by far the country most committed to keeping the Internet free and open and uninterrupted,” he said.

I think that’s true, and I think it is important that a popular, Democratic ex-president said it. Administration officials may grin and bear it when Republicans bark at them, but here’s a growl that just might make them consider far more carefully how they proceed.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune. Readers may send him email at [email protected].

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

1st release for birds with mysterious goo a success

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
4-H Annual Presentation Day returns in February

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville SWAT team serves search warrant

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

Real estate occupancy continues to climb

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
 
Council backs beer, wine sales for Vacaville store

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Vacaville police seek help to find sex offender

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Sweep by sheriff’s team nets 4 arrests

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 3 Comments

 
 
Travis starts work on Functional Fitness Center

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Boy Scouts to screen award-winning film

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Church makes ready for health, wellness fair

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Fairfield police log: Jan. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

.

US / World

Air Force probing alleged ‘treason’ remark by general

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Expect tiny tuxes but no real puppy love at doggy weddings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Large salmon release planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Violations mount for toxic recycler

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Quake rattles N. California coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Second arrest in student stabbing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Marshals track down missing treasure hunter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

‘Drunk’ excuse falls flat in Vandy rape trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Attorney General nominee defends Obama immigration changes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

Police seek law to alter Google app

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Investigation stems from police-involved shooting outbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Hezbollah missiles kill soldiers

By New York Times | From Page: A6

 
ISIS extends hostage deadline

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Euro coast guards scramble to locate Syrian ghost ship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Chinese regulators go after online sale of fake goods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Tape: Scientist offers to build nuke bomb targeting New York

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

India now has 322 billion reasons to fix economy

By William Pesek | From Page: A7

 
Don’t brush off bullying

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 29, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Just be honest and come forward

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
A truly misinformed writer

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 23 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 29, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Deadbeat boyfriend ruined my relationship with my granddaughter

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscope Jan. 29, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Theater legend Joel Grey reveals that he is gay

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 2 Comments

Super Bowl advertisers aim not to offend

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Sports

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins hoping to make All-Star team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Rodriguez wrestlers pull out 34-24 win over Wood

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Tony Stewart acquires national sprint car series tour

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Solano men cruise past LMC for biggest win of season

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
NFL players who started young show more thinking problems

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

GM John Schneider has been architect of Seahawks’ success

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Patriots not dwelling on last Super Bowl loss in Arizona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Woods returns to Phoenix with plenty of memories

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Korda, Lewis, Munoz tied for lead at LPGA season opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Head of NCAA enforcement: Academic misconduct on rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Chicago Cubs’ Ernie Banks statue moved downtown for tribute

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Kobe Bryant has surgery, expected to be out for 9 months

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 29, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Joseph Phillip Raiff

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Dzhon Athanc

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9