Sunday, March 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

Vanden High library project nears completion

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Vanden girls end stellar season

By Brian Arnold | From Page: C1 | Gallery

Cheers for Jupiter – and roller derby

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Vacaville police make arrest after pursuit

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Red Cross volunteers help assemble first aid kits

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
PG&E helps replace stolen equipment

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

Justin-Siena names new principal

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

 
Free paper shredding option returns to Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Vacaville bridal, quinceanera show a hit

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

Event benefits child who attends Cambridge School

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Best barometer of investment success: Wealth

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B8

Hike in minimum wage cuts deep into businesses

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B8

 
Don’t be an unhealthy breakfaster skipper

By Norma Lisenko | From Page: B8

Tips on hydrozoning your garden

By Tina Saravia | From Page: B8

 
Fairfield police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Gang chief, international fugitive among dozens paroled

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Experts: Sex bias case will embolden women despite verdict

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Crash victim’s father calls for more focus on pilot welfare

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Man rescued after falling 200 feet off California sea cliff

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Popular Yosemite National Park lookout opens early in season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Eiffel Tower goes dark in symbolic move for Earth Hour

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Bird flu found in a top Minnesota turkey producing county

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Some British Airways frequent flier accounts miles breached

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

7 shot and injured at Florida spring break house party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Boko Haram kills 39, legislator, disrupting Nigeria election

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 24 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Hundreds rally against Indiana law, say it’s discriminatory

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Islamic fighters led by al-Qaida in Syria seize major city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

Thanks for making prom dreams come true

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Free speech a right worth protecting

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Liberty, property rights 2 sides of same coin

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A8

 
Sound Off: March 29, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Improve Allan Witt Park; how about rest of Fairfield?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: March 29, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Pope finds popularity and dissent at 2-year mark

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Truth does not change

By The Rev. Art Zacher | From Page: C3

Horoscopes: March 29, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B8

 
Daughter choses stepdad over father to walk her down the aisle

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B8

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Second Julie Andrews memoir expected in 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Chrissie Hynde memoir coming in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

.

Sports

 
Warriors beat Bucks 108-95, clinch top seed in West

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Wisconsin heads to Final Four after 85-78 win over Arizona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Burns scores winner in SO to lift Sharks past Flyers, 3-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Power leads Penske sweep in qualifying for IndyCar opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Revolution win first of season, beating Earthquakes 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jenest pitches SCC baseball team to shutout of Contra Costa

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

AP sources: Texas fires coach Barnes after 17 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kazmir, Quintana both strong; A’s beat White Sox 10-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Zunino homers twice, but Giants rally to edge Mariners 9-8

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gordon, Earnhardt among the winners and fans of Martinsville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Prince Bishop wins Dubai World Cup, California Chrome 2nd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams easily wins opening match at Miami Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimmy Walker leads hometown Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

A glance at women in leadership roles in business worldwide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
For business, more women in charge means bigger profits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

US drillers scrambling to thwart OPEC threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Test trial to use computer servers to heat homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Obituaries

Robert Roberts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Janice Jewel Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Betty Mason

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Tiffany Lyn (Helzer) Kemp

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard F. Coleman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
James Lee Lewis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Helen Kalis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carol A. Vose

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics