President Barack Obama wants to control the internet.
And if our President has his way, this website may soon be under legal attack from the White House.
Since the internet’s emergence in the private sector (it actually began in the public sector, through developments at the U.S. Department of Defense back in the 1960’s), officials in our U.S. Government have generally viewed the internet as a good and necessary thing.
In 1996, when former Sun Microsystems Officer John Gage began a movement to get high-tech companies involved in providing internet infrastructure for the world’s schools, libraries, and clinics, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore marked the first ever “NetDay” celebration by traveling to Concord, California, and spending the day re-wiring a high school campus with computer cables.
Similarly, both President Clinton and President George W. Bush pushed for “every school in America” to be connected to the world wide web, and internet connectivity generally flourished around the globe under the leadership of both Presidents, and by both public and private funding means.
But today, things are different. After approximately seven months in office, President Obama controls, in varying degrees, General Motors, Chrysler, and a variety of financial services companies. He is seeking to control, among other things, the health care industry, the energy industry, and the amount of money that business executives are paid by their employers.
And now it appears that the President who ran the most successful, web-savvy political campaign in world history, wants to curtail what other people can do online.
Cass Sunstein, an American legal scholar and Harvard Law Professor, has been appointed by President Obama to head up the “White House Office Of Information And Regulatory Affairs.” His title is sufficiently broad and ambiguous, but he wields plenty of power. And with advance copies circulating of his new book “On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done,” Americans who still care about their rights to “freedom of speech” should be paying close attention.
You owe it to yourself to review what has been reported in both the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal about Mr. Sunstein, and the ideas that he advances in his book. And while we don’t know precisely what Obama and Sunstein will be doing, many of the thoughts that Mr. Sunstein expresses about the internet seem consistent with President Obama’s proclivity to control things, generally.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.