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Rand Paul Makes the Case for Internet Freedom

Senator Rand Paul delivered a speech on internet freedom at the Heritage Foundation on Thursday morning. The Senator has immersed himself in issues relating to internet regulation, but admits that he is no technology expert. Paul drew laughs from the crowd when he added “I did not invent the internet.”

Given his political philosophy, it surprises no one that Senator Paul wants to keep the federal government away from regulating the internet. He is hardly alone. During his speech, the Senator recounted the SOPA and PIPA episode. Rand Paul thought that the legislation would sail through Congress and become law with little fanfare. He was stunned to see the bill defeated by public backlash. Senator Paul called the grassroots blowback from SOPA and PIPA an “amazing victory” remembers it as the time that “the internet woke up.” Contrary to popular belief, the Senator believes that liberals and conservatives are capable of agreeing on policy issues without compromising on the principles. He pointed out civil liberties, specifically relating to the internet in this case, as one such issue.

Instead of relying on government regulations, Senator Paul wants to empower private actors to respond to internet threats. He pointed out that by the time a law is passed and regulations written, a computer virus can be out of date, replaced by a new threat. Cybersecurity requires agility, not a strong suit of a federal government that has yet to finish writing regulations on the two-year-old Dodd-Frank law. The Senator fears the possibility of the federal government inadvertently opening Pandora’s box when trying to solve small problems relating to cybersecurity.

Today’s speech will not be the last time Senator Paul addresses internet freedom. Ensuring minimal government intrusion into the internet is a cause that he will likely focus on for years. With grassroots support from the internet community, he may well succeed in holding back an overbearing federal government.

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