Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Democrats in the Senate are attempting to scare people away from alternative news websites by falsely claiming the sites contain dangerous software viruses.
Earlier in the week the Senate Sergeant at Arms made a claim that Drudge and whitepages.com were responsible for viruses appearing on Senate computers. “Please try to avoid drudgereport.com and whitepage.com websites for now,” said an email received by staffers on the Environment and Public Works Committee. The Drudge Report was not mentioned in a subsequent email issued on Tuesday. “Our Information Security Operations Center has observed a significant increase in the number of Senate computers infected by fake security software that is malicious and does nothing to secure online information,” the email stated, according to CNSNews.
According to Sen. Jim Inhofe (R.-Okla.), there is no evidence of viruses and malware originating at the Drudge Report. Inhofe, the ranking Republican member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, told CNSNews it did not surprise him that someone on the left was trying to stop Senate staff from reading Drudge “because Drudge comes out with really good stuff and we want them to access the Drudge Report. We’re on the Drudge Report about half the time.”
“I suspect somebody was trying to make it look as if there’s a virus there to discourage people from using Drudge. Then, somehow, I guess someone in the Capitol got a hold of it and said, yes, we are advising you not to use it,” Inhofe added.
On Tuesday, CNet ran a story claiming visitors to the site were infected with malware. “For the second time in less than six months, visitors to the Drudge Report say they got malware in addition to the Web site’s usual sensational headlines,” writes Elinor Mills for the technology site. “Matt Drudge denied that his site was infecting visitors, however it’s likely that the malware is coming from ads delivered by a third-party ad network and not the site itself.”
Rogue ads delivering viruses are common. In September 2009, The New York Times fell to an “unauthorized advertisement” warning readers that their computer may have been infected with a virus and redirected them to a site offering antivirus software. The New York Times said the offending ad was provided by someone posing as a national advertiser with a legitimate-looking advertising product.
The Senate accusation coincides with the Obama administration’s release of Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, a government plan to “secure” (or control) the nation’s public and private sector computer networks. White House Internet security adviser Howard A. Schmidt said in a statement the cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and security challenges faced by the nation, according to InformationWeek. In addition to securing government networks, the CNCI calls for “extending cybersecurity into critical infrastructure domains” in the private sector.
On March 4, Schmidt told Wired the United States is not engaged in a cyberwar. “I think that is a terrible metaphor and I think that is a terrible concept,” Schmidt said. “There are no winners in that environment.” Schmidt acted as cybersecurity adviser during the Bush era.
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Rod Beckstrom, the former director of the National Cybersecurity Center, resigned in March of 2009. Beckstrom complained about the encroaching influence of the NSA on cybersecurity.
In late February, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, criticized the Obama administration for making the cybersecurity coordinator unable to testify before congress.“He’s a member of the National Security Council and cannot testify,” said Snowe, who complained that it is unacceptable to have a senior administration official who is not accountable to Congress and meets behind closed doors.
Snowe and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) have introduced legislation that would allow Obama to take “emergency” control of the internet during a crisis.
On Tuesday, Alex Jones’ flagship websites, Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com, came under sustained attack. “Alex Jones’ websites were assaulted by a massive, organized and sustained attack today which is still ongoing as zombie computers around the world were used to launch a denial of service attack which is undoubtedly related to our ongoing efforts to expose the government’s Cybersecurity agenda as the gargantuan threat to Internet freedom it represents,” writes Paul Joseph Watson. The attack appeared to be a DoS, or Denial of Service attack.
The apparent attempt to discredit the Drudge Report as harboring viruses is part of a wider assault on Internet freedom as the establishment cracks down on prominent news websites outside of its control.
With influential proponents recently calling for a newly regulated world wide web, we got a preview of how that might look last month after both Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com were completely blocked to many Internet users in New Zealand.
The block was only removed early this morning following a raft of complaints after both websites were unavailable on many ISP’s for days.
It is important to stress that we receive emails on a weekly basis informing us that our websites have been blocked as “hate speech” or “offensive material” at Internet cafes, libraries, transport hubs, workplaces, and numerous other buildings not only in the United States but across the world. The censorship is being done at the ISP level, so whereas some people in a particular country will still have access, others will be blocked.
As we reported in 2008, London’s St. Pancras International, which millions of people traveling across mainland Europe pass through every year, completely blocks Prison Planet, Infowars and even more mainstream political websites as a matter of course.
In 2007, MySpace admitted their policy to censor and filter out posts containing links to the Prison Planet.com website, adding that the MySpace server automatically blocks such information. The social networking giant, as well as others such as Facebook, periodically block links to Alex Jones material and only revoke such filters when people complain.
In 2005, Time Warner subscribers from New York to California reported that their access to Infowars and Prison Planet had been blocked due to “hate speech,” before their access was restored.
UK ISP Tiscali also blocked the websites following the 7/7 London bombings in 2005.
Infowars’ social network was also blocked by libraries in the U.S. in 2008 using Safesquid and Google filtering software.
We receive numerous reports every single week of Alex Jones’ websites being blocked by ISPs and by filtering software in public buildings.
The move to impose centralized government control and regulation of the free Internet has accelerated over the past 12 months.
Last month, Time Magazine enthusiastically jumped on the bandwagon to back Microsoft executive Craig Mundie’s call for Internet licensing, as authorities push for a system even more stifling than in Communist China, where only people with government permission would be allowed to express free speech.
During a recent conference at the Davos Economic Forum, Mundie, chief research and strategy officer for Microsoft, told fellow globalists at the summit that the Internet needed to be policed by means of introducing licenses similar to drivers licenses – in other words government permission to use the web.
Internet censorship bills currently working their way into law in the UK, Australia and the U.S. legislate for government powers to restrict and filter any website that it deems to be undesirable for public consumption. In Italy, new rules to be imposed by government decree force anyone who wishes to upload a video to the web to get permission from the government’s Communications Ministry.
Power brokers in the White House have openly declared war on free speech and targeted Internet “conspiracy theorists” as the main threat to their agenda.
In a 2008 white paper, Obama’s Regulation Czar Cass Sunstein called for the government to tax or even ban outright political opinions of which it disapproved.
On page 14 of Sunstein’s January 2008 white paper entitled “Conspiracy Theories,” the man who is now Obama’s head of information technology in the White House proposed that each of the following measures “will have a place under imaginable conditions” according to the strategy detailed in the essay.
1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing.
2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories.
The ominous spectacle of major free speech websites going dark in supposedly democratic countries is a shocking portend of what the establishment wants to impose on a widespread basis. Only by screaming bloody murder in defense of the last true outpost of free speech – the Internet – and threatening boycotts and aggressive public relations campaigns can we counter the insidious move to silence the only remaining open forum of lawful dissent.
This article was posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 9:08 am