Any thoughts on this?
Mon, 9 Aug 1999 08:17:42 -0400

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Granted, this guy *abhors* Clinton, passionately. Then again, so do I. He
still sounds a bit paranoid to me, but I was wondering if any other FoRKs
had heard of this/had an opinion.

Clinton comes
after the Internet

Well, it was a long time coming, but Bill
Clinton has finally made his move on the

Late last week, when reporters and
members of Congress were going home for
the weekend, he issued one of his
now-famous executive orders -- this one
on "Internet conduct."

Like almost all such orders, it will sound
quite innocuous on a quick first read. But
these guys in the Clinton administration are
clever. This action sets up a working
group of top U.S. officials to study the
whole concept of policing the Internet. No,
Clinton doesn't use that word, but that's
clearly the intent of this order -- the
establishment of a national Internet police

But if you catch that much -- and few will
-- then the wording of this order is
designed to make you relax because the
working group is simply going to write a
report! We all know government reports
don't kill people, right? Nobody gets hurt
by a government report unless they drop it
on you.

However, let's take a look at what's being
studied here: No. 1 -- How the federal
government can insinuate itself into this
revolutionary new medium. And, No. 2 --
How new technology tools, capabilities or
legal authorities may be required for
effective investigation and prosecution.

Let me repeat that last purpose behind this
working group and this executive order in
the actual language used by Clinton: "The
extent to which new technology tools,
capabilities, or legal authorities may be
required for effective investigation and
prosecution of unlawful conduct that
involves the use of the Internet."

Get it? "New technology" equals spying
tools. "Capabilities" means surveillance
capabilities. And "legal authorities" means
Internet police.

You've got to understand the bureaucratic
jargon here. Think of me as your
Clintonese translator. Remember, this is a
man who questions what the word "is"
means. You've got to leave this to the
professionals -- and that means me.

Now here's the other scary part of this
executive order. Normally with these task
forces, the president allows a year or more
for study and reports. Not this time. Guess
what his deadline is?

"The Working Group shall complete its
work to the greatest extent possible and
present its report and recommendations to
the President and Vice President within
120 days of the date of this order," the
executive order states.

What! That means the report must be
prepared before the end of the year. I
would suggest to you that this means the
report is already drafted. I would suggest
further evidence for that conclusion is that
Clinton is also requiring the committee to
circulate the report to federal agencies
well before it comes to the White House.

Why would he do that? Because the White
House has already seen it. The White
House has written it.

Who's going to be a part of this working
group? The chairman is Janet Reno, and
the members are most of the important
Cabinet officers. Do you really think those
guys and gals could draft a report on
policing the Internet in less than 120 days?


Something's up here, folks. Something
smells really foul.

Now what do you suppose is in that future
report? Hillary once told us the Internet
needed gatekeepers and controls.

"We are all going to have to rethink how
we deal with this, because there are all
these competing values," Hillary said last
year. She also deplored the fact that the
Internet lacks "any kind of editing function
or gatekeeping function."

I think Clinton's about to make his move on
our last best hope for freedom -- the
Internet. Methinks the Internet is about to
get an official editor or a government

See text of Clinton's latest executive order.

A daily radio broadcast adaptation of
Joseph Farah's commentaries can be
heard at

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=A9 1999, Inc.