Government heavy handedness rings in a new year

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

This year the legislative powers that be have been busy trying to put extreme emergency measures of authority into the hands of a few.

If passed these powers grant the government the ability to take control of any and all systems of information or news, which could isolate people’s ability to gather news or information from outside the community.

Changing Legislation

The first piece of legislation to consider is the S. 1867 Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which went to the Senate floor Nov. 28.

The President, and those that serve under his authority, would gain the power to detain and imprison suspected terrorist indefinitely or until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

These people would be considered a threat to national security or the continuation of normal proceedings of daily life. The wording is full of loopholes though, as anyone displaying dissident or radical anti-government behavior, that protest against the government, or who acts against the government may come to be considered a threat to national security.

The limited wording of the bill does not guarantee safety though.  In one clause, a waiver can be filed so that anyone may be detained if determined a threat to National Security.  Such waivers would need to be approved first by Congress so that no unconstitutional arrest may occur.

Cyber-space beware

The second piece of legislation to consider is the Cybersecurity and Information Freedom Act of 2011 or CIFA. The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs met May 23 to hold hearings regarding the bill.

CIFA outlines the government’s agenda regarding the improper use of the Internet by actions of individuals, whose aim is to disrupt normal procedures or take advantage of weak cyber security.

In short, the President can give administrative powers to a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC) department within the Department of Homeland Security. This power gives them, during a “Cyber Emergency”, the ability to shut down “covered critical infrastructures” that are prevalent to governmental operations.

According to the HSGAC, the NCCC will work with the private sector to establish risk-based security requirements that strengthen the cybersecurity for the nation’s most critical infrastructure.

These vital components are described as being the electric grid, telecommunications networks, and control systems in other critical infrastructure that, if disrupted, would result in a national or regional catastrophe.

And while the bill has not yet to be passed onto the Senate or House of Representatives, it is still in wait with no major decision having been reached about it’s contents or policies.

Is it the National Emergency Alert System or the Government Communications Shutdown System?

The subsequent administrative action to check up on is that of the National EAS or Emergency Alert System.

“The EAS is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a national emergency.”  – Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

If used improperly the government, with an application of the CIFA bill, could control the output of information and vital news.

The strategy implemented in pushing these bills through is reminiscent of the way in which Emperor Palpatine created his empire in the famous Star Wars movies.  For those who are not avid Star Wars fans, Emperor Palpatine created a war against a group of separatist who were supposedly a threat to Galactic peace.

The Emperor played each side against one another, in order to create outrageous emergency powers that allowed him to eventually take over the Galactic Senate.

Emperor Palpatine’s rise to power inspires Government politics?

For those who see a correlation here, it may be time to pick up the phone and call your Senators and Representatives.  The Internet group Anonymous has put out a call to all voters to ask for help in stopping these unconstitutional powers from being passed.

The information Anonymous provided was a little outdated however.  Be sure to research information thoroughly before heeding a call to action, so that the information that is gained is not wholly wrong or in some sense, a half-truth.

From the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC):

“The Act establishes the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to elevate and strengthen the Department’s cyber security capabilities and authorities. The NCCC will be led by a Senate-confirmed Director, who will report to the Secretary. The Director will regularly advise the President regarding the exercise of authorities relating to the security of federal networks. The NCCC will include the United States Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT), and will lead federal efforts to protect public and private sector cyber and communications networks. The NCCC will detect, prevent, analyze, and warn of cyber threats to these networks.”

By 15th Street News Posted in Features, News Tagged , Cybersecurity, DoD Authorization Act Fiscal 2012, Homeland Security, HSGAC, National EAS, NCCC, Palpatine, S.1867, Senate,

Identifying Anonymous: An idealistic enigma

Logan Pierce, editor-in-chief

For more than five years the quasi-group Anonymous’ unique brand of hacking has left an indelible mark on Internet culture. Portions of their influence eventually seeped into the real world.

While Anonymous boasts no formal organization or leadership, it has adopted certain

one of the many Anonymous icons

icons, including the image of a faceless business suit and the Guy Fawkes mask, (made famous from the film “V for Vendetta”). Anonymous’ mantra is “We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”

The mysterious nature of Anonymous, coupled with the imagery, paints a picture of a 21st century Robin Hood; an unstoppable, faceless force of nature.

Hidden Agenda

Anonymous has no official position regarding controversial issues such as abortion, health care, taxes, global warming, or Occupy Wall Street. Anonymous aficionados, known as Anons, can disagree on these and other issues while still being part of Anonymous.

This is not to say that Anonymous is not without ideals. In fact, ideals are what unites Anons. According to analysis from the Extra Credits series, Anonymous stands for:

1. Freedom of Information

2. Freedom of Speech

3. Unregulated Internet

4. Generally only attacks groups that either directly attacked them, or infringes on their core ideals

5. Does not engage in criminal activity for the financial benefit of Anons

6. Believes in mischief for the “lulz” (i.e. kicks and giggles)

Secret, but fun

Anonymous’ first major act of defiance was against the social networking game, “Habbo Hotel,” where people create avatars and socialize in a virtual hotel setting. In 2005, rumors spread through 4chan, (online message board used by Anons), that Habbo’s social moderators were abusing their ability to ban people, targeting black-avatar users.

At this notion of inferred racism, Anons began flooding the game with black-avatars, dressed in suits and Afro wigs. Their avatars blocked doorways and walkways, cutting off access to certain features in the game, most notably the swimming pool.

“Pool’s closed” became the rallying cry for the operation, culminating with a mass raid July 12, 2006, where hundreds of Anons swarmed the game, eventually causing Habbo Hotel to go offline for a while.

Anonymous’ most recent planned attack is against the social network goliath, Facebook. On Nov. 5, Anons plan to shut down Facebook, accusing them of selling their users security information.

According to an Anonymous press release, “Facebook keeps saying that it gives users choices, but that is completely false. It gives users the illusion of [choice] and hides the details away from them ‘for their own good’ while they then make millions off of you. When a service is ‘free,’ it really means they’re making money off of you and your information.”

Anons Response

Anonymous responded to the threat against Facebook, denouncing it. Citing, in a tweet, that “Operation: Facebook” will be carried out by “rouge” Anons, and is not endorsed by the majority of Anonymous. “We don’t “kill” the messenger,” Anonymous said, “That’s not our style.”

By 15th Street News Posted in News Tagged abortion, , “V for Vendetta, ” Guy Fawkes, freedom of information, freedom of speech, global warming, Habbo Hotel, health care, lulz, , Operation: Facebook, Pool’s closed, , unregulated Internet

Robins merry men become Anonymous

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

There once was a man named Robin of Loxley who became known throughout Great Britain as Robin of the Hood. Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor; he was a man for the people.

In more recent years, Anonymous has taken up the mantle of the once great Robin. They seek out injustices wrought by big businesses and overzealous governments to prevent personal freedom and privacy from being extinguished.

Anonymous what the? ….

Officially Anonymous does not exist or have leaders. They seem to be an elusive shadow that anyone can join or claim to be a member of. This sounds shady. If you plot and send warnings of impending attacks, you are a group with an agenda. There is some form of leadership, there is also individual control over what is and is not Anonymous.

This leads to a variety of questions about the trustworthiness of such an organization that hides behind a computer without being held accountable for the actions of its members.

This is not to say that what Anonymous is doing is wrong. The everyday person has more to worry about than what is going on in global politics, economy, and unification. People worry about getting food on the table, having a place to live, and whether or not their children are happy, healthy, and safe.

The increasing level of personal freedom and privacy that is being stripped from the everyday person for the sake of security has made citizens question what is really happening in government. Thus, Anonymous has formed into a kind of resistance. Targeting social media sites, and businesses that exploit the trust of the people for whom they work. For this reason, governments both foreign and domestic are also targets.

Faceless men cannot be Revolutionaries

There is one problem though; faceless men cannot fight a war against injustice. One day some overzealous youth will take up the call, make a mistake and be convicted of espionage because they did not know what they were doing, but felt they were being called to fight in the ever-evolving Internet privacy war.

Would Anonymous go to their brother’s aid? It is unclear, as Anonymous can disclaim they were involved in any action taken. Is Anonymous scared of retribution? Why else would they claim to be a non-group of like-minded individuals who perform tasks pertinent to social freedom?

What do they really stand for?

So who is Anonymous, what is their objective? Are they for the people, vying for control, or just malcontent workers of former Internet companies? It is uncertain, as the shadowy cloak of the group’s image remains unseen.

One thing is for sure. What is unseen can be friendly or deadly, and Anonymous thus far seems to think they can take on the world. Until proven otherwise a stamp of “treat with caution” should be applied to the non-group’s business card.

Anonymous delivers signature entertainment

Chelsea Ratterman, Assistant Editor

The writings of William Shakespeare are taught to the world for their detail and fascinating characters. Yet, the events surrounding the man who wrote the plays remain a mystery that has captivated the minds like those of Mark Twain and Sigmund Freud.

The movie “Anonymous” attempts to tackle the idea that William Shakespeare did not write the plays that made him so famous, but were instead written by an aristocrat during the tumultuous period of the reign of Elizabeth I, known as Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, played by Rhys Ifans.

The movie follows the life of Ben Jonson, best known for becoming the first Poet Laureate of England. Jonson was a playwrite of London who was confined for his plays. When de Vere secured Jonson’s release, he agreed to stage the plays he had written over the years, as support for the Earl of Essex’s campaign against the Cecils’ plan for James, King of Scotland to inherit the English throne.

He assumed this path of action after visiting a theater and sees how spectators can be swayed by the action on stage, which affirms his belief that words, and by relation, art, is the most important weapon available. “All art is political, otherwise it is just decoration,” de Vere said, during one of his meetings with Jonson.

Rafe Spall plays William Shakespeare, an actor who becomes the front for the operation, to the horror of the Earl. The movie takes a dark turn with the murder of a playwright and informer to the Tower, as the Cecils grow closer to de Vere.

The lives of the characters unravel as the story progresses and ends with the vow by Robert Cecil that de Vere’s name will never appear on his plays. The movie is filmed in Germany, with sets of London made and CGI putting the final touches on the film.

While perhaps not appropriate for the under 13 audience, the political and romantic intrigue that form the core of this movie provide the movie goer with an interesting twist on one of the greatest men ever known.