Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) today introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2007.Why is this important, beyond all the reasons previously discussed?
Well, look at what's going on with another monopoly:
When Microsoft introduces its long-awaited Windows Vista operating system this month, it will have an unlikely partner to thank for making its flagship product safe and secure for millions of computer users across the world: the National Security Agency.What did this “help” consist of? How many trojans and back doors did NSA leave in there? In an operating system that itself is basically one huge trojan horse that calls back to Redmond and does what its corporate masters tell it to?
For the first time, the giant software maker is acknowledging the help of the secretive agency, better known for eavesdropping on foreign officials and, more recently, U.S. citizens as part of the Bush administration's effort to combat terrorism. The agency said it has helped in the development of the security of Microsoft's new operating system -- the brains of a computer -- to protect it from worms, Trojan horses and other insidious computer attackers.
For Windows Vista Security, Microsoft Called in Pros, By Alec Klein and Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post Staff Writers, Tuesday, January 9, 2007; Page D01
As Bruce Schneier says:
A few years ago I was ready to believe the NSA recognized we're all safer with more secure general-purpose computers and networks, but in the post-9/11 take-the-gloves-off eavesdrop-on-everybody environment, I simply don't trust the NSA to do the right thing.While that's a sad commentary on the state of an agency that used to be known for its pride in sticking to the careful division between domestic and foreign spying, it's not even the whole problem.
NSA Helps Microsoft with Windows Vista, Bruce Schneier, Schneier on Security, 9 January 2007
Any monopoly in a key area, especially one involved in communications, is likely to attract such government meddling. Sure, the FBI has intercept boxes in major ISPs sucking up your mail, but at least they have to go to the trouble of putting them in multiple locations. With hooks in Vista, government spying can be enabled right on the computer on your desk or lap.
With Vista, there's an alternative: buy a Mac or run Linux.
With a telecommunications duopoly, there's no such alternative.