Posted tagged ‘Internet’

Britain Moves To Criminalize Reading Extremist Material On The Internet

October 5, 2017

Britain Moves To Criminalize Reading Extremist Material On The Internet, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, October 5, 2017

(What do “extremist” and “far right” mean in this context? For example, is anything deemed “Islamophobic” or critical of government policies “extremist” or “far right”? — DM)


Rudd told a Conservative Party conference that she wants to crack down on people “who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions.”   So sites deemed “far-right propaganda” (but not far-left propaganda) could lead to your arrest — leaving the government with a sweeping and ambiguous mandate.


For years, civil libertarians have warned that Great Britain has been in a free fall from the criminalization of speech to the expansion of the surveillance state.  Now the government is pursuing a law that would make the repeated viewing of extremist Internet sites a crime punishable to up to 15 years in prison.  It appears that the government is not satiated by their ever-expanding criminalization of speech. They now want to criminalize even viewing sites on the Internet.  As always, officials are basically telling the public to “trust us, we’re the government.”  UK home secretary Amber Rudd is pushing the criminalization of reading as part of her anti-radicalization campaign . . . which turns out to be an anti-civil liberties campaign.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here).  Even the Home Secretary has been accused of hate speech for criticizing immigrant workers.

Prime Minister Theresa May has previously called for greater government control of the Internet.  Now, the government not only would make reading material on the Internet a crime, but would not necessarily tell you what sites will be deemed the ultimate click bait.  Rudd told a Conservative Party conference that she wants to crackdown on people “who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions.”   So sites deemed “far-right propaganda” (but not far-left propaganda) could lead to your arrest — leaving the government with a sweeping and ambiguous mandate.

The law would move from criminalizing the downloading of information to simply reading it.  The move confirms the long criticism of civil libertarians that the earlier criminalization would just be the start of an ever-expanding government regulation of sites and speech.  Rudd admits that she wants to arrest those who just read material but do not actually download the material.

In the past, the government assumed near total discretion in determining who had a “reasonable excuse” for downloading information.

Britain has long relied on the presumed benevolence of the government in giving its sweeping authority in the surveillance and regulation of speech, including the media.  This move however is a quantum shift in government controls over speech and information.  Indeed, this comes the closest to criminalization not just speech but thought. It is a dangerous concept and should be viewed as disqualifying for anyone who want to hold (or retain) high office.

What is particularly striking is that this new law seeks to create a new normal in a society already desensitized to government controls and speech crimes.  There is no pretense left in this campaign —  just a smiling face rallying people to the cause of thought contro.

Sound familiar?

“We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

George Orwell, 1984

Trump taps net neutrality foe for FCC chairman

January 24, 2017

Trump taps net neutrality foe for FCC chairman, Washington ExaminerGabby Morrongiello, January 23, 2017

Pai has been a steadfast critic of Democrat-led efforts to regulate the internet and is a notable opponent of net neutrality.


President Trump has made Ajit Pai the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, following Tom Wheeler’s departure last Friday.

Pai had previously served as Republican member of the FCC before he was chosen to lead the agency under the next administration.

“This afternoon, I was informed that [President Trump] designated me the 34th chairman of the FCC. It is a deeply humbling honor,” he tweeted Monday afternoon, adding in a statement that he intends to “bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.”

Before joining the FCC in 2012, Pai served as associate general counsel of Verizon Communications Inc. and as a staffer in the Senate and Justice Department. He and Trump had met at Trump Tower earlier this month.

Pai has been a steadfast critic of Democrat-led efforts to regulate the internet and is a notable opponent of net neutrality.

Humor | Intelligence community publishes all classified material online to stop leakers

January 11, 2017

Intelligence community publishes all classified material online to stop leakers, Duffel Blog, January 11, 2017


All national intelligence is now being published at


WASHINGTON — In an unprecedented attempt to prevent the further unauthorized disclosure of classified information, the Director of National Intelligence has released all of the nation’s secrets onto the Internet, Duffel Blog has learned.

President Obama approved the move by signing an executive order between the ninth and tenth holes at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

Previously held under strict security standards established by over 200 years of experience, America’s most precious information is now available to anyone with a web browser. People around the world can view classified material ranging from the current status of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program to real-time signals intelligence collected by the National Security Agency. They can also learn than 9/11 was an inside job.

“The Intelligence Community (IC) has suffered too long from egregious cases of unauthorized disclosure,” said Aldrich Pollard, spokesman for DNI Chief James Clapper. “From Montes and Walker to Hanssen and Snowden, leaks have gravely impacted our nation’s security.”

Pollard spoke while handing reporters copies of a previously-undisclosed gun-sharing agreement between the Department of Justice and Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.

“These arcane security rules also did tremendous damage to the morale of our faithful ‘silent warrior’ analysts who work day and night to produce intelligence that protects the nation, right before they leak it to the nation,” Pollard added.

Before deciding to release everything, the DNI tallied metrics associated with unauthorized disclosure, the trillions spent over decades collecting information on America’s enemies, the damage done by leakers like Army Specialist Chelsea Manning, and the damage done by non-transgender leakers like Army Specialist Bradley Manning.

It concluded that releasing top secret intelligence ahead of leaks would mitigate damage by reducing the number of unauthorized disclosures to exactly zero. And zero disclosures is the ultimate metric for the nation’s senior intelligence officers, who both deeply desire to protect the country and get year-end bonuses.

While the current classification markings will remain — unclassified, confidential, secret and top secret — the DNI has directed that there will be only one administrative handling caveat from now on.

The updated guidelines with markings such as NOFORN, ORCON and CLINTON have been changed to REL//DGAF.

Intelligence analysts were generally supportive.

“I hated the classification guideline,” said one FBI intelligence specialist who asked not to be identified because, to his embarrassment, he was dumped by a Russian supermodel right after the new caveat was announced. “The guideline was complex and made me fall asleep, so I classified everything as SECRET//NOFORN even if I ripped it from InfoWars.”

All national intelligence is now being published at


Internet Giveaway Proceeds After Court Rejects Suit to Halt it

October 2, 2016

Internet Giveaway Proceeds After Court Rejects Suit to Halt it, Power Line, Paul Mirengoff, October 1, 2016

We have written about President Obama’s internet giveaway and how GOP congressional leaders effectively rubber stamped it. An aide to Majority Leader McConnell even tried to blame Donald Trump for the Republicans’ gutlessness.

After Congress failed to act, four Republican state attorneys general filed a lawsuit to stop the giveaway. The four state plaintiffs were Arizona, Oklahoma, Nevada and Texas. Their AGs are Mark Brnovich, Scott Pruitt, Adam Paul Laxalt, and Ken Paxton.

The suit made several arguments against the internet giveaway. Plaintiffs argued that, because it lacks congressional approval (Congress didn’t approve the action, it merely declined to block it) the giveaway amounts to an illegal ceding of U.S. government property. They also contended that the new steward of the internet domain system, an outfit known ICANN, will be so unchecked that it could “effectively enable or prohibit speech on the Internet.”

The AGs also noted that ICANN could revoke the U.S. government’s exclusive use of .gov and .mil, the domains used by states, federal agencies and the U.S. military for their websites. In a statement, Texas Attorney General Paxton said: “The president does not have the authority to simply give away America’s pioneering role in ensuring that the internet remains a place where free expression can flourish.”

The AGs’ suit did a good job of expressing key objections to Obama’s internet giveaway. Yesterday, however, a federal district court judge, George C. Hanks, Jr., rejected the legal challenge. The Obama-appointed judge found that there wasn’t enough evidence that the transfer would be harmful.

Thus, today oversight of the domain naming system has been transferred to “global stakeholders.”

The Obama Commerce Department had stressed that any last-minute attempt to abandon the giveaway would “hurt the credibility of America in the eyes of the rest of the world.” This is true. Blocking the giveaway would have upset what has become the world’s reasonable expectation that the U.S., under President Obama, is a pushover willing to cede control over key affairs to international bodies and even our enemies, and unwilling vigilantly to safeguard national interests.

Because congressional leaders are also pushovers, world expectations have been met and remain intact.

Transfer of Internet control could lead to silencing of criticism of jihad terror; Soros-funded group says relax, all will be well

September 30, 2016

Transfer of Internet control could lead to silencing of criticism of jihad terror; Soros-funded group says relax, all will be well, Jihad Watch

“Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn have warned that transfer of U.S. control of ICANN will give China, Russia and Iran, whose governments censor websites and online commentary critical of their policies, more control over the internet.”

Iran, and Saudi Arabia, and other entities who believe, in the words of Barack Obama (who has initiated this transfer), that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” That means that transfer of Internet control could help the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) advance a long way toward achieving its cherished and long-pursued goal: the silencing of criticism of jihad terror

But “New America is a Washington, D.C. think tank. Its fellow Danielle Kehl wrote in a New York Times column this week that the U.S. government’s ceding of power will actually bolster internet freedom by bringing businesses and civil society groups to the table.” New America is funded by George Soros, who has never shown himself to be a friend of the freedom of speech or free society.

So this could be it, friends. I’ve been updating Jihad Watch day in and day out since October 2003, and if the Internet passes into the hands of those who are committed to destroying the freedom of speech (and there are many of those, and they are powerful; I’m just finishing up my next book,The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies), which tells the whole appalling story), before too long I could have quite a bit of time on my hands.

The thing is, if we lose the Internet as a platform for the truth amid the mainstream media lies and distortions, it will be a terrific blow, but the struggle for freedom will not be over. We will find other platforms, we will organize in different ways. The political and media elites are increasingly fearful of losing their grip, and are becoming increasingly authoritarian as a result. They may succeed in driving us underground. They will never succeed in silencing us.


“Four States Sue USA to Try to Stop Transfer of Internet Manager,” by Cameron Langford,Courthouse News Service, September 30, 2016:

GALVESTON (CN) – With the U.S. government set to cede control at midnight Friday over the nonprofit that manages the internet, Texas and three other states sued, seeking to stop a move they claim will expose them to meddling from foreign governments hostile to free speech.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, of ICANN, manages domain names and assignment of internet service provider numbers under a contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce that’s set to expire Sept. 30.

The California-based nonprofit was formed in 1998 with help from the federal government.

Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn have warned that transfer of U.S. control of ICANN will give China, Russia and Iran, whose governments censor websites and online commentary critical of their policies, more control over the internet.

Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma and Nevada share the Republican senators’ fears. Their attorneys general sued the United States, the Department of Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on Wednesday night in Galveston Federal Court….

Texas claims that without U.S. government oversight ICANN and Verisign will have “unbridled discretion” to change the “authoritative root zone file,” known as the internet’s “address book” or “master directory,” thereby imperiling its license to use the .gov domain.”In doing so, the U.S. Government is handing over control of the ‘vast democratic forums of the Internet’ to private parties, and giving those parties free reign [to] employ prior restraints,” the states say.

“Alternatively, ICANN could simply shut down ‘.gov,’ preventing public access to state websites.”…

New America is a Washington, D.C. think tank. Its fellow Danielle Kehl wrote in a New York Times column this week that the U.S. government’s ceding of power will actually bolster internet freedom by bringing businesses and civil society groups to the table. “Completing the transition will actually prevent foreign governments from expanding their role in internet governance. This plan explicitly rejects any formal government role in ICANN,” she wrote.

“Moreover, ICANN’s multistakeholder model is an alternative to the intergovernmental solution that some foreign countries — especially Russia and China — have championed for years. They would prefer to see the domain name system managed by a multilateral organization in which governments are the only stakeholders who can meaningfully participate.”

Meet the New Authoritarian Masters of the Internet

September 29, 2016

Meet the New Authoritarian Masters of the Internet

by John Hayward

29 Sep 2016

Source: Meet the New Authoritarian Masters of the Internet – Breitbart

Getty Images

President Barack Obama’s drive to hand off control of Internet domains to a foreign multi-national operation will give some very unpleasant regimes equal say over the future of online speech and commerce.

In fact, they are likely to have much more influence than America, because they will collectively push hard for a more tightly controlled Internet, and they are known for aggressively using political and economic pressure to get what they want.

Here’s a look at some of the regimes that will begin shaping the future of the Internet in just a few days, if President Obama gets his way.


China wrote the book on authoritarian control of online speech. The legendary “Great Firewall of China” prevents citizens of the communist state from accessing global content the Politburo disapproves of. Chinese technology companies are required by law to provide the regime with backdoor access to just about everything.

The Chinese government outright banned online news reporting in July, granting the government even tighter control over the spread of information. Websites are only permitted to post news from official government sources. Chinese online news wasn’t exactly a bastion of freedom before that, of course, but at least the government censors had to track down news stories they disliked and demand the site administrators take them down.

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese Communists aren’t big fans of independent news analysis or blogging, either. Bloggers who criticize the government are liable to be charged with “inciting subversion,” even when the writer in question is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Chinese citizens know better than to get cheeky on social media accounts, as well. Before online news websites were totally banned, they were forbidden from reporting news gathered from social media, without government approval. Spreading anything the government decides is “fake news” is a crime.

In a report labeling China one of the worst countries for Internet freedom in the world, Freedom House noted they’ve already been playing games with Internet registration and security verification:

The China Internet Network Information Center was found to be issuing false digital security certificates for a number of websites, including Google, exposing the sites’ users to “man in the middle” attacks.

The government strengthened its real-name registration laws for blogs, instant-messaging services, discussion forums, and comment sections of websites.

A key feature of China’s online censorship is that frightened citizens are not entirely certain what the rules are. Huge ministries work tirelessly to pump out content regulations and punish infractions. Not all of the rules are actually written down. As Foreign Policy explained:

Before posting, a Chinese web user is likely to consider basic questions about how likely a post is to travel, whether it runs counter to government priorities, and whether it calls for action or is likely to engender it. Those answers help determine whether a post can be published without incident — as it is somewhere around 84 percent or 87 percent of the time — or is instead likely to lead to a spectrum of negative consequences varying from censorship, to the deletion of a user’s account, to his or her detention, even arrest and conviction.

This was accompanied by a flowchart demonstrating “what gets you censored on the Chinese Internet.” It is not a simple flowchart.

Beijing is not even slightly self-conscious about its authoritarian control of the Internet. On the contrary, their censorship policies are trumpeted as “Internet sovereignty,” and they aggressively believe the entire world should follow their model, as the Washington Post reported in a May 2016 article entitled “China’s Scary Lesson to the World: Censoring the Internet Works.”

China already has a quarter of the planet’s Internet users locked up behind the Great Firewall. How can anyone doubt they won’t use the opportunity Obama is giving them, to pursue their openly stated desire to lock down the rest of the world?


Russia and China are already working together for a more heavily-censored Internet. Foreign Policy reported one of Russia’s main goals at an April forum was to “harness Chinese expertise in Internet management to gain further control over Russia’s internet, including foreign sites accessible there.”

Russia’s “top cop,” Alexander Bastrykin, explicitly stated Russia needs to stop “playing false democracy” and abandon “pseudo-liberal values” by following China’s lead on Internet censorship, instead of emulating the U.S. example. Like China’s censors, Russian authoritarians think “Internet freedom” is just coded language for the West imposing “cultural hegemony” on the rest of the world.

Just think what Russia and China will be able to do about troublesome foreign websites, once Obama surrenders American control of Internet domains!

Russian President Vladimir Putin has “chipped away at Internet freedom in Russia since he returned to the Kremlin in 2012,” as International Business Times put it in a 2014 article.

One of Putin’s new laws requires bloggers with over 3,000 readers to register with the government, providing their names and home addresses. As with China, Russia punishes online writers for “spreading false information,” and once the charge is leveled, it’s basically guilty-until-proven-innocent. For example, one of the “crimes” that can get a blogger prosecuted in Russia is alleging the corruption of a public official, without ironclad proof.

Human-rights group Agora estimates that Russian Internet censorship grew by 900% in 2015 alone, including both court orders and edicts from government agencies that don’t require court approval. Censorship was expected to intensify even further throughout 2016. Penalties include prison time, even for the crime of liking or sharing banned content on social media.

Putin, incidentally, has described the entire Internet as a CIA plot designed to subvert regimes like his. There will be quite a few people involved in the new multi-national Internet control agency who think purging the Web of American influence is a top priority.

The Russian government has prevailed upon Internet Service Providers to block opposition websites during times of political unrest, in addition to thousands of bans ostensibly issued for security, crime-fighting, and anti-pornography purposes.

Many governments follow the lead of Russia and China in asserting the right to shut down “extremist” or “subversive” websites. In the United States, we worry about law enforcement abusing its authority while battling outright terrorism online, arguing that privacy and freedom of speech must always be measured against security, no matter how dire the threat. In Russia, a rough majority of the population has no problem with the notion of censoring the Internet in the name of political stability, and will countenance absolutely draconian controls against perceived national security threats. This is a distressingly common view in other nations as well: stability justifies censorship and monitoring, not just physical security.


Turkey’s crackdown on the Internet was alarming even before the aborted July coup attempt against authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has banned social media sites, including temporary bans against even giants like Facebook and YouTube, for political reasons. Turkish dissidents are accustomed to such bans coming down on the eve of elections. The Turkish telecom authority can impose such bans without a court order, or a warning to offending websites.

Turkey is often seen as the world leader in blocking Twitter accounts, in addition to occasionally shutting the social media service down completely, and has over a 100,000 websites blacklisted. Criticizing the government online can result in anything from lost employment to criminal charges. And if you think social-media harassment from loyal supporters of the government in power can get pretty bad in the U.S., Turks sometimes discover that hassles from pro-regime trolls online are followed by visits from the police.

Turkish law infamously makes it a crime to insult the president, a law Erdogan has already attempted to impose beyond Turkey’s borders. One offender found himself hauled into court for creating a viral meme – the sort of thing manufactured by the thousands every hour in America – that noted Erdogan bore a certain resemblance to Gollum from Lord of the Rings. The judge in his case ordered expert testimony on whether Gollum was evil to conclusively determine whether the meme was an illegal insult to the president.

The Turkish example introduces another idea common to far too many of the countries Obama wants to give equal say over the future of the Internet: intimidation is a valid purpose for law enforcement. Many of Turkey’s censorship laws are understood to be mechanisms for intimidating dissidents, raising the cost of free speech enough to make people watch their words very carefully. “Think twice before you Tweet” might be good advice for some users, but regimes like Erdogan’s seek to impose that philosophy on everyone. This runs strongly contrary to the American understanding of the Internet as a powerful instrument that lowers the cost of speech to near-zero, the biggest quantum leap for free expression in human history. Zero-cost speech is seen as a big problem by many of the governments that will now place strong hands upon the global Internet rudder.

Turkey is very worried about “back doors” that allow citizens to circumvent official censorship, a concern they will likely bring to Internet control, along with like-minded authoritarian regimes. These governments will make the case that a free and open Internet is a direct threat to their “sovereign right” to control what their citizens read. As long as any part of the Internet remains completely free, no sector can be completely controlled.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudis aren’t too far behind China in the Internet rankings by Freedom House. Dissident online activity can bring jail sentences, plus the occasional public flogging.

This is particularly lamentable because Saudi Arabia is keenly interested in modernization, and sees the Internet as a valuable economic resource, along with a thriving social media presence. Freedom House notes the Internet “remains the least repressive space for expression in the country,” but “it is by no means free.”

“While the state focuses on combatting violent extremism and disrupting terrorist networks, it has clamped down on nonviolent liberal activists and human rights defenders with the same zeal, branding them a threat to the national order and prosecuting them in special terrorism tribunals,” Freedom House notes.

USA Today noted that as of 2014, Saudi Arabia had about 400,000 websites blocked, “including any that discuss political, social or religious topics incompatible with the Islamic beliefs of the monarchy.”

At one point the blacklist included the Huffington Post, which was banned for having the temerity to run an article suggesting the Saudi system might “implode” because of oil dependency and political repression. The best response to criticism that your government is too repressive is a blacklist!

The Saudis have a penchant for blocking messaging apps and voice-over-IP services, like Skype and Facetime. App blocking got so bad that Saudi users have been known to ask, “What’s the point of having the Internet?”

While some Saudis grumble about censorship, many others are active, enthusiastic participants in enforcement, filing hundreds of requests each day to have websites blocked. Religious figures supply many of these requests, and the government defends much of its censorship as the defense of Islamic values.

As with other censorious regimes, the Saudi monarchy worries about citizens using web services beyond its control to evade censorship, a concern that will surely be expressed loudly once America surrenders its command of Internet domains.

For the record, the Saudis’ rivals in Iran are heavy Internet censors too, with Stratfor listing them as one of the countries seeking Chinese assistance for “solutions on how best to monitor the Iranian population.”

North Korea

You can’t make a list of authoritarian nightmares without including the psychotic regime in Pyongyang, the most secretive government in the world.

North Korea is so repressive the BBC justly puts the word “Internet” in scare quotes, to describe the online environment. It doesn’t really interconnect with anything, except government propaganda and surveillance. Computers in the lone Internet cafe in Pyongyang actually boot up to a customized Linux operating system called “Red Star,” instead of Windows or Mac OS. The calendar software in Red Star measures the date from the birth of Communist founder Kim Il-sung, rather than the birth of Christ.

The “Internet” itself is a closed system called Kwangmyong, and citizens can only access it through a single state-run provider, with the exception of a few dozen privileged families that can punch into the real Internet.

Kwangmyong is often compared to the closed “intranet” system in a corporate office, with perhaps 5,000 websites available at most. Unsurprisingly, the content is mostly State-monitored messaging and State-supplied media. Contributors to these online services have reportedly been sent to re-education camps for typos. The North Koreans are so worried about outside contamination of their closed network that they banned wi-fi hotspots at foreign embassies, having noticed information-starved North Korean citizens clustering within range of those beautiful, uncensored wireless networks.

This doesn’t stop South Koreans from attempting cultural penetration of their squalid neighbor’s dismal little online network. Lately they’ve been doing it by loading banned information onto cheap memory sticks, tying them to balloons, and floating them across the border.

Sure, North Korea is the ultimate totalitarian nightmare, and since they have less than two thousand IP addresses registered in the entire country, the outlaw regime won’t be a big influence on Obama’s multi-national Internet authority, right?

Not so fast. As North Korea expert Scott Thomas Bruce told the BBC, authoritarian governments who are “looking at what is happening in the Middle East” see North Korea as a model to be emulated.

“They’re saying rather than let in Facebook, and rather than let in Twitter, what if the government created a Facebook that we could monitor and control?” Bruce explained.

Also, North Korea has expressed some interest in using the Internet as a tool for economic development, which means there would be more penetration of the actual global network into their society. They’ll be very interested in censoring and controlling that access, and they’ll need a lot more registered domains and IP addresses… the very resource Obama wants America to surrender control over.

Bottom line: contrary to left-wing cant, there is such a thing as American exceptionalism – areas in which the United States is demonstrably superior to every other nation, a leader to which the entire world should look for examples. Sadly, our society is losing its fervor for free expression, and growing more comfortable with suppressing “unacceptable” speech, but we’re still far better than anyone else in this regard.

The rest of the world, taken in total, is very interested in suppressing various forms of expression, for reasons ranging from security to political stability and religion. Those governments will never be comfortable, so long as parts of the Internet remain outside of their control. They have censorship demands they consider very reasonable, and absolutely vital. The website you are reading right now violates every single one of them, on a regular basis.

There may come a day we can safely remand control of Internet domains to an international body, but that day is most certainly not October 1, 2016.

National Security Professionals and Cyber Experts Call for Pentagon Intervention on Surrender of the Internet

September 28, 2016

National Security Professionals and Cyber Experts Call for Pentagon Intervention on Surrender of the Internet, Center for Security Policy, September 26, 2016


Washington, D.C.: Dozens of experienced national security professionals and experts on cyber threats and warfare joined forces today to urge the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to oppose the transfer of the last vestige of U.S. control of the Internet to a non-profit organization in less than a week.

As things stand now, on 1 October, President Obama intends to transfer all responsibilities for naming and numbering domain addresses on the Internet to a non-profit organization known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Should that happen, the United States will no longer have any control over the addresses that serve to make all websites accessible and allow users to connect to the Internet. Currently, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) reviews all new addresses and authorizes them to be posted to the authoritative root server (the “A Server”) by Verisign.

In the attached letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, current and former leaders in industry, national security, homeland and cyber security express strong concerns about the likely implications of such a step and seek a one-year delay to allow full consideration of these issues:

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority function is critical to our nation’s ability to effectively defend our national assets and civilian population and ensure integrity in our cyberwarfare capabilities….DoD is reliant upon private sector critical infrastructure for its operations, and the integrity and security of the IP addresses associated with these assets are equally important to the protection of the American people.

Of…immediate concern to us…is the prospect that the United States might be transferring to future adversaries a capability that could facilitate, particularly in time of conflict, cyberwarfare against us. In the absence of NTIA’s stewardship, we would be unable to be certain about the legitimacy of all IP addresses or whether they have been, in some form or fashion, manipulated, or compromised. Given the reliance of the U.S. military and critical infrastructure on the Internet, we must not allow it to be put needlessly at risk.

The signatories, headed by storied leaders of the defense industrial sector and cyberspace, CACI International’s Executive Chairman, J.P. “Jack” London, and the former Chairman of Network Solutions, Michael A. Daniels, represent several centuries’ worth of experience in safeguarding America and its computer systems. They conclude with the bottom line: “There is, to our knowledge, no compelling reason for exposing the national security to such a risk by transferring our remaining control of the Internet in this way at this time.”

To learn more about what is at stake and the necessity of the executive branch and/or the Congress preventing this needless and avoidable disaster, contact Jody Westby, CEO of Global Cyber Risk LLC, at 202-255-2700 or

Here is the letter:

September 26, 2016

Hon. Ashton B. Carter
Secretary of Defense The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301

General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Secretary Carter and Chairman Dunford:

As individuals with extensive, first-hand experience with protecting our national security, we write to urge you to intervene in opposition to an imminent action that would, in our judgment, cause profound and irreversible damage to the United States’ vital interests.

On October 1st, the contract between the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will expire. Upon expiration, the President will allow the Government’s remaining control over the Internet to transfer to ICANN. This includes the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function and NTIA’s review of all Internet Protocol addresses and authorization for them to be placed on the authoritative root server (the A Server). In simple terms, nothing now is accessible on the Internet until it has undergone an IP address assignment and NTIA review and NTIA has authorized Verisign to post the address to the A server.

The IANA function is critical to our nation’s ability to effectively defend our national assets and civilian population and ensure integrity in our cyberwarfare capabilities. As Congress has considered this transfer of authority, it has stated that ICANN should ensure that .mil and .gov remain exclusive to DoD and that all IP addresses assigned to DoD are used exclusively by the Government. That ignores the fact that DoD is reliant upon private sector critical infrastructure for its operations, and the integrity and security of the IP addresses associated with these assets are equally important to the protection of the American people.

In the absence of U.S. Government involvement in IANA, it seems possible that, over time, foreign powers – including potentially or actually hostile ones – will be able to influence the IANA process. Even coercing the delay in approving IP addresses could impact military capabilities. From a broader view, given the well-documented ambition of these actors to restrict freedom of expression and/or entrepreneurial activity on the Internet, such a transfer of authority to ICANN could have far-reaching and undesirable consequences for untold numbers of people worldwide.

Of more immediate concern to us, however, is the prospect that the United States might be transferring to future adversaries a capability that could facilitate, particularly in time of conflict, cyberwarfare against us. In the absence of NTIA’s stewardship, we would be unable to be certain about the legitimacy of all IP addresses or whether they have been, in some form or fashion, manipulated, or compromised. Given the reliance of the U.S. military and critical infrastructure on the Internet, we must not allow it to be put needlessly at risk.

Indeed, there is, to our knowledge, no compelling reason for exposing the national security to such a risk by transferring our remaining control of the Internet in this way at this time.

In light of the looming deadline, we feel compelled to urge you to impress upon President Obama that the contract between NTIA and ICANN cannot be safely terminated at this point. At a minimum, given the irreversible character of this decision and its potential for grave and enduring harm to our national security and other vital interests, the decision should be delayed.


J.P. “Jack” London
Executive Chairman CACI International, Inc.

Michael A. Daniels
Former Chairman, Network Solutions

Jody R. Westby
CEO, Global Cyber Risk LLC and
Former Chief Administrative Officer & Counsel, In-Q-Tel

Adm. James A. “Ace” Lyons, USN (Ret.) Former Commander-in-Chief
U.S. Pacific Fleet

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense (Acting)

Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, USA (Ret.)
Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence

Hon. Pete Hoekstra
Former Chairman, House Intelligence Committee

Oliver “Buck” Revell
Associate Deputy Director (Ret.) Federal Bureau of Investigation

Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, USAF (Ret.)
Former Deputy Chief of Staff, United States Air Force

Hon. Michelle Van Cleave
Former Counter-Intelligence Executive

Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36)
Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Science Space and Technology Subcommittee

Hon. Jon Kyl
Former Senate Minority Whip

Dr. Lani Kass
Former Director, Air Force Chief of Staff’s Cyber Task Force

Hon. Charles E. Allen
Former Under Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for Intelligence and Analysis

Lt. Gen. C. E. McKnight, Jr., USA (Ret.)
Former Director, Command and Control Systems for Nuclear Forces, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Hon. John G. Grimes
Former Assistant Secretary, Networks & Information Integration and
DoD, Chief Information Officer

Lt. Gen. Robert J. Elder, USAF (Ret.)
Former Commander, U.S. Air Force Network Operations

Rep. Dave Brat (VA-7)

Vice Adm. Robert R. Monroe, USN (Ret.)
Former Director, Defense Nuclear Agency

Maj. Gen. Henry Canterbury, USAF (Ret.)
Former Operations and Readiness, Air Staff Pentagon

Daniel J. Gallington
Former General Counsel Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Maj. Gen. Harold “Punch” Moulton, USAF (Ret.)
Former Director of Operations, U.S. European Command

Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Israel, USAF (Ret.)
Former Director of Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office

Andrew McCarthy
Former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York

Hon. Paula A. DeSutter
Former Assistant Secretary of State and Professional Staff Member, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Rear Adm. Philip S. Anselmo, USN (Ret.)
Former Director of Command Control Communications Computers and Intelligence (C4I)

Rear Adm. Pierce J. Johnson, USN (Ret.)
Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Regional Headquarters, Lisbon (Portugal)

Lt. Gen. C. Norman Wood, USAF (Ret.)
Former Director, Intelligence Community Staff

Dan Goure
Former Director of the Office of Strategic Competitiveness in the Office of the Secretary of Defense

Thomas H. Handel
Former Executive Director, Naval Information Warfare Activity (now Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group)

Vice Adm. Edward W. Clexton, Jr., USN (Ret.)
Former Deputy Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Commander, Carrier Strike Group, and Deputy Commander in Chief, US Naval and Marine Forces, Europe

Vice Adm. Jerry L. Unruh, USN (Ret.)
Former Commander, U.S. Third Fleet

Rear Adm. Albert A. Gallotta, Jr., USN (Ret.)
Vice Commander, Naval Electronics Systems Command

Rear Adm. H. Winsor Whiton, USN (Ret.)
Former Commander of the Naval Security Group and former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency for Plans, Policy, and Programs

Lt. Gen. Bennett L. Lewis, USA (Ret.)
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Mobilization and Director, Defense Mobilization Systems Planning Activity

Lt. Gen. Tex Brown, USAF (Ret.)
Former Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force

Rear. Adm. Charles R. Kubic, CEC, USN (Ret.)
Former Commander, First Naval Construction Division

Rear Adm. Phillip R. Olson, USN (Ret.)
Former President of the U.S. Navy Board of Inspection and Safety

Victoria Coates
National Security Advisor to Sen. Ted Cruz

Morgan Wright
Senior Fellow, Center for Digital Government

Mike Steinmetz
President & CEO, Digital Executive LTD

Brig. Gen. Peyton Cole, USAF (Ret.)
Former Executive Secretary, U.S. Department of Defense

Capt. David E. Meadows, USN (Ret.)
Former Deputy Commander Naval Security Group

Capt. Scott W. Witt, USN (Ret.)
Former Chief, Weapons and Space, National Security Agency

Capt. Michael Sare, USN (Ret.)
Former Navy Cryptologist / Cyber Warfare Officer

Katherine C. Gorka
President, Council on Global Security

Col. R. J. Peppe, USAF (Ret.)
Former Chief, Selection Board Secretariat

Michael J. Jacobs
Former Information Assurance Director, NSA

Gwyn Whittaker
Former CEO, Mosaic, Inc.

Lynn Schnurr
Former Army Chief Information Officer and Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service

Frederick Fleitz
Senior VP, Center for Security Policy and former CIA Analyst

Daniel J. Bongino
Former Secret Service Agency, Presidential Protection Division

Col. F. E. Peck, USAF (Ret.)

Lt. Col. Jim Webster, USAF (Ret.)

Lt. Col. Floyd H. Damschen, USAF (Ret.)

Col. Raymond C. Maestrelli, DDS USAF (Ret.)

Col. Ed Leonard, USAF (Ret.)

Maj. Gen. Gary L. Harrell, USA (Ret.)

Christian Whiton
Former State Department Senior Advisor

Maj. Gen. John Miller, USAF (Ret.)

Maj. Gen. Timothy A. Peppe, USAF (Ret.)

Col. Richard W. Dillon, USA (Ret.)

Lt. Col. Ronald King, USA (Ret.)

David P. Goldman
Columnist, Asia Times and PJ Media Capt.

James H. Hardaway, USN (Ret.)

Lt. Gen. Gordon E. Fornell, USAF (Ret.)

Rear Adm. Thomas F. Brown III, USN (Ret.)

Col. Daniel Pierre, USAF (Ret.)

S.C. Robinson, Ret.
Section Manager, Y-12 National Security Complex

Richard T. Witton, Jr. (Ret.)

Col. Michael R. Cook (Ret.)

Roger Kimball Editor and author

Larry Cox
President, Western Slopes Security Services

Angie Lienert
President & CEO, IntelliGenesis LLC

Col. Willard Snell, USAF (Ret.)

David Winks
Managing Director, AcquSight, Inc.

Maj. Gen. Michael Snodgrass, USAF (Ret.)

Enjoy the Internet, Before Obama Abandons It to the UN

August 30, 2016

Enjoy the Internet, Before Obama Abandons It to the UN, PJ MediaClaudia Rosett, August 29, 2016

internet and UN

In Monday’s Wall Street Journal, columnist Gordon Crovitz sounds an urgent warning about President Obama’s plans, during his final months in office, to fundamentally transform the internet. It’s an intricate tale, but the bottom line is that unless Congress acts fast, the World Wide Web looks likely to end up under control of the UN.

That would be the same UN that serves as a global clubhouse for despotic regimes that like to wield censorship as a basic tool of power. Russia and China occupy two of the five veto-wielding permanent seats on the UN Security Council. Iran since 2012 has presided over one of the largest voting blocs in the 193-member General Assembly, the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement. Among the current members of the Human Rights Council are Venezuela, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia — where blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced in 2014 to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes, for blog posts the Saudi government considered insulting to Islam.

We’re talking here about the same UN which for generations has proven incorrigibly corrupt, opaque and inept at managing almost anything except its own apparently endless expansion and self-serving overreach. This is the UN of the Oil-for-Food worldwide web of kickbacks; the UN of the evidently chronic problem of peacekeepers raping minors they are sent to protect; the UN that can’t manage to adequately audit its own books, and offers its top officials an “ethics” program of financial disclosure under which they are entitled to opt out of disclosing anything whatsoever to the public.

This is the UN where a recent president of the General Assembly, John Ashe, died this June in an accident that reportedly entailed a barbell falling on his neck, while he was awaiting trial on fraud charges in the Southern District of New York — accused by federal authorities of having turned his UN position into a “platform for profit.”

So, how might this entrancing organization, the UN, end up controlling the internet? Crovitz in hisJournal column explains that Obama’s administration is about to give up the U.S. government’s longstanding contract with Icann, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which, as a monopoly, operates “the entire World Wide Web root zone.”

If that sounds like a good idea, think again. This is not a case of Obama having some 11th-hour 180-degree conversion to the virtues of minimalist government. It works out to the very opposite. Here’s a link, again, to Crovitz’s column on “An Internet Giveaway to the UN.” Crovtz explains that as a contractor under government control, Icann enjoys an exemption from antitrust rules. When the contract expires, the exemption goes away, unless Icann can hook up with another “governmental group” so as to “keep its antitrust exemption.” What “governmental group” might that be? Well, some of the worst elements of the UN have already reached out. Crovitz writes:

Authoritarian regimes have already proposed Icann become part of the U.N. to make it easier for them to censor the internet globally. So much for the Obama pledge that the U.S. would never be replaced by a “government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.”

This is far from the first time the UN has cast a covetous eye at the internet. For years, there have been UN proposals, shindigs and summits looking for ways to regulate and tax the Web. Recall, as one example among many, the 2012 UN jamboree in Dubai. Or 2007 in Rio. Or the 2009 Internet Governance Forum gathering in Egypt, inspired by the 2005 conference of wannabe-be web commissars in Tunis.

All that hoopla pales next to the alarming reality of Obama’s plan to cut loose Icann this fall, and let the economic and political currents carry it straight into the waiting clutches of the United Nations. Crovitz notes that the Obama administration, while preparing to drop Icann’s contract, has already “stopped actively overseeing the group,” with dismal results inside Icann itself. Crovitz concludes, “The only thing worse than a monopoly overseen by the U.S. government is a monopoly overseen by no one — or by a Web-censoring U.N.”

Lest that sound hopeless, Crovitz adds: “Congress still has time to extend its ban on the Obama administration giving up protection of the internet.” But not a lot of time. The deadline is Sept. 30th.

CRISIS: Internet to Have Global Governance October 1.

August 29, 2016

CRISIS: Internet to Have Global Governance October 1. Call Congress! Better Censorship for Tyrants by

Judith Bergman •

August 29, 2016 at 6:00 am

Source: Gatestone Institute

  • The U.S. announced its plan to pass the oversight of the agency to a global governance model on October 1, 2016. The Obama Administration says that the transition will have no practical effects on the internet’s functioning or its users, and even considers the move necessary in order to maintain international support for the internet and to prevent a fracturing of its governance. Oh really?
  • The absence of the U.S. in overseeing the governance of the internet could spell the end of the current era of free speech on the internet, as well as free enterprise.
  • What guarantees are there that internet governance will not eventually end up in the hands of those very governments, seeing as they are all very eager to gain control of it? None. The Geneva Declaration of Principles makes clear that the UN, run by a majority of authoritarian governments, wants a decisive role for governments in internet governance.
  • Civil society groups and activists are calling on Congress to sue the Obama Administration — perhaps at least to postpone the date until more Americans are aware of the plan. It is not too late.

Very soon, on October 1, 2016, much of the internet’s governance will shift from the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) authority to a nonprofit multi-stakeholder entity, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, also known by its acronym ICANN.

Until now, NTIA has been responsible for key internet domain name functions, such as the coordination of the DNS (Domain Name System) root, IP addresses, and other internet protocol resources. But in March 2014, the U.S. announced its plan to let its contract with ICANN to operate key domain name functions expire in September 2015, passing the oversight of the agency to a global governance model. The expiration was subsequently delayed until October 1, 2016.

According to the NTIA’s press release at the time,

“NTIA’s responsibility includes the procedural role of administering changes to the authoritative root zone file – the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains – as well as serving as the historic steward of the DNS. NTIA currently contracts with ICANN to carry out the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions and has a Cooperative Agreement with Verisign under which it performs related root zone management functions. Transitioning NTIA out of its role marks the final phase of the privatization of the DNS as outlined by the U.S. Government in 1997”.

According to the NTIA, from the inception of ICANN, the U.S. government and internet stakeholders envisioned that the U.S. role in the IANA functions would be temporary. The Commerce Department’s June 10, 1998 Statement of Policy stated that the U.S. government “is committed to a transition that will allow the private sector to take leadership for DNS management.” The official reason, therefore, is that

“ICANN as an organization has matured and taken steps in recent years to improve its accountability and transparency and its technical competence. At the same time, international support continues to grow for the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance as evidenced by the continued success of the Internet Governance Forum and the resilient stewardship of the various Internet institutions”.

The Obama Administration says that the transition will have no practical effects on the internet’s functioning or its users, and even considers the move necessary in order to maintain international support for the internet and to prevent a fracturing of its governance.

Oh really?

While the transition may appear ostensibly “technical”, the absence of the United States in overseeing the governance of the internet could spell the end of the current era of free speech on the internet, as well as free enterprise.

This is not merely wild speculation; it is evident in the statements that several governments, who are less than enchanted with the concept of freedom of speech, have made in recent years regarding the governance of the internet.

Some of these statements have come to light in the preparatory work of the United Nations World Summit on Information Society, known today as WSIS+10 — a process that began in 2003 with the Geneva Declaration of Principles and that continues to this day. Purportedly, the purpose of the process is a “commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge” (section A.1), but already in section B.1 it becomes clear that the UN, run by a majority of authoritarian governments, wants a decisive role for governments in internet governance:

“Governments, as well as private sector, civil society and the United Nations and other international organizations have an important role and responsibility in the development of the Information Society and, as appropriate, in decision-making processes. Building a people-centred Information Society is a joint effort which requires cooperation and partnership among all stakeholders”.

The UN, in the form of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), has already tried in vain to wrestle control of the internet from ICANN, but where the ITU failed, WSIS+10 may succeed with the new “global governance” ICANN, unshielded from the protection of the US.

The urge of various governments to control the internet is evidently there. If anything, this was clear from the submissions for the December 2015 WSIS+10 UN General Assembly High Level Meeting.

The written submission of the Group of 77 plus China — a coalition, dating from 1964, of developing countries that now includes 134 nations — stated that, “The management of the Internet involves both technical and public-policy issues and … the overall authority for Internet related public policy issues is the sovereign right of States.”

China’s individual submission was even more interesting. It stated that,

“The multi-stakeholder governance model that brings together governments, the private sector and non-governmental organizations would be respected… This model should not be lopsided, and any tendency to place sole emphasis on the role of businesses and non-governmental organizations while marginalizing governments should be avoided. The roles and responsibilities of national governments in regard to regulation and security of the network should be upheld. It is necessary to ensure that United Nations plays a facilitating role in setting up international public policies pertaining to the Internet. We should work on the internationalization of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers”.

When China says that ICANN should be internationalized, it hardly has in mind an increased role for non-governmental organizations.

Russia did not even pay lip service to the multi-stakeholder governance model but cut straight to the point:

“We consider it necessary to consecutively increase the role of governments in the Internet governance, with strengthening the activity of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in this field, as well as with support of the UNESCO activity in the development of ethical aspects of Internet use…”

“Ethical aspects of Internet use”?

Saudi Arabia, in its submission, also emphasized, that a priority for the WSIS+10 should be, “actualization of enhanced cooperation to enable governments… to carry out their roles and responsibilities in international public policy issues pertaining to the internet”.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Obama Administration — as well as many in the high-tech community — regards the long-planned move as necessary to maintain international support for the internet and prevent a fracturing of its governance — a claim critics may find dubious. The U.S. government’s role “has long been a source of irritation to foreign governments,” according to the NTIA. One look at many foreign governments and it is easy to see why. The NTIA claims that, “These calls for replacing the multi-stakeholder model with a multilateral, government-run approach will only grow louder if the U.S. government fails to complete the transition”. Is that a threat?

But what guarantees are there that internet governance will not eventually end up in the hands of those very governments, seeing as they are all very eager to gain control of it? None.

In fact, those who claim to care about a free and uncensored internet, unbridled by government and international state organizations, should take a close look at the proposals for the plan for ICANN that the different stakeholders, including governments, came to agree on in March 2016 in Marrakech. According to this plan, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), a decisional participant in ICANN, will — subject to certain limitations — be able to participate in decision-making on budgets, board member removals, and other matters of ICANN corporate governance. This is new and represents a major shift, which should concern those who care about internet freedom. Even if this plan is discarded for some reason, it shows how eagerly governments are pushing for control in internet matters. That observation alone should serve as a warning to those who take at face value the U.S. administration’s declarations that nothing will change.

The decision to transfer authority to ICANN has met with resistance in the U.S. Congress, and a coalition of more than two dozen civil society groups and activists are even calling on Congress to sue the Obama Administration — perhaps at least to postpone the date until more Americans are aware of the plan. It is not too late.

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.


Police Raid Apartments Over ‘Right-Wing’ Social Media Posts

April 7, 2016

Police Raid Apartments Over ‘Right-Wing’ Social Media Posts, BreitbartChris Tomlinson, April 7, 2016

(Please see also, Germany Moves To Remove Anti-Erdogan Poem And Merkel Calls Turkey To Apologize. — DM)


Police in Berlin have raided ten apartments because residents may have posted “anti-migrant” views online.

Berlin Police completed a large scale raid on internet users Wednesday. The officers ransacked ten separate apartments in the German capital in the suburbs of Spandau, Tempelhof, Marzahn, Hellersdorf and Pankow.

The force confiscated mobile phones, narcotics and weapons. Nine suspects were arrested, aged 22-58, and are accused of posting messages critical of migrants, migrant helpers and some anti-semitic slogans on social networks like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter, reports Berliner Morgenpost.

The Berlin police have told media that they already knew of the suspects and said that many of them have what they consider a “right-extremist” background. Police spokesman Stefan Redlich said that while many of the men shared anti-migrant views, “the men do not know each other according to previous findings,” and there was no evidence of any planned conspiracy to commit crime among them.

In some of the homes searched police were forced to admit they hadn’t found anything at all, but Redlich justified the raids saying they were maybe, “people who just once expressed their hate-opinion.”

One of the raids in particular was prompted by a Facebook comment to an article regarding an Afghani migrant who was shot dead at the Bulgarian border. The incident took place in October and according to Bulgarian officials it was an accident as a bullet was meant to be a warning shot but ricochet and hit him.

The post responded to the article saying that it was unfortunate too few migrants met with a similar fate, as it might scare the rest of them from coming.

Police announced that the raids show Germans that they are not as safe online as they might think. They say that anyone who says something xenophobic, spreads hate toward migrants, or shares what they consider to be xenophobic music, may be next on the list of apartments to be raided in the future.

58 police were involved in the raids and some illegal items were found in a few of the apartments. Police found one revolver handgun, though it was not mentioned if it had any ammunition or whether or not is was deactivated. They also found an air soft gun, which requires a license to own in Germany and a stun gun that appeared to be camouflaged as a flashlight.

Spokesmen Redlich also mentioned that they had found several unconstitutional symbols but did not divulge specifics. Banned symbols in Germany include Nazi era symbols like the swastika and various Nordic runes used by the Nazis during the era.

Berlin has seen a rapid increase in prosecutions for speech on the internet. In 2014 there were 196 investigations into anti-migrant and xenophobic posts, while 2015 saw 289 cases. In the last six months there have been three raids prior to this one, but so far this has been the largest in scale. Investigators have set up a special task force who work with the organization Network Against Nazis (NAN),  headed by ex-stasi agent Anetta Kahani, to monitor internet postings across Germany.

Google and Facebook have been criticized for helping the German government crack down on speech that is critical of migrants and of the policies of German chancellor Angela Merkel. The policy led to the deletion of the Facebook account of a young girl who spoke out about the migrant crisis and how she no longer felt safe walking the streets of her town.

Redlich says that the team is constantly searching YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp and especially Facebook where most cases are pursued because users are forced to use their real names. He said the message of the raids is clear, “the internet is not above the law.”

The raids come just days after British police issued an apparently menacing tweet, warning them not to get into trouble on-line. As reported by Breitbart London, the Greater Glasgow Police offered internet users this helpful advice: “Think before you post or you may receive a visit from us this weekend. Use the internet safely. #thinkbeforeyoupost”.