Obama’s recent selection of Joe Biden as his running-mate may had spelled doom for the Obama-Biden ticket – at least among the technically inclined.
- Joe Biden asked Congress to spend $1 billion to monitor peer-to-peer activity. His excuse was to “prevent child pornography,” but his approach applied to everything P2P, not just kiddie porn.
- Not one, but TWO of Joe Biden’s bills have been explicitly “anti-encryption,” because you know, encryption makes it hard for the FBI, CIA, NSA, Secret Service, and the White House to read your e-mails.
- Joe Biden has expressed support for internet taxes and internet filtering in schools and libraries. After all, the government doesn’t get enough our our money in the form of taxes… and the internet is “dangerous” because it fosters something called “freedom of speech.”
- The RIAA seems to be one of Joe Biden’s best buddies: Biden sponsored a bill that would restrict recording of songs from satellite and ‘net radio, and another one that would make it a felony to “trick” a computer into playing back unauthorized songs or running bootlegged videogames.
- Joe Biden was one of just four senators invited to attend a celebration of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hosted by the MPAA’s Jack Valenti and the RIAA’s Hillary Rosen, two of American file-sharer’s most wanted.
- When Joe Biden was asked in 2006 about proposing net-neutrality laws, he said there was no need for net neutrality, since any bit-filtering violations would provoke such a huge public ruckus they’d have to hold congressional hearings anyway.
Are we alone in our opinion that Biden is a bad choice for VP? No, we’re in good company; Verizon, Microsoft, Apple, eBay, the EFF, and Yahoo have all opposed Biden’s technology bills at some point or another.
What about your privacy? How does Joe Biden stack up there?
Biden wants to get rid of that pesky privacy issue (also known as the Fourth Amendment), at lease according to his voting record. In the 1990s, Biden was chairman of the Judiciary Committee and introduced a bill called the Comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Act, which the EFF says he was "persuaded" to do by the FBI. Another of his bills was called the Violent Crime Control Act. Both were staunchly anti-encryption, with this identical language:
It is the sense of Congress that providers of electronic communications services and manufacturers of electronic communications service equipment shall ensure that communications systems permit the government to obtain the plain text contents of voice, data, and other communications when appropriately authorized by law.
In non-government babble that means turn over your encryption keys. And since the government already thinks your emails are just “postcards on the internet” and open to be read by anyone (including themselves) what is one to do to “secure” their email when encryption isn’t secure?
Biden’s bill (and the threat of encryption being outlawed) is what inspired the PGP movement.
Where does Biden stand on FISA and retroactive immunity for illegal wiretaps?
Recently our elected officials had the opportunity to slap the Bush Administration across the face sending a message that the Fourth Amendment isn’t dead and cannot be usurped in the name of “fighting terror” by voting down the FISA Amendment which (amongst other things) gave retroactive immunity for all telecommunications providers that illegally opened their network to the National Security Agency for wiretapping purposes).
Joe Biden didn’t agree with Bush’s wiretapping and the thought of retroactive immunity for telco’s who went along with the illegal scheme and voted against the FISA bill. Even Joe Biden thought that went “too far.”
But does Obama share Biden’s opinion on technology and your online privacy?
Obama promised to support a filibuster of any bill that would give telco’s immunity from Bush’s illegal wiretapping. When the time came for him to vote to protect our privacy, I wrote him a letter asking him to support a filibuster, or in absence of another Senator filibustering, I requested that he be the one to filibuster.
- No one filibustered the bill.
- Obama didn’t start a filibuster.
- Obama didn’t vote against the bill.
- Obama didn’t even “abstain” from voting one way or another.
- Instead, after promising to hold Bush accountable for his illegal wiretapping, Obama voted away our privacy (yours and mine).
- Obama, instead, commented that he will “fix that, once elected.”
- To top it all off, Obama didn’t even have the common courtesy to reply to my letter.
Obama’s mantra has always been about “change” without really telling us what that “change” is. Apparently Obama’s “change” means no online privacy.