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Story A Call to the Hill - Internet Censorship
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Where hiking boots go to die

    A Call to the Hill - Internet Censorship

    This story is a follow up to the story A Concerned Citizen. Mrs. Bee is at it again. Any and all resemblance to actual people and events are coincidental and totally self serving. Once I heard a proverb that not making a decision was making a decision to not make a decision. - OGM

    Freedom - What is the responsibility of those who do not protect it?

    Chapter 1

    The phone call to her Democratic US Senator generated the same automated message she had heard many times in the past. "Hello! This is United States Senator Gerry Mandering! Thank you for calling my office in Washington DC. Your call is very important to me. Due to the high volume of calls I am unable to take your call now. (A hint of false regret flavored the recording) If you would like to leave a message or comment on an issue, please press one now. It is my privilege to serve YOU in the United States Senate!" Today, like so many other days there was no option to speak to a member of his staff. She hit "1" and left a short message. At least she's vented a little, not that it made any difference.

    A quick web search and another phone call got her a staffer in her Republican Senator’s office. He was, in her opinion a RINO but at least his staff was professional enough to pick up a phone.

    “Hello Senator’s Office. How may I help you?”. The staffer sounded young and confident. He looked at the caller ID for the incoming call. The area code was from farm country. He thought to himself: “Maybe I should be ready to forward this one to the USDA?.”.

    “Hi. My name is Mrs. Bee. Who am I speaking to?”. She asked politely.

    “My name is Danny. How may I help you today?”. He answered with just the appropriate hint cheerfulness.

    “Well, Danny? I have some questions regarding, the ceding of Government over site and control of internet IP addresses in the US, on October 1, 2016; who gets what, who keeps what, for how long, how much they get charged for an address and cyber security. Could you help me.?” She asked.

    “I can certainly pass along your concerns to the Senator. We have been getting a lot of calls on this.”. His tone of deepened with practiced concern.

    “No Danny that’s not what I’m really after here. What I really want to know is if the government, Secrete Service, whomever provide not physical protection but cyber protection for the Senators and Congressmen and woman?”.

    “You would have to call the Capitol Police. They provide security….”.”.

    “Danny I’m not talking about physical security. I am taking about cyber security. Like firewalls and encryption to protect the Senator from hackers. That leads me to my first question. It sounds like over site of the internet in the US is being ceded to an international conglomerate that is at least partially controlled by countries who's governments heavily censor their citizens access to and activities on the internet. We both know there are some mentally challenged individuals out on the internet. If the Senator's inaction should allow the spread of internet censorship to the US and in light of the Snowden data theft and Secretary of State’s email and server scandal; does the Senator have any fear of cyber retribution in the form of a Snowden type leak as retribution by his own staff or someone who has access to his accounts?”. She asked sweetly.

    There was a pause from the other end of the line. “I don’t know the answer to the question and can’t answer for the Senator….”.

    “Is the Senator concerned with the possibility of retribution from irate hackers who may blame him personally if this censorship should spread to the US or other countries who have enjoyed the freedom of an uncensored internet?”. She asked in her sweet grandmotherly voice.

    “I can’t answer for the Senator. I will be glad to pass on your concerns. Thank you for sharing…”.

    She interrupted his attempt to end the call. “Does the Senator have any concerns these hackers may take retribution on his family for his failure to prevent this?”.

    “I can’t answer for the Senator. I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION!”. Danny's veneer of practiced professionalism did not slip but there was now honest concern in his voice. Mrs. smiled and pressed.

    “Thank you Danny for your honesty.”. It wouldn’t hurt to deescalate a little. Nothing would be gained if he hung up.

    "Has the Senator taken any action to prevent the release of Government over site of the internet in the US?". She asked.

    "The Senator has not taken any action on this issue to date.". Danny again answered back in his professional Washington staffer voice.

    "Ah ha!". She thought. Bet that didn't come off a prewritten script! “Maybe you can answer this. As a member of his staff do you personally have any concerns of cyber retribution? Guilt by association?”. She pressed.

    Again there was a pause. She could almost see the look of shock on Danny’s face. This was something he’d not considered. He enjoyed his work on The Hill. He liked being close to the seats of power and influential people. When it happened, he liked knowing things before everyone else. He’d had the security briefings and had heard about how government workers had been pressured or blackmailed in the past but that was other people. He never saw his work on The Hill being a potential danger to him personally. Now in less than five minutes, this little old lady from the sticks destroyed his sense of security and invulnerability and exposed what may or not be a danger not only to the government, private industry but personally to his boss, other staff members and himself.

    “I can’t answer questions like that.”. Danny answered, pronouncing each word succinctly and with unfeigned concern.

    “Well thank you Danny for taking some of your time to answer my questions.”. She sighed. “They weren’t the answers I had hoped for but I hope my questions never become more than “Concerns you share with my Senator.”.

    End Chapter 1

    For the cyber geeks out there if I got any of the details wrong please let me know. I also don't like the current title. Any suggestions to convey the idea with less verbiage?
    Last edited by Old Gray Mare; 09-22-2016 at 03:01 PM. Reason: Spelling!
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    State WA
    Yes again, who really knows how this is going to turn out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Where hiking boots go to die
    If I’m going to get a visit I might as well do it right. – OGM

    Chapter 2

    A quick look up on the web provided her Congressman’s phone number. He was a good ol’ boy the bulk of who’s constituents religiously voted straight ticket Republican. This ensured he’d been enshrined in his Congressional seat for decades. Patience, determination and back country and back door agreements help to ensure he finagled his way through the years onto some powerful and prestigious committees.

    The call was quickly picked up by a seasoned staffer; Mike: “Hello. Congressman’s Warnoggins Office. This is Mike.”.

    “Hi Mike. This is Mrs. Bee. I have a concern I like clarified and I think you can do it. If you have a few minutes?”. She asked.

    Mike mentally groaned. He’d remembered this one. “How can I help you today Mrs. Bee?”. He said hoping whatever the question was, the problem could be passed to some other government office.

    “Well, Mike it’s about the Government ceding oversite of the internet to an international conglomerate. What are we getting out of the deal?”. She asked.

    “I’m not following you.”. He replied. It was almost lunch time and he was meeting that staffer from Congressman's Huffinflots Office. He was supposed to feel her out about an upcoming vote. If he could get rid of Mrs. Bee without pissing her off. Her county was a good sized but populated with more cows than constituents. The problem was most of the constituents were related and voted.

    “The ceding of Government over site and control of internet IP addresses in the US, on October 1, 2016. This would mean no US government control of who gets what IP Address, who keeps what, for how long, how much they get charged for it and who can get a new address. This could allow an international conglomerate with members reported from countries like China, Iraq and others who heavily censor their citizens access to and activities on the internet. I'm talking censorship. This could potentially effect or limit the ability of the US institutions; industrial, financial, health care, educational, business as well as individuals to use the internet. I want to know how much the US Government is getting for ceding control. It could be worth trillions, a trillion trillions? Why not wipe out the national debt?”. She asked.

    Now she had the staff member’s complete attention. She heard pages turning frantically in the background over the phone. “Old school” Mrs. Bee thought.

    “Wait a minute Mrs. Bee. I’m trying to find out more about this. Can I call you back with that information?”. He asked trying to track the information down in the stack of spiral bound, hard copy current issues on his desk.

    “I’ll look forward to hearing from you Mike.” She smiled and hung up.
    Last edited by Old Gray Mare; 09-22-2016 at 07:13 PM.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Where hiking boots go to die
    Chapter 3

    Mike made a quick phone call: “Hey Ben. How are you?” He asked.

    It had been more than a while since Ben had heard from Mike. He knew this was not a social call. “I’m doing fine. What’s up Mike”. Ben replied getting down to business.

    “I’ve got this old lady from out in Fly Over Country ragging on me about this internet thing with ICANN. You know anything about it?”. Mike asked hopefully.

    “It’s complicated…”. Ben started to answer and paused.

    “In English please Ben.”. Mike hated to admit it but the complexities of the Internet were beyond him. If he could email, Google and occasionally buy on-line that was all he needed.

    “Mike I’m not an expert here’s what I think I know. ICANN is a non-profit organization based in Playa Vista, Los Angeles, California that manages procedures and databases related to the namespaces of the Internet*. These databases have the high level or English names of IP addresses. Like the name of your senator’s web site. ICANN takes that English web site name and in the database finds the IP address that corresponds to it. The IP address is made of four groups of numbers (base 8) separated by periods. These number codes uniquely identify a device to a network it is connected. Networks are inter-connect devices, the Internet is a network of networks. Using these IP Addresses allows you to locate specific internet sites.” Ben answered.

    “So what’s the problem? So ICANN goes from being an American nonprofit organization to a Multinational or Global conglomerate. Happens all the time So what? It would function the same as under the US wouldn’t it. A computer is a computer, a database is a database. Right?”. Ben asked, confused.

    “Let me answer that like this. Right now as an American nonprofit organization operating under the over site of the US Department of Commerce with a multistakeholder governance model. What a Multistakeholder governance model is you are going to have figure out for yourself. There have been accusations on the ‘net of price gouging by ICANN because they control the allocation of high level internet names and they approve them and set the price for adding an approved name to their database. If the US government gives up that oversite who knows how it will work in the future?’. Ben answered.

    “You mean they could delete the high level names, addresses of US Companies or even the US Government from their databases? Could they give the website names of US companies to non-related companies overseas? Would that be legal?”. Mike asked.

    “You are getting the idea. If it not overseen or regulated in Washington I can’t tell you what would be legal or not.”. Ben answered.

    “Can people look up those codes on the internet right now and use them to connect different addresses directly?”. Mike asked still trying to get a handle on all this.

    “Yes right now anyone can do that if they have access to the right web sites and/or their IP address codes.

    “What do you think over site of ICANN’s databases and procedures is worth?”. Mike asked more than a little curious.

    “Mike back in college there was this thing called Shay’s law which states: A product is no sooner created, than it, from that instant, affords a market for other products to the full extent of its own value. So Mike, can you tell me what someone would be willing to pay for it?”. Ben answered.

    Source: *

    The End (I hope!)
    Last edited by Old Gray Mare; 09-22-2016 at 07:34 PM.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain


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