It’s been hinted before, but until recently, no government under democracy has ever attempted it. As you all have probably heard, the Middle East is going through some drastic overhauls with their government systems, and the governments have begun taking actions. They have began limiting and even completely halting internet activity to avoid any further rallying and other “anti-government” activities.
Is it possible for any country to just shutdown internet activity for an undefined amount of time? Or was this just something that we will only see in the Middle Eastern countries?
The truth is, talks about having the power to halt our most liberal means of free speech have been going on for years now – it’s not just a most recent event. Over the past few years, America has attempted to pass a bill called, “Kill Switch” which gives the executive branch the power to close off or limit the internet. The greener side of the fence says that this sort of “limit to freedom” will never be possible because of our 5th Amendment to not have our freedom of speech suppressed, or even that our internet network is much more complex than that of a country in the Middle East’s making it much more simpler to control as a whole, i.e. only has about 0.5% of the worlds IP (internet provider) addresses, opposed to the estimated 55.9% of IP that North America alone has.
Then again, in the past 10 years our freedoms have taken a turn for the worst in the US, at least, with acts like the PATRIOT ACT and the Freedom of Information Act, which allows for a disregard for freedoms if you even show the slightest signs of defying the will of the government, in its simplest definition.
Overall, I do believe if the governments needed to, they wouldn’t hesitate to pull the plug on the public portion of the internet calling it, “Protecting the People”, and like many other acts currently in place, people will convince themselves that the little security is greater than the cost of the freedom lost.