Thursday, February 17, 2011

"homeland security"

The US Government continues to abuse power under the misleading rubric "homeland security." This time, they've illegitimately seized 84,000 domain names, inserting a pointer to a child pornography warning.

Although the mistake has since been reversed, one wonders about the legitimacy that allows a department supposedly intended to protect the security of the homeland to replace tens of thousands of websites at a time (apparently with unobjectionable content) with an implicit accusation of child pornography.

I'm as against child pornography as the next guy, but surely this is not a matter of "homeland security"? The point of dividing a governing body into different bureaus with different powers is to ensure a modularity to the assessment of the means required to achieve different ends. The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are disjoint departments, for example, and surely enforcement of child pornography laws is a matter for the FBI? An interesting question here is: if the procedures / powers of the FBI had been followed rather than those of the DHS, would the innocent web sites have been shut down? Would the offending sites still have been shut down?

No comments: