Rep. Issa weighs on on the Open Government Partnership and international treaties.
There are any number of responsibilities and challenges inherent in moving forward with the historic Open Government Partnership (OGP) that officially launched last September. Global Integrity’s recent assessment of the National Action plans submitted to the Open Government Partnership by participating countries found cause for both concern and optimism, As I’ve highlighted elsewhere previously.
The National Action Plan commits the United States to 18 different open government initiatives, including implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). One of the primary functions of the committee that Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) chairs in the U.S. House is to provide oversight of what’s happening in the Executive Branch of government. In that context, the Government Oversight and Reform has an important role in overseeing not just what the proposals are but how they’re actually executed by agencies. In March 2011, the committee held a hearing on open government initiatives in the United States.
Earlier this summer, I interviewed Rep. Issa about a number of issues related to open government at the federal level including the involvement of the United States in OGP. Here’s what he had to say on the topic:
Cyberwarfare needs to be framed far more broadly.
When we hear the term “cyberwarfare” we think of government-backed hackers stealing data, or releasing viruses or other software exploits to disrupt another country’s capabilities, communications, or operations. We imagine terrorists or foreign hackers planning to destroy America’s power grid, financial systems, or communications networks, or stealing our secrets.
I’ve been thinking, though, that it may be useful to frame the notion of cyberwarfare far more broadly. What if we thought of JP Morgan’s recent trading losses not simply as a “bad bet” but as the outcome of a cyberwar between JP Morgan and hedge funds? More importantly, what if we thought of the Euro’s current troubles in part as the result of a cyberwar between the financial industry and the EU?
When two nations with differing goals attack each other, we call it warfare. But when financial firms attack each other, or the financial industry attacks the economy of nations, we tell ourselves that it’s “the efficient market” at work. In fact the Eurozone crisis is a tooth-and-claw battle between central bankers and firms seeking profit for themselves despite damage to the livelihoods of millions.
When I see headlines like “Merkel says Euro Rescue Funds Needed Against Speculators” or “Speculators Attacking the Euro” or “Banksters Take Us to the Brink” it’s pretty clear to me that we need to stop thinking of the self-interested choices made by financial firms as “just how it is,” and to think of them instead as hostile activities. And these activities are largely carried out by software trading bots, making them, essentially, a cyberwar between profiteers and national economies (i.e. the rest of us).
Why propose principles for Internet freedom and a "Digital Bill of Rights" when existing ones will do?
How the Bill of Rights is being upheld in a digital context is, to say the least, an interesting living story to follow.
The passage of a resolution that human rights must also be protected on the Internet in the United Nations Human Rights Council was a historic affirmation of the principle that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online.”
This affirmation may play well in the headlines, but it does raise some practical questions. For instance, would this high-level resolution by the U.N. Human Rights Council inhibit member countries if they violate their citizens’ right to freedom of expression online, if such countries are already violating human rights offline? Or would the U.N. Security Council ever vote for sanctions over Internet censorship of political or religious content that might be online speech in one country and deemed blasphemous or even illegal in another?
Violators could include Iran, Russia, Cuba, Syria — but also Pakistan, China, India or the United States or United Kingdom, should a livestreamer’s smartphone be taken away during a march or cell service shut down during a protest, as it was at a BART in San Francisco.
In this context — and related to their concerns about similar bills to the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act — Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Ron Wyden proposed a “Digital Bill of Rights” at the 2012 Personal Democracy Forum in New York City this summer.
In a phone interview last month, I asked Rep. Issa about the ideas behind the proposal principles and freedom of expression online.
12 talks from the 2012 Personal Democracy Forum worth watching and sharing.
The ninth Personal Democracy Forum explored the nexus of technology, politics and campaigns. What's happening online matters offline. Indeed, the barrier between the virtual and physical worlds has fallen.
Health IT and HIE advances in Massachusetts may lead to national shifts.
Although health information exchange should be identified as a process, having the structures and organizations to facilitate exchange is a challenge facing health care. A recent conference articulated these issues, and presented clear plans on how Massachusetts is addressing them.
Dr. Lauren Thompson discusses the Federal Health Architecture.
In this interview, Federal Health Architecture director Dr. Lauren Thompson discusses the state of health information exchange.