Jewish World Review August 4, 2003 / 6 Menachem-Av, 5763
Pull in the 'Net
The harsh truth is that many lanes on the information highway have become dangerous back alleys of crime and corruption. Download these statistics:
In addition, overseas pharmacy Web sites will send you illegal narcotics in the mail, and you can gamble away every cent you have with online bookies. The FBI's cyber crime caseload has increased 1,200 percent over the past five years.
Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. There is no question that cyber crime is exploding, and the FBI, with its mandate to protect us from terrorists, is simply outmoused. The USA needs a federal cyber police and special federal courts to deal with the avalanche of criminal activity and civil intrusion.
Nobody really knows just how many people use the Internet, but estimates range up to 500 million people daily worldwide. And here in America, there is no single federal agency that keeps track of the crimes that occur everyday. Things are simply out of control.
This is a classic case of unintended consequences. The Net is an enormously powerful instrument that has improved all our lives. But it can also be used to hurt you. So where is the protection that our federal government is mandated to provide us? Benjamin Franklin had his hands full with a simple kite, what would he think now?
Because right now on the Net you can say anything you want about anybody, true or not. You can lie, cheat, steal, corrupt children, sell drugs, take bets, and send pornography and other offensive material. You can sell fake autographs and antiques. You can threaten people. And the odds of anything happening to you are infinitesimal. Al Capone would have loved the Net.
The argument against a cyber police is that "Big Brother" should not be watching what we do on our private machines. But these machines are not private once that send button is pushed. The Internet can quickly turn into a weapon and grievously hurt people. There must be consequences for those who break the law or practice defamation in cyber space.
So while Congress dithers around and the FBI is overwhelmed, the bad guys have new high-tech opportunities that even Fredo Corleone would have understood. The federal government is being outdueled by thugs and degenerates armed with computers and evil intentions. We need a powerful force to fight those evildoers, and we need it now.
Let cyber justice begin.
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