by John Galt
March 6, 2012 21:30 ET
Peace in our time? No.
Dictatorship in our time? Approaching rapidly.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has opened a commentary period by the general public on the idea of structuring a set of rules to allow government, be it the Federal, State, or local, to shut down cellular phone service should the need arise as determined by said government(s). What initiated this process was the shut down of all cell phone service in the San Francisco Bay area BART protest by authorities during the Occupy movement protest last August. The idea is to jam or simply have the cell phone providers shut down the networks except for 911 service to allow governments to prevent protests from being organized via text message like the Egyptian “Arab Spring” protests or BART Occupy movement attempted last year.
This is a scary prospect because the ability to organize and assemble peacefully has long been a standing portion of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and is akin to banning public demonstrations if executed in a legal lawful manner. The FCC is seeking comment on the legality of this idea also but believes apparently that it is within the scope of the Communications Act of 1934 to allow them to enforce such a policy. Next thing you know the government will seek the right to remove websites and posters on walls and telephone poles they find offensive or capable of incitement against their desires.
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