If you are old enough to harken back to the 1970's, President Nixon brought to us the "War on Drugs", supposedly to curb the influx of narcotics into our the country and to reduce the violence associated with illegal drugs. For the most part, the war on drugs has been a failure, with the general result of burgeoning jail sentences for low level drug users.
Fast forward to the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States back in 2001. This brought another war on an abstract concept, "The War on Terror." Given the current situation in the Middle East and across the world, I don't think anyone can say that the published spending of $1.6 trillion as of the end of 2014 on just military operations. This doesn't include the ridiculous spending and distribution of arms in the increased militarization of our police force.
In the wake of the large data breaches on 2013 and 2014 (Target, Home Depot, Sony, etc), along with the "terrorist" attacks in Paris in early January 2015, there are renewed calls for "Security on the Internet" to protect us from hackers and terrorists. What are governments looking to curtail freedoms online?
- Encryption - Since Phil Zimmermann introduced PGP in 1991, there has been concerns by the government about encryption tools. This included 3 years of investigation by the Federal Government into Zimmermann before it dropped the investigation. Now, world leaders like David Cameron want to ban encryption as a tool against terror, saying "...legislation that does not allow terrorists safe space to communicate with each other." This same tool can be used by dissidents, privacy conscious individuals, and the general population to keep others from spying on their communication.
- Hacking and Racketeering? - The President may have some interesting comments about hacking in the State of the Union on Tuesday, according to Rob Graham. Obviously, new laws won't change those that are already breaking the law, but it will stifle security research, security testing, and security discussions over the internet (podcasts like Security Weekly.)