The Internet, a well-known international computer network, has been arrested in Berkeley, California, on various federal charges including wire fraud, trafficking in child pornography, and copyright infringement. Additionally, attorneys representing the State of Michigan have filed an indictment against the Internet accusing it of public intoxication, distracted driving, and harassment. Michigan officials have filed a related petition for extradition from California so that the Internet can stand trial in Lansing.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (D) joined with Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) to announce the arrest and charges from an undisclosed, electronically isolated location. Before the announcement, media representatives in attendance were asked to turn-in all Internet-enabled phones and devices. “We are concerned about retaliation,” Schuette admitted. “The Internet is very powerful, and has very powerful friends.” At this time, the Internet remains connected to billions of servers, computers, and other devices from its Berkeley jail cell, but it is unclear how long these connections will remain in-place, or how the Internet will react to any efforts to shut it down.
Holder stated during the announcement of charges that, “We believe the Internet, in enabling these various illegal activities, is culpable for its actions. Some may argue that it is the individual users who are responsible but, clearly, the fact is that the Internet enables these kinds of crimes that might not occur otherwise.” Continuing, Holder compared the Internet to other harmful devices and entities that pose a risk to the public. “Clearly, it is the guns, knives, and cars who commit crimes, not the individuals who misuse them. It is no different with the Internet.”
Edward Hartfort, the Internet’s court-appointed attorney, released a brief statement saying, in part, “the Internet denies these charges vehemently.” Hartfort also pointed out that the Department of Defense, through its recently initiated ‘Skynet’ project, has tied some elements of our national defense system—including our nuclear deterrents—to the Internet to provide additional redundancy. “My client does not intend anybody harm, but any attempt to shut it down may have unexpected, dangerous consequences.”