A quintessential hallmark of an authoritarian regime, particularly one that operates within highly-militarized, though nominally democratic states such as ours, is the maintenance of a system of internal control; a seamless panopticon where dissent is equated with criminality and the rule of law derided as a luxury ill-afforded "during a time of war."
In this context, the deployment of new offensive technologies which can wreck havoc on human populations deemed expendable by the state, are always couched in a defensive rhetoric by militarist aggressors and their apologists.
While the al-Qaeda brand may no longer elicit a compelling response in terms of mobilizing the population for new imperial adventures, novel threats--and panics--are required to marshal public support for the upward transfer of wealth into the corporate trough. Today, "cyber terror" functions as the "new Osama."
And with Congress poised to pass the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, an Orwellian bill that would give the president the power to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" and shut down or limit Internet traffic in any "critical" information network "in the interest of national security" of course, the spaces left for the free flow of information--and meaningful dissent--slowly contract.