Saturday, January 29, 2011

US Senate Wants To Revive Internet "Kill Switch"

Could a government shut down of the Internet, a la Egypt, happen here? From the Washington Examiner:
Reminding free speech advocates and libertarians that bad bills are like zombies in DC, the “internet kill switch” will be revived in the Senate. Still sponsored by Maine Sen. Collins and Sen. Lieberman, the Sen. Snowe supported bill has been revised and will presented once more.

Cnet reports on the “improved” bill. But first we need a bit of history.

"A draft Senate proposal that CNET obtained in August 2009 authorized the White House to "declare a cybersecurity emergency," and another from Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) would have explicitly given the government the power to "order the disconnection" of certain networks or Web sites. House Democrats have taken a similar approach in their own proposals.”

As The Hill pointed out when this idea was first proposed. Those in support of the bill bawk at calling it a “kill switch” and think its merely a clarification.

“At the heart of the issue is whether the president already has the authority to intervene in private-sector networks in the event of such an emergency. Collins and other supporters of the bill contend the president has had that authority for some time under a little-known provision of the Communications Act passed one month after the December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor."

Some might question this wisdom of the timing of such an idea considering the fact
that Egypt has just shut off the internet (and mobile phones) in order to aid in their crackdown on street protests. Tea party and other activists will see this as hint of what could happen here with an over-zealous President.

1 comment:

Deekaman said...

Snowe and Collins are the worst thing to happen to the GOP since its inception. Someone make them go away.