Obama ‘Internet kill switch’ plan approved by US Senate panel

Invisible Shield for Apple iPhone 4!“A US Senate committee has approved a wide-ranging cybersecurity bill that some critics have suggested would give the US president the authority to shut down parts of the Internet during a cyberattack,” Grant Gross reports for Techworld.

Gross continues, “Senator Joe Lieberman and other bill sponsors have refuted the charges that the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act gives the president an Internet ‘kill switch.’ Instead, the bill puts limits on the powers the president already has to cause “the closing of any facility or stations for wire communication” in a time of war, as described in the Communications Act of 1934, they said in a breakdown of the bill published on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee website. The committee unanimously approved an amended version of the legislation by voice vote Thursday, a committee spokeswoman said. The bill next moves to the Senate floor for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled.”

“The bill, introduced earlier this month, would establish a White House Office for Cyberspace Policy and a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications, which would work with private US companies to create cybersecurity requirements for the electrical grid, telecommunications networks and other critical infrastructure,” Gross reports. “The bill also would allow the US president to take emergency actions to protect critical parts of the Internet, including ordering owners of critical infrastructure to implement emergency response plans, during a cyber-emergency. The president would need congressional approval to extend a national cyber-emergency beyond 120 days under an amendment to the legislation approved by the committee. The legislation would give the US Department of Homeland Security authority that it does not now have to respond to cyber-attacks, Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, said earlier this month.”

Gross reports, “On Wednesday, 24 privacy and civil liberties groups sent a letter raising concerns about the legislation to the sponsors. The bill gives the new National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications ‘significant authority’ over critical infrastructure, but doesn’t define what critical infrastructure is covered, the letter said. Without a definition of critical infrastructure there are concerns that “it includes elements of the Internet that Americans rely on every day to engage in free speech and to access information,” said the letter, signed by the Center for Democracy and Technology, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other groups. ‘Changes are needed to ensure that cybersecurity measures do not unnecessarily infringe on free speech, privacy, and other civil liberties interests,’ the letter added.”

Full article via Techworld: “Obama ‘Internet kill switch’ plan approved by US Senate panel; President could get power to turn off Internet”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]

75 Comments

  1. Trolltastic headline. The ‘kill switch’ isn’t for Obama, it’s for whoever is President. But nice try to convince people Obama is the second coming of Dr Evil. I’m sure most MDN readers will lap this up if they can get their noses away from Fox News long enough to read it.

    On the other hand, no one should have this authority. If it goes down it goes down. What difference does it make if it gets taken down by a foreign attack or they kill it from this side. If it’s off, it’s off. They should spend their time worrying about the security of sensitive military and government systems and leave the rest of it alone.

  2. Spew your bile at the feet if Sanator Jay Rockefeller, the real architect of this disaster. Take tim to read his thoughts on this and other legislation. The more you learn about him and about how ignorant he is on matters of technology and other issues, the more terrified you will be.

  3. I object to the premise of the bill: that the entire global internet is an asset of the US, and that the POTUS should have the authority to turn it off at his own discretion, with no oversight.

    IMO, this is an inappropriate power grab for the executive branch.

  4. @Bringer

    Why is this called article called ‘Obama’s internet Kill switch plan’? Didn’t Lieberman write this Bill? Oh, right, I forgot. This is MDN.

    If you don’t think the Senate coordinates with the executive branch on legislation when the same party controls both, then you haven’t been paying attention.

  5. This is not the “Obama Internet Kill Switch”, he had nothing to do with the formulation of this bill, has not spoken about this bill, and has not indicated whether or not he would sign it into law.

    This is the “Joe Lieberman Internet Kill Switch”.

  6. MDN you are an ass. Pure and simple. That bill affects the office of the President of the United States no matter who is currently occupying the office. But that doesn’t matter to you and all your Klan buddies who reflexively hate Obama because he’s black.

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