T Nation

Attack on Freedom


A Senate bill would offer President Obama emergency control of the Internet and may give him a "kill switch" to shut down online traffic by seizing private networks -- a move cybersecurity experts worry will choke off industry and civil liberties.

Details of a revamped version of the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 emerged late Thursday, months after an initial version authored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., was blasted in Silicon Valley as dangerous government intrusion.

"In the original bill they empowered the president to essentially turn off the Internet in the case of a 'cyber-emergency,' which they didn't define," said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which represents the telecommunications industry.

"We think it's a very bad idea ... to put in legislation," he told FOXNews.com.

Clinton said the new version of the bill that surfaced this week is improved from its first draft, but troubling language that was removed was replaced by vague language that could still offer the same powers to the president in case of an emergency.

"The current language is so unclear that we can't be confident that the changes have actually been made," he said.

The new legislation allows the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and make a plan to respond to the danger, according to an excerpt published online -- a broad license that rights experts worry would give the president "amorphous powers" over private users.

"As soon as you're saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it's going to be a really big issue," Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told CNET News.

A Senate source familiar with the bill likened the new power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when he grounded all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001, CNET News reported.

Spokesmen for Senator Rockefeller and the Commerce Committee did not return calls seeking comment before this article was published.

But Rockefeller, who introduced the bill in April with bipartisan support, said the legislation was critical to protecting everything from water and electricity to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records.

"I know the threats we face," Rockefeller said in a prepared statement when the legislation was introduced. "Our enemies are real. They are sophisticated, they are determined and they will not rest."

The bill would also let the government create a detailed set of standards for licensing "cybersecurity professionals" who would oversee a single standard for security measures.

But many in the technology sector believe it's a job the government is ill-equipped to handle, said Franck Journoud, a policy analyst with the Business Software Alliance.

"Simply put, who has the expertise?" he told FOXNews.com in April. "It's the industry, not the government. We have a responsibility to increase and improve security. That responsibility cannot be captured in a government standard."

Clinton, of the Internet Security Alliance, praised President Obama's May science policy review, which he said would take cybersecurity in the right direction by promoting incentives to get the private industry to improve its own security measures.

But he faulted the Senate bill, which he said would centralize regulations for an industry that is too varied to fall under the control of a single set of rules without endangering the economy and security.

"We think a lot of things need to be done to enhance cybersecurity," he told FOXNews.com, but this bill is "not something that we could support."


Yep, this piece of shit has been in the works for a while. This new version is even more vague, and open to interpretation/abuse. Can you imagine the hysteria that would ensue if this was proposed under a Republican administration?


What the fuck. I hate the PWI forum, it makes me feel like I'm in pre WWII Germany. Fucking knowledge.


I personally would not want anyone to have that power also, but if the situation warranted shutting down the internet they would do it regardless of this bill passing or not


Yeah, they'd call them Nazi's.What i still don't get is why is it that we have a guy in office with moves straight out of the Nazi playbook, but if you call him a Nazi or speak out against him your a racist???


No they wouldn't they would get lynched and or the military would intervene. We are a Republic by the people for the people of the people.


Not anymore dude. We are the ignorant serfs who are to serve the political class.


I hope that was sarcasm. We and I mean the silent majority are silent no more.



HAHAHA. So true.


That said, can we kill the bill? I don't want any loopholes for any president to pull shit like that, Rep or Dem.


This needs to be posted in nearly every thread started by these clowns. Comparing ANYONE to Hitler is pretty lulz.


The Nazi stuff was started by the left with Reagan and was silly then. It was applied to both Bushes, so now people are crying when the Dems are being called Nazis. It's about time. Their beliefs are very similar. They put through a gun control law in 1968 in this country that is almost word for word a copy of the Nazi weapons law.

They are the party of similar ideas. I've never seen a commie or fascist or socialist regime, promote gun ownership, lower taxes ( the lynch pin of individual freedom), where to work, what to work and how to work.

It's about time the left is called Nazis by some, because Nazism isn't being a big meanie pants guy you don't like. It's a specific way to take away freedoms. the only thing the left does to promote freedom is in regards to abortion.


I couldn't have said it any better myself...........


So those plans to kill 6,000,000+ people for inferior genes are definately on the table for the Obama Administration?

Reagan wasn't a Nazi, Clinton wasn't a Nazi, hell none of your fucking Presidents were Nazis. Let's cut that shit out now. If you have a legitimate concern (which you don't - the moment any administration pushes it too far you'd have mass revolts), then address it instead of going "zomg tey is teh nazees".


Sure you could. Don't sell yourself short, you're every bit as ignorant as tom. Hell, he probably subscribes to your favorite periodical, "Backward Home".

Just keep up the mantra: nothing Bush did was bad, everything Obama does is Nazi. Or Commie. Or Socialist. Or whatever, they're all pretty much the same shit, right?




So my legitimate concern that is on the table know one on the left wants to talk about? Silly things these facts.




Oh Yeah?

Well get an eyefull of the enforcers for your new regime, you forward thinking genius.