Sunday, June 20, 2010

Newsy: Internet 'Kill Switch' Proposed

A new bill would give President Obama the power to shut down the Internet in the event of a cyber attack which could compromise national security.
A new bill in Congress could give the president what’s being called an Internet kill switch, spurring outcry that it would give the government too much power.
We’re looking at perspectives from CNN, American Public Media, The Volokh Conspiracy Blog, The Inquisitor, The Portland Mercury Blog and Instapundit.
The bill would give the president the power to issue measures that Internet companies would have to comply with in case of a cyber attack which could comprimise national security. The president would be able to shut down parts of the Internet. It’s sponsored by Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee. CNN expands on the bill.
KIRAN CHETRY: “Senator Lieberman has long supported government regulation of the Internet, but this new bill goes even further in the handling of emergency powers, handing them over to the Feds.”
American Public Media’s Marketplace says the idea of a cyber attack is not all that far-fetched, and The Volokh Conspiracy blog says, iif an attacked occurred, the president would have the ability to protect the country: “The Pentagon and private companies like Google already fend off millions of attacks every day.”
“If another country launches a computer network attack on U.S. infrastructure, do we want the president to look as helpless as he looks today in response to the BP spill?”
Fox News reports that the bill is supported by many Internet companies because it would protect them from civil lawsuits and reimburse them if the Internet was shut down. The Inquisitir says this isn’t surprising: “…the typical sweet deal being dangled in front of the companies to con them into signing on this stupidity…”
The Portland Mercury blog is astounded that a senator would even conceive an idea like this: “That activating a ‘kill switch’ would not only bring our economy to a near-screeching halt, but could possibly cause irreparable damage? It sincerely blows my mind that this person is allowed anywhere near the federal government!”
Finally, an Instapundit blog explains that something like this could cause public chaos: “WHAT COULD GO WRONG? ... If they shut down the Internet, I’m getting my gun. And I think everyone should take it as a signal to do the same -- because one way or the other it means the country’s under attack.”
What do you think? Should the government have control of the Internet in case of a cyber attack? If so, does this bill provide the right amount?

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