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The Internet Politics

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 Passes Senate Panel 367

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the this-won't-end-well dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 passed a Senate panel, giving the president unprecedented power to issue a nation-wide blackout or restriction on websites without congressional approval. The bill, written by Sen. Jay Rockefeller [D-WV] and revised by Sen. Olympia Snow [R-ME], was drafted in an attempt to thwart internet-based terrorist threats, and gives the president this 'kill switch' without oversight or explanation. The bill is up for Senate vote."
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The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 Passes Senate Panel

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  • Oh yeah? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:46AM (#31670624) Homepage Journal

    Well, you can't contr[Connection dropped by USA Presidential request].

    • How does this work? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by manekineko2 (1052430)

      I know you're joking, but seriously, how would something like this even work?

      As far as I know, there's no Great Firewall of China style ISP-level filter here in America. So how would they even enforce a blackout of a website?

      • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:03AM (#31670952) Journal

        As far as I know, there's no Great Firewall of China style ISP-level filter here in America. So how would they even enforce a blackout of a website?

        Should be easy enough to include such function inside the snooping machines that NSA has at tier 1 providers and ISP's.

        • by tagno25 (1518033)
          Most of my internet never touches a tier one provider, just some large tier two providers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Yvan256 (722131)

        As far as I know, there's no Great Firewall of China style ISP-level filter here in America.

        This is probably your answer.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by g0bshiTe (596213)
          FTFA
          "declare a cybersecurity emergency and then shut down or limit access to parts of the internet without any oversight or explanation"

          Don't know about other /.'rs but I interpret this as total blackout, can we say cut off from mainstream media? This is censorship China style under the guise of anti-terrorism, let's all just sit back and watch our freedom erode.
      • by lwsimon (724555)

        DNS poisoning?

      • by Tolkien (664315)
        If you look at it differently you might notice that while the US doesn't explicitly restrict access, they do MONITOR it. This could be considered as bad as or worse than restriction, because if you're restricted, you have much more difficulty committing any act that is deemed objectionable by the government. When you're monitored, they know where you've been, what you've done and can use it against you if or whenever they choose. Have you been looking at content deemed illegal by the government? They might
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by vlm (69642)

        Simply make two rules:

        Define "Everyone" below as any ISP in the USA.

        1) Everyone has to BGP peer with Big Brother AS number 666, one way or another

        2) Everyone has to accept (not filter) a 0/0 route from Big Brother AS 666 (most people filter anything bigger than a /8)

        Seems like it would be simple enough...

        According to my favorite AIM buddy "BGP Bot" AS 666 is not currently assigned, probably pending this law.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by nospam007 (722110) *

        All those series of tubes are connected to a big donkey wheel in the cellar of the White House where you can shut it off.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:47AM (#31670650)
    Why do I have a funny feeling that The Pirate Bay will suddenly be labeled a terrorist organization?
    • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:51AM (#31670742)
      More likely Wikileaks than Pirate bay, especially with recent release of highly questionable CIA documents [salon.com] plus the imminent release of that video [twitter.com].
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lord Ender (156273)

        Is this really what the bill is about? My assumption is that this is intended to give the President the authority to shut down botnet controllers during DDoS attacks. Waiting for the courts in such a scenario is unreasonable. The police can immediately respond to a crime in progress; this would make something similar possible in a botnet/DDoS scenario.

        As long as the law clearly indicates that the powers are authorized for use against attacks (rather than against political speech or against copyright infring

        • by Shakrai (717556)

          My assumption is that this is intended to give the President the authority to shut down botnet controllers during DDoS attacks. Waiting for the courts in such a scenario is unreasonable.

          Why is waiting for the courts unreasonable in such a scenario? We aren't talking about Jack Bauer standing over the nuclear weapon that's about to destroy New York City. We are talking about not being able to access a few portions of the internet for the duration of a DDoS attack.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HungryHobo (1314109)

      This does explain the sudden rise in the number of times that bullshit term "cyberwar" has been turning up in headlines.

      Oh and those designed-to-fail excercises where they put a few doddering old politicians in a room and had them defend against a fictional cyberattack which they of course couldn't handle.

      They've got to pretend there's a real war/threat to get people to hand over power.

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    • by V!NCENT (1105021)

      Because you are retarted... It's a mechanism for the US president, just like any other emergency plan they can initiate, to shut down all communications. It might be awesome that if China was to attack the USA (just an extremely unlikely situation ofcourse), the US president could shut down all communication? And be selective in this (might not want to insta-kill wallstreet, eh?). It might also be awesome that he can order it any time he wants without having to go through time consuming practices...

      It's not

  • by AnonGCB (1398517) <7spams@gmail . c om> on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:47AM (#31670656)
    It's not as bad as the Patriot act, so therefore it's ok for this to pass. At least they're not as bad as the last administration, right?
    • Re:It's ok people (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:09AM (#31671104)

      Laws like these tend to have a long life. Who in their sane mind would give that out of his hand again? Once granted, it will stay. Even if you eventually get someone that makes Dubja look like Mahatma Ghandi.

      To avoid Godwin, I'll pull a Dollfuß [wikipedia.org]. He was the dictator of Austria before it was absorbed by the German Reich. Think of him as Mini-Hitler. He ruled with a law from the first world war that allowed the administration to make laws without oversight in case of "need". He simply declared the perpetual "need" and thus circumvented the government.

      Once such power is granted, it will not go away. And it invevitably will eventually fall into the wrong hands.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Once such power is granted, it will not go away. And it invevitably will eventually fall into the wrong hands.

        I would argue that in many cases, misuse of power isn't the evil -- power itself is the evil. The fact that power will fall into the "wrong hands" and is a moot point, because there are no right hands.

        To paraphrase Lord Acton, no class is fit to govern. This is just a formal way of saying that power itself (the special "right" to employ physical force as one's means) is evil.

    • they're not as bad as the last administration, right?

      Do as I say, not as I do. Bush BAD, BO GOOD.

  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:48AM (#31670668)
    Is this Kill Switch just for the internet or the all the people who use the internet?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's a poison pill. It acts like a virus. It replicates, eating up all the memory. If you see this affecting your machine as the system administrator, don't be an idiot. Type "Cookie". That will help to head the program off at the pass.

      The second portion of this poison pill is a "Zero Bug". it attacks all the login and overlay files. I advise that you run anti-virus, while checking out the systems display.

      The third, and final payload is a "rabbit" virus which infects administration systems. A smart administ

      • Um, thanks for all the scary details, but a simple 'internet' or 'people' would have sufficed. Heck, even a sarcastic 'yes' would have done nicely.
  • Report to Congress (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Akido37 (1473009) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:49AM (#31670706)
    Like most emergency powers, it requires the President to report to Congress within 48 hours.

    It doesn't seem, though, to give Congress power to stop the emergency action if it feels that it's not really an emergency.

    We'll see what the House does with it.
  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:51AM (#31670754)

    Can anyone think of a single example where throwing the kill switch would be better than not throwing the kill switch? You're talking about shutting down or heavily impacting > 90% of the economy, making communication difficult or impossible for a large number of people, and permanently damaging the trust that people have in a connected society. The damage would be severe and significant and I just can't imagine a situation where it would do more harm than good.

    • by BarryJacobsen (526926) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:58AM (#31670878) Homepage

      Can anyone think of a single example where throwing the kill switch would be better than not throwing the kill switch? You're talking about shutting down or heavily impacting > 90% of the economy, making communication difficult or impossible for a large number of people, and permanently damaging the trust that people have in a connected society. The damage would be severe and significant and I just can't imagine a situation where it would do more harm than good.

      Depends on who the "better" is for. I know if I was in the government and the people were trying to over-through me and my cohorts that the ability to stop all the communications networks they're likely to use (internet + cellphones) would be very useful in preventing anything coordinated.

    • by Nadaka (224565) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:05AM (#31671006)

      It depends on your definition of "harm" and "good". An revolt with widespread popular support by a significant minority or even majority of citizens could require the internet to be shut down to prevent the people from organizing to rally against an oppressive regime. It worked out pretty well for Iran.

    • Hmm... A quickly spreading botnet that is then used to attack China, exclusively executed by US hosted computers, that could prompt China into assuming an internet based attack.

      Yes, unlikely and hardly executable. You asked for an example, not one that's remotely possible.

    • Can anyone think of a single example where throwing the kill switch would be better than not throwing the kill switch?

      I believe they're looking to shutdown specific sites. The best thing to do is start setting up darknet/freenet nodes all over the place. Once they begin nailing websites they don't like, they won't stop.

      • You really think darknets will remain legal much longer?

        • It will be a hard go. Something positive needs to happen.

          Free, private communications is a cornerstone of maintaining a free society. Without a secure method of communications, the possibility of eventually overthrowing a tyrant is very small.

          Who would have thought that "de oppresso libre" could become that applied in the US?

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      I think thy're only talking about killing individual web sites.

      (Obviously they never heard of the Streisand effect but that's another story - I can't wait for the first politician to use this to try to remove pictures of himself in a public washroom. Oh, how the world will laugh ...).

  • by MahariBalzitch (902744) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:52AM (#31670760) Homepage
    Our freedom in the US is quickly diminishing under the guise of "Terrorism". It makes me sick watching it happen and knowing there is nothing we can do about it.
    • there is nothing we can do about it.

      Vote.
      Run for office.
      Rebel.

      • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:57AM (#31670860)

        there is nothing we can do about it.

        Vote.
        Run for office.
        Rebel.

        I believe you forgot:
        ????
        Profit!

      • by Thanshin (1188877)

        a) Vote.
        b) Run for office.
        c) Rebel.

        Your options have some problems. But don't worry, I have the solution for all of them.

        A - As it is right now, your vote won't change anything: To make your vote count, kill everyone else.
        B - You don't have enough money to run for office: Steal some millions of dollars.
        C - They're more than you, to quench your rebellion: See A.

      • Vote.

        Hmm. How's that working out for you?

        Run for office.

        Good luck with that, truly. You'll need more than luck though - see above.

        Rebel.

        How? Take up arms? You won't last ten seconds. Stop paying taxes? Even worse, the Revenoo will be after you.

        Rebellion seems to be the only choice until you realise that you need so many people in on it you might as well just vote the same way. Seems like a catch-22 to me...

      • by ArcherB (796902)

        there is nothing we can do about it.

        Vote.
        Run for office.
        Rebel.

        In other words:

        Ballot Box.
        Soap Box.
        Ammo Box.

    • by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:07AM (#31671038) Homepage Journal

      If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy - James Madison

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by vikingpower (768921)
      There is something you can do. It is called revolution. You - i.e. your ancestors - already did something similar, over 2 centuries ago. It resulted into the USA as we know it, today. Nothing prevents you from doing it again.
    • You can start by rallying friends and family to vote for anyone but an incumbent. Get out and support their primary challenger. If that doesn't work, vote for other other guy. Send enough people packing and the rest will get the message.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Androclese (627848)
      Sure there is; we re-establish the Republic. Put the emphasis back onto the States and away from the Federal Government. What is happening today is exactly why the Constitution was laid out the way it was. (not that it stopped it).

      First step? Repeal the 17th Amendment; turn the Senators back into wards of the State Legislatures. When they have to actually represent the States they have come from and not their own self-interests (who *really* pays attention to what they did 5 years ago at election ti
  • Wikileaks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @10:54AM (#31670804)

    A page must be created right now to prepare the bets and polls on which page will be blocked first.

  • So the president can make and put into action such a plan but this is not an expansion of existing authorities? Since when did the president have authority to censor speech?
    • So the president can make and put into action such a plan but this is not an expansion of existing authorities? Since when did the president have authority to censor speech?
      When he got the right to round up innocent Americans and inter them.
    • Obama's Blackberry.

    • That's kind of the key point. It could be more clearly defined in the bill, but it's clear from context that they're talking about private networks used to run infrastructure like the power grid, the water system, etc. In order to use it to disconnect someplace like WikiLeaks, they would first have to declare WikiLeaks to be critical infrastructure.

  • by captaindomon (870655) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:03AM (#31670958)
    I don't have a problem with this, there should be a way that the system can be quickly shut down if necessary. Waiting for congressional approval would take months probably, even weeks if there was a really pressing emergency. I don't think this law is about approval (I'm sure there would be a huge investigation by congress if he ever used it), it's about timing - stuff on the internet happens quickly and needs to be responded to quickly.
  • by axl917 (1542205)

    I voted for Hillary.

  • Control (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tarlss (627609)

    He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing

  • by tacokill (531275) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:06AM (#31671016)
    Lots of comments but not one that is technically based...

    Ok, I'll ask. Exactly how would a kill switch for the intrawebs work? Specifically, how would the president hit one button and "shut down" all telecom infrastructure in the country (including wireless). What about the various mesh networks that sprung up?

    I am trying to envision how this would work on any technical level and I just can't get there. Yes, you could pretty easily cripple our telecom system here and there but to shut the whole thing down and make it unusable is quite a different scenario.

    Not to mention the hacking opportunity this presents. Yes, I am sure there will be many many layers of security....but still.....if the president can do it, then someone else can also do it.


    This actually raises (many) more questions than it answers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jwinster (1620555)

      I was about to post this same thing, the only situation that makes any sense is that he could tell the ISPs what to do, who would promptly challenge the directive in court rather than shutting off traffic.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        It would only happen during martial law. In that case if an ISP didn't shut down, military personnel would shut it down. and no, I don't mean they would destroy it, they would just evac the building and pull the plug.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by geekoid (135745)

      It would work just like martial law would effect TV and Radio.

      All ISPs would be told to shut down a service in the specified area. Military personnel would show up at an ISP not complying and force compliance.

      Declaring martial law has never happened in the US. Doing so would have huge negative political ramifications, as it should.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by psnyder (1326089)

      Exactly how would a kill switch for the intrawebs work?

      This bill is not about a kill switch.

      From the summary:

      ...giving the president unprecedented power to issue a nation-wide blackout or restriction on websites without congressional approval.

      Giving a strong legal power (such as power to shut off the internet in an emergency) makes it much easier to control individual websites.


      A few years ago, during the big debates on the legality of wire-tapping and torture, many of the counter arguments ran along the lines that the president was within his legal rights because of similar and more massive powers he had during "emergencies" or "war time". And those arguments worked.

      No one cares a

  • by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:08AM (#31671076)

    This is akin to putting people on the no-fly list for no reason. IMHO, this is a blatant abuse of power and violates the 1st amendment in a big way. Can anyone remember when shutting down the opposition in the name of security was done last? Oh, yeah, Hugo Chavez. Oh yeah. the Chinese government. Oh yeah, the Iranian government. Oh yeah, the Burmese government (scuse me Miranmar). If people being pissed about the Patriot Act contributed to a change of power, this will do the same in the other direction. "Oh, but our beloved president Obama would never do that do me only to those evil right-wing militias (that nobody ever heard of until now)." Yeah, keep thinking that. Would you want a president with an opposing ideology to have this power?

    • Oh shut up. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      This is no different then the presidents power to issue martial law.

      Even during the most oppressive moments of our government, martial law has never been declared.

      NO one s on the no fly lists for 'no reason'. Some people are mistakenly put on it. HOWEVER no fly lists are far worse then this; they assume guilt and punish innocent people.

      2 different things.

      And no, this doesn't have anything to do with Obama. Nice try.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yeah, too bad Obama publicly stated he wanted this. He also publicly stated that he wants a federal police force that answers only to him. Besides, since people think Bush was so evil, why didn't he do this? He certainly had enough time and a congressional majority to do it.

        The difference between martial law and this is that martial law takes a lot of time and manpower to implement on a national scale. This takes a few hours.

        And martial law violates Posse Comitatus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_C [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lwsimon (724555)

      Those of us who have heard of the Hutaree before are scratching our heads.

      Yeah, they're extreme, but they're also committed. If they were as dangerous as they are made out to be now, don't you think one of them would have started shooting by now?

      They don't know WTF is going on either. I find that far scarier than a "criminal militia".

    • by Nadaka (224565)

      Actually, a lot of us "radical liberals" are steaming mad at Obama. I didn't drink the kool-aid, I knew he was no different than Bush, I knew he was a corporate-feudalist puppet who would support fascist police state policies from the start.

      On the other hand, I've known about the apocalyptic christian death cults for the better part of 20 years now. The group in Michigan is only the tip of the iceberg.

  • then the power any president has had with everything else.

    It's like martial law. Ever stop to notice we have never had martial law?

    • by lwsimon (724555)

      Yes, we have. Lincoln declared martial law during the Civil War, with the authorization of Congress.

  • by wcrowe (94389) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:20AM (#31671304)

    Change you can beli-- 404 ERROR...

  • I remember that it was more about restricting internet access to infrastructure targets like power plants. That's not to say that the actual law isn't vaguely enough worded to allow for gross breaches of civil rights. I didn't see anything in the blurb about what the changes were to the kill switch legislation.

  • Not so terrible (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KeithIrwin (243301) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @11:26AM (#31671462)

    I've read the bill. It honestly isn't that bad. First off, the "kill switch" doesn't apply to arbitrary web sites or anything like that. It specifically targets 1) government computer networks and 2) computer networks connected to "critical infrastructure". By "critical infrastructure", they mean things like the power grid, water and sewer systems, natural gas systems, stuff like that. Some people who have read this bill have made the assumption that "infrastructure networks" is synonymous with "network infrastructure", i.e. internet backbones, but it's pretty obvious from the context that this is not what the bill is meant to cover. There's nothing in the bill which allows the president to turn off your internet or disconnect you unless you are a utility company.

    Now, that said, they really could have more precisely defined "critical infrastructure networks" in order to make that clearer. There is still a little weasel-room in the bill where it is possible that someone could try to justify ridiculous actions using it. They could have eliminated this with a more specific definition of what comprises "critical infrastructure". So I wouldn't say that I support it 100% in its current form, but honestly, I don't think that the bill is all that terrible.

    The bigger problem to me is that I don't see any reason to believe that the measures in this bill will do anything significant to address the problem which they are purporting to address. Although I'm not convinced that a "cyber attack" is a real threat, if it is, by the time the president declares a state of "cyber emergency", it will probably already be too late. If there really is a serious on-line threat then the way to fight that is not to give more power to people at the top to respond, it is to give people at the bottom more authority to make decisions and respond quickly to a developing security situation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      From page 53: "With more than 85 percent of the Nation’s 11 critical infrastructure owned and operated by the private sector, it is vital that the public and private sectors cooperate to protect this strategic national asset" So, they define critical infrastructure to mean the 15% owned by the public sector and the 85% owned by the private sector. Now for your #2... Computer networks connected to "critical infrastructure". Well that about covers the entirity outside of private LANs.
  • I think that this bill points out the need for all of us to know a little bit about the electronics involved with digital communication. We basically need to know enough to connect our computers together into small nets that can be independently linked to the world internet.

    Our political masters in Washington have the idea that internet is a giant centrally-controlled utility that can be completely shutdown when some political leader orders it done.

    It is quite possible that it

  • Removed (Score:3, Informative)

    by BStocknd (762377) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @12:45PM (#31673078)
    I read that the 'kill switch' was removed from the bill a few weeks ago... Even Fox [foxnews.com] says it was.
  • by Jerry (6400) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:08PM (#31673502)

    The 1913 US Tax law was a tax on only the top 1% of the population, the "wealthy". Now, the wealthy have tax dodges that allow them to pay less taxes than their maids, who often work at minimum wages. The resulting enforcement agency, the IRS, has been repeatedly used over the years as a political weapon, even more so than the Census Act. The use of the Census Act as a political weapon is rapidly gaining ground.

    The RICO Act was created to fight organized crime, and a "promise" was made that it would "never" be used on ordinary citizens. Now, it is used over 10,000 times a year against ordinary citizens as a way to steal "guilty" property and as a supplemental funding source when law enforcement budgets are frozen or cut. The RICO Act provides that the law enforcement agencies can keep the property they stole even if it turns out that the "target" supplied by a jail house snitch seeking a "deal" was innocent.

    The MOST UNPATRIOTIC law ever passed, the PATRIOT ACT, effectively destroys the Bill of Rights. The accused cannot tell anyone, including their spouse, that they've been accused, or of what they have been accused. They cannot face their accuser, nor can they see the "evidence" against them. They are tried in special courts. In fact, the PATRIOT Act RE-ESTABLISHES the conditions that were created in America by King George, prior to the Declaration of Independence. It's a slam-dunk convection when you cancel the Bill of Rights, especially when you add the infamous "perp walk" and the leaked "fact" news, all deliberately used to create an air of guilt for which there is often little or no real evidence. Toss in the self-appointed TV pundits, who act as judge, jury and executioner, and the accused is forever tainted. Fear of terrorist attacks have resulted in a law which cannot guarantee safety and has destroyed the Constitution. Like the Tax law and the RICO act, it is only a matter of time before future politicians use it for political purposes. So now, the US citizen has neither safety nor freedom and bribed Congressmen steadfastly refuse to identify or accept the power base of Jihadist threats in America, and persist in wasting American blood and treasure in Mid-East energy wars while Oil Companies continue to make record profits on oil and lobby to suppress alternate energy development in order to sustain their profit margins.

    The FAIRNESS Doctrine was never about fairness. It was created as a political weapon. The political center and Right has always had a larger base in the US and, as Sen Franken found out, the Left cannot sustain a sufficiently large enough audience or advertiser base to support a national radio talk show preaching Socialist/Communist/Marxist values. When businesses failed to purchase sufficient ad time and devoted listeners failed to donate enough money, Air America failed. Not to worry! The Left has been successful in getting its message out by hijacking public radio and TV and subverting tax payer funds to sponsor "independent" films and guests, which focus on Marxist themes. The kinds of themes championed by ACORN or other Left Wing alphabet groups. Combine the always Leftists Indie films with mindless, talentless "Create" themes, and constant public service announcements against "hate speech" (which is any speech against Leftist ideology), and you have the complete brain washing paradigm. The stories about America's National Parks, etc., although inspirational, are mainly fillers, to maintain an air of neutrality.

    Now we are going to be "protected" by selectively shutting down the only source of free public discourse remaining in this country, the Internet. The Internet bypassed the magazine and newspaper editors and their management of the "news". What was true in the USSR (there is no news in the Truth and no Truth in the news) had become true in America. The Internet bypassed single points of focus of government control or of editorial agendas. Now, the EXACT same method used in China by the Chinese Communist Party to control thei

  • by Nitrobob (1761320) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @04:31PM (#31676900)
    I urge everyone in the IT community to download and read S.773 - The Cybersecurity Act of 2009. This bill contains a number of troubling provisions beyond the most obvious one, which is Presidential ability to control the Internet by preventing its use when he deems it necessary to do so. It would require the President to establish a Cybersecurity Advisory Panel without requiring any approval of the members of such panel by Congress. It also requires the Secretary of Commerce to assist the panel with the creation of Regional Cybersecurity Centers that must be affiliated with a non-profit organization or consortium, funded by the panel. Per my reading of the bill, all of this is to be done by people who not been vetted or approved by Congress in any way. It places all of that power in the hands of the President and certainly creates an opportunity to politicize the entire process. Within one year, the Secretary of Commerce must develop a national licensing, certification and recertification program for cybersecurity professionals. Beginning three years after the bill is passed, "it shall be unlawful for any individual to engage in business in the United States, or to be employed in the United States, as a provider of cybersecurity services to any Federal agency or an information system or network designated by the President, or the President's designee, as a critical infrastructure information system or network, who is not licensed and certified under the program." Ask yourselves, please, who gets to define what is or isn't a critical infrastructure information system or network. That's correct. It's the President (or his designee). But wait ... there's more. Within one year after the bill is passed, the President (or his designee) gets to tell Congress if he wants to require cybersecurity to be a factor in all bond ratings (presumably only for private-sector companies and not federal bonds), Here's where it really gets good. "The term "cyber" means - (A) any process, program, or protocol relating to the use of the Internet or an intranet, automatic data processing or transmission, or telecommunication via the Internet or an intranet; and (B) any matter relating to, or involving the use of, computers or computer networks." Let's see if they left any possible use of computers out of that definition. Nope, they even seem to have VOIP covered. The President can control every computer in the country under that definition, irrespective of whether or not it is part of critical security infrastructure. The point here is that this bill is seemingly titled to make people think that it is a well-intended way to protect our country. When you dig deeper into the bill it clearly spells out command and control of potentially every computer in the country by ... the President. Forget about the person who is in office now. This is a dangerous consolidation of power in the hands of whomever is in the office of President. Read the bill and decide for yourself if this is the path the United States should continue going down - consolidating more and more power in the hands of one man (or woman). Then make your feelings know to your U.S. senators ASAP.

RADIO SHACK LEVEL II BASIC READY >_

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