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Saturday, August 29, 2009

How Do You Take Control of the Internet

The Senate is actually giving consideration to a bill that would give the president the power to "shut down online traffic by seizing private networks".

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

Most are afraid that this yet another usurption of power. They should be. This is rather unprecedented.

I'm much more worried about something else, hubris. Does anyone really think that anyone person can control the internet, in an emergency or otherwise? What exactly do the framers of this bill hope to accomplish?

He'd have no access to any network that originates overseas. So, how will anyone be able to control anything? Our enemies are mostly using on line sources overseas. So, what does controlling private networks at home do? It's not going to stop terrorists from posting on line. They aren't using blogger, wordpress, or any other domestic private network.

What's scary here is that this is a naked power grab that doesn't even create a credible reason for it? This is so absurd it's not only baffling, but frightening in its hubris. Do the framers think that such a move would really make a difference in an emergency? Do they think that no one would notice that they are pulling such a naked power grab?

Even more scary is that Fox News says that this has bi partisan support. Are we really to believe that members of both parties are this out of their minds? Rather than holding hearings on the merits of this bill, I would like to hold hearings and question those that support it. They have a lot to answer for. That the legislation has even gotten this far is shame enough. It needs to stop here.

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