Skip to comments.Bill would give president emergency control of Internet
Posted on 08/28/2009 8:13:33 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.
They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.
The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.
"I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness," said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. "It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill."
Representatives of other large Internet and telecommunications companies expressed concerns about the bill in a teleconference with Rockefeller's aides this week, but were not immediately available for interviews on Thursday.
A spokesman for Rockefeller also declined to comment on the record Thursday, saying that many people were unavailable because of the summer recess. A Senate source familiar with the bill compared the president's power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. The source said that one primary concern was the electrical grid, and what would happen if it were attacked from a broadband connection.
When Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. "We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs--from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records," Rockefeller said.
The Rockefeller proposal plays out against a broader concern in Washington, D.C., about the government's role in cybersecurity. In May, President Obama acknowledged that the government is "not as prepared" as it should be to respond to disruptions and announced that a new cybersecurity coordinator position would be created inside the White House staff. Three months later, that post remains empty, one top cybersecurity aide has quit, and some wags have begun to wonder why a government that receives failing marks on cybersecurity should be trusted to instruct the private sector what to do.
Rockefeller's revised legislation seeks to reshuffle the way the federal government addresses the topic. It requires a "cybersecurity workforce plan" from every federal agency, a "dashboard" pilot project, measurements of hiring effectiveness, and the implementation of a "comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy" in six months--even though its mandatory legal review will take a year to complete.
The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. "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," he says.
Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to "direct the national response to the cyber threat" if necessary for "the national defense and security." The White House is supposed to engage in "periodic mapping" of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies "shall share" requested information with the federal government. ("Cyber" is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)
"The language has changed but it doesn't contain any real additional limits," EFF's Tien says. "It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)...The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There's no provision for any administrative process or review. That's where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it."
Translation: If your company is deemed "critical," a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.
The Internet Security Alliance's Clinton adds that his group is "supportive of increased federal involvement to enhance cyber security, but we believe that the wrong approach, as embodied in this bill as introduced, will be counterproductive both from an national economic and national secuity perspective."
Hello ACLU?? Where are you??
But, but... I thought it was ‘Evil Republicans’ that were the threat to our liberties? /s
Since this outrage has been in the works since Spring...Where is the msm in alerting the public to this Fascist Bill.
This is an example of what’s sooooooo disturbing about these people. This is a huge piece of news- but there’s SO MUCH ELSE he’s got us looking at that this isn’t on the radar.
And why does Sen Snowe ...a Republican ... sponsor this ....?
Kinda jumping the gun there aren't ya?
Further, nothing like pissing off the 'youngsters' who will love to hack any kind of blockade you try to impose.
Oh, they are also the voter base that got you elected.
Hey kids, you are welcome to join our side of reality (and we told ya so!)
Senator of Durbin is for taxing any purchases on the internet. In fact, why not tax garage sales too.
Since the "antithesis" rather than the "thesis" is the target, they don't care.
This may be the "Reichstag Fire Enabling Act" of 2009
obama ,like all tyrants,wants total control over speech.
Emergency and threat; Definition: Articles in the Breaking news and activism section on FreeRepublic that have at least three responses casting the 0bummer Admin in a negative light.
All your FReeRepublic are now belong to us.
Sent this to Drudge and Rush
” but theres SO MUCH ELSE hes got us looking at that this isnt on the radar. “
That’s pure Alinski — overwhelm the system.. Attack on more fronts (since the attacks cost them virtually nothing) than we can defend (since we must expend resources in the defense), and they’ll eventually score enough victories to drive us out...
We need to start thinking strategically, too, if we’re to survive....
There is no “internet” to control. The internet is the word used to describe the set of protocols and rules that must be followed in order for one computer to exchange information with another. The internet is not in one central location, and is not an object. The internet is distributed, not centralized. There is no one central organization that manages the internet.
What they really mean here is ignoring reality and principles of law and blocking/allowing access to the network for political reasons.
That is easy, a threat is anyone that disagrees with the Obama administration. And an emergency is any event that the Obama administration can use to increase the power of the Presidency. And I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Drudge has it up in BIG LETTERS NOW!!!!!
Can’t be true! The fascisbushchimpyhitler is no longer in office!
No more FR
I’m not sure if I’m up to strategic thinking anymore- but my tactics are changing...going shopping with my son for a sig.
We can all get ham radio sets and tune in to ‘radio free America’
Because she's a reliable useful idiot.
up in a big red headline
The “emergency” will occur right before they go on a firearms confiscation agenda.
I’ve said all along that if you’re caught up in the first “wave” of confiscation, remain free as your top priority, and get the word out,
so that subsequent waves are met with organized resistance.
They want to prevent the word getting out.
Same reason she sold her party out previously...having a “R” next to your name doesnt make you a Republican, just like sticking feathers up your butt doesnt make you a chicken
CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.
S.773 - Cybersecurity Act of 2009
And nobody is scared?
Maybe with this information everyone will begin to think - Why does he need this power if it is only for our good?
People, you have been warned. Take heed! Our freedoms are just about to disappear if you (we) don’t take immediate action.
Why is it that whenever there is a steaming pile of crap, Jay Rockefeller is always somehow right nearby? This guy is bigtime trouble.
The gov needs to take care of gov not private industry.
There’s nothing they won’t do.
Algore invented the internet. Shouldn’t he decide how we use it????????????????/s
I’m STILL wondering why Hathaway resigned.
Hacking won’t do much good when the Obamastaffel marches into your ISP’s office and orders the power shut off.
The Iranian regime was the first thing that popped into my mind when I read the headline.
EVERY day I read or hear about actions being taken or proposed by this administration that are identical to those currently used in Iran.
It’s very scary.
Absolutely not! Don’t let Obama control the internet! Part of the schema, though, according to Beck and Limbaugh.
bump for later
They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency...
Headline for this story is in HUGE red text on Drudge right now. Freakin' unbelievable...
This needs to be put on ‘front page’ or ‘breaking news’. Just sayin’.