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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Government Committee Passes Plan for Internet ‘Kill Switch’ in Egypt and U.S.?

Courtesy Meredith Jessup

Pending legislation that would grant the President of the United States the power to pull the plug on the country’s internet access in a declared “emergency” returned to the forefront this week on the same day Egyptians faced a nation-wide blackout designed to curtail widespread government protests. Egypt flipped it’s so-called “kill switch” — will the U.S.?

The bipartisan bill is sponsored by Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The bill — called “The Protecting Cyberspace As A National
Asset Act of 2010” S.3480 — was approved by a Senate panel this week.

S. 3480 would create a new government agency called the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications. The NCCC would have sweeping powers to control the Internet, including the ability to shut down the web for a 30-day period. Considering that at least 60% of Americans get their daily news fix from the Internet, this is a staggering proposal.

Blaze writer Mike Opelka also notes that groups such as the ACLU see this proposed legislation potentially giving the President a giant kill switch for the Internet. Before the bill moves to the Senate floor for a vote, the ACLU has formally noted their disapproval.

While Collins insists her bill would not grant the president the same powers as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak has exercised this week, many are wondering what kinds of implications the measure would have on Americans’ freedom.

Many in the high-tech world join the ACLU in questioning the bill as well.

Many thanks to Melissa K for bringing this story to our attention.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Makes for an interesting news article on the government's need to feel in power. A shallow piece of journalism, bordering on fiction.

The Internet is not an "it", it's an abstraction of the collective needs of humanity. For thousands of years humanity has been able to advance, stall and retreat without the Internet. We can turn it off tomorrow and have as much disruption as the five days following 9/11. Good for the shock value, irrelevant in principle.

The Internet facilitates human interaction. It does not create any new forms of human interactions. Before the Internet we had common sense, smoke signals, hieroglyphics, cave paintings, the Library of Alexandria, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Bible ... yep, a whole bunch of attempts to create commonality amidst the intrinsic need to create a safe environment for survival.

Give the government the damn "SWITCH". Let them use it! Show them how short-sighted is the argument and how powerful is the individual. Wisdom says: "A majority is a man with an indomitable desire"