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.