Friday, April 03, 2009

Bill Would Give Obama Power to Shut Down Internet, Networks During Cyber Attacks

John Fontana writes on NetworkWorld:

Federal legislation introduced in the Senate this week would give President Obama the power to declare a cybersecurity emergency and then shut down both public and private networks including Internet traffic coming to and from compromised systems.

The proposed legislation [.pdf], introduced April 1, also would give the President the power to “order the disconnection of any Federal government or United States critical infrastructure information systems or networks in the interest of national security.”

Some critics of the bill say that phrase needs to be more clearly defined.

“We are confident that the communication networks and the Internet would be so designated [as critical infrastructure], so in the interest of national security the president could order them disconnected.,” said Leslie Harris, president and CEO at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), which promotes democratic values and constitutional liberties for the digital age.

Harris and the CDT don’t think such sweeping power is good news for anyone, including private networks that could be shut down by government order. Those same networks would be subject to government mandated security standards and technical configurations.

More here.


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