Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cybersecurity Bill Gives President Broad Powers Over Internet

Posted 08/31/09 on POLITICS DAILY

A Senate bill that put civil libertarians on edge earlier this year is still in the works: CNET obtained a copy of the current revision of S.773, a measure that would give the president authority to disconnect the private Internet networks during a "cybersecurity emergency." The original bill, introduced by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in April, called for an Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor that would have vast powers over Internet traffic. In other words, Internet oversight would move from the Department of Homeland Security to the White House.

Criticism of S.773 has focused on its vagueness and lack of clear limits on the executive powers it creates. It does not define clearly what would constitute a "cyber-emergency," and mandates that private companies share unlimited information of an unspecified nature with the federal government. "Imagine the control that ambiguity can do for someone in terms of power," Newsvine blogger Lars Hindley wrote. The Department of Homeland Security has also argued that shuffling the authority is an unnecessary bother. Read Story.

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