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article imageCybersecurity bill could shut out private networks

By KJ Mullins     Aug 30, 2009 in Politics
The president could be able to take control of the Internet if S.773 passes the U.S. Senate. The bill would allow for the president to take emergency control of the Internet during a cybersecurity emergency.
The latest version of the 55-page draft for S. 773 allows for the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computers. The bill would require the United States to have a system that would be able to block all private sector computer networks.
The bill is alarmingly vague in what would constitute a cyber emergency.
CNET reports:
"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."
Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, claims that the language of the bill is very unclear.
Fox News reports:
"We think a lot of things need to be done to enhance cybersecurity," he told, but this bill is "not something that we could support."
The bill was introduced in April has bipartisan support by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V. Rockfeller says that the bill addresses known threats that the United States face and that the enemies to the Union are real reports Fox News.
Recent quotes Jena Longo, deputy communications director for the Senate Commerce committee:
"The Rockefeller-Snowe Cybersecurity bill makes it clear that the president's authority includes securing our national cyber infrastructure from attack. The section of the bill that addresses this issue, applies specifically to the national response to a severe attack or natural disaster.
"This particular legislative language is based on longstanding statutory authorities for wartime use of communications networks.
A huge problem will this bill other than the privacy factors for the US public concerns the ability of Washington to take on the technological demands. In the past the track record for understanding the technology that would be needed for this has been shady reports
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