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The US senators pushing a controversial new bill that some fear would give President Barack Obama the powers to seize control of and even shut down the internet have rejected claims it would give Obama a net "kill switch".
The bill, titled Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, has been unanimously approved by the US Homeland Security committee and will be put to a vote on the Senate floor shortly.
The bill would not give the President the authority to take over the entire internet, target specific websites or conduct electronic surveillance
Originally posted by k0mbination
To the member out there, what do you think is this really just about trying to control the world now we are addicted to the internet or is this some sort of misguided attempt at protecting your own?
Myth v. Reality
The Facts About S. 3480,
“Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010”
WASHINGTON – Ahead of the Thursday, June 24, mark-up of this critical cybersecurity bill, Senators Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Susan Collins, R-Me., its Ranking Member, have issued the following fact sheet describing the intent and impact of their bipartisan legislation. This document also addresses some misconceptions about the bill:
The threat of a catastrophic cyber attack is real. It is not a matter of “if” an attack will happen; rather it is a matter of “when.” Just this March, the Senate’s Sergeant at Arms reported that the computer systems of the Executive Branch agencies and the Congress are now under cyber attack an average of 1.8 BILLION times per month.
Additionally, cyber crime costs our national economy billions of dollars annually. And, as intelligence officials have warned, malicious cyber activity occurs on a daily basis, on an unprecedented scale, and with extraordinary sophistication. As the former Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell testified in
February, “If we went to war today, in a cyber war, we would lose.”
S. 3480 authorizes a “kill switch” that would allow the President to shut down the Internet.
Rather than granting a “kill switch,” S. 3480 would make it far less likely for a President to use the broad authority he already has in current law to take over communications networks.
Section 706 of the Communications Act of 1934 provides nearly unchecked authority to the President to“cause the closing of any facility or station for wire communication” and “authorize the use of control of any such facility or station” by the Federal government. Exercise of the authority requires no advance notification to Congress and can be authorized if the President proclaims that “a state or threat of war” exists. The authority can be exercised for up to six months after the “state or threat of war” has expired.
The Department of Homeland Security, in testimony before the Committee on June 15, 2010, indicated that Section 706 is one of the authorities the President would rely on if the nation were under a cyber attack.
S. 3480 would bring Presidential authority to respond to a major cyber attack into the 21st century by providing a precise, targeted, and focused way for the President to defend our most sensitive infrastructure.
The authority in S. 3480 would be limited to 30-day increments and may be extended beyond 120 total days only with Congressional approval.
The President must use the “least disruptive means feasible” to respond to the threat.
The authority does not authorize the government to “take over” critical infrastructure.
It does not authorize any new surveillance authorities.
The President would be required to provide advance notice to Congress of the intent to declare a national cyber emergency or as soon as possible after a declaration, with reasons why advance notice
was not possible.
Owners/operators of covered critical infrastructure would be allowed to propose alternative security measures to respond to the national cyber emergency. Once approved by the Director of the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC), these security measures could be implemented instead of those previously required to respond to the cyber threat.
Owner/operators that implement these emergency measures receive limited, civil liability protectionsfor their actions.
S. 3480 would give the President the authority to take over the entire Internet.
S. 3480 would direct the President to set risk-based security performance requirements and, in a national cyber emergency, order emergency measures for our nation’s most critical infrastructure - those systems and assets that are most critical to our telecommunications networks, electric grid, financial system, and other components of critical infrastructure.
The bill authorizes only the identification of particular systems or assets – not whole companies, and certainly not the entire Internet. Only specific systems or assets whose disruption would cause a national or regional catastrophe would be subject to the bill’s mandatory security requirements.
To qualify as a national or regional catastrophe, the disruption of the system or asset would have to cause:
mass casualties with an extraordinary number of fatalities;
severe economic consequences;
mass evacuations of prolonged duration; or
severe degradation of national security capabilities, including intelligence and defense functions.
The bill expressly prohibits the Secretary from identifying systems or assets as covered critical infrastructure “based solely on activities protected by the first amendment of the United States Constitution.” This prohibition would also prevent the identification of specific websites for censorship.The owners/operators of covered critical infrastructure identified by the Secretary could appeal the inclusion of the particular system or asset on the list through administrative procedures.The list of covered critical infrastructure would be developed collaboratively, working with the private
S. 3480 would give the President the authority to conduct electronic surveillance and monitor private networks.