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Bill Would Grant President Unprecedented Cyber-security Powers

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posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 04:09 PM

Bill Would Grant President Unprecedented Cyber-security Powers

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 introduced in the Senate would allow the president to shut down private Internet networks. The legislation also calls for the government to have the authority to demand security data from private networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access.

The headlines were all about creating a national cyber-security czar reporting directly to the president, but the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 introduced April 1 in the U.S. Senate would also give the president unprecedented authority over private-sector Internet services, applications and software.

According to the bill's language, the president would have broad authority to designate various private networks as a "critical infrastructure system or network" and, with no other review, "may declare a cyber-security emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from" the designated the private-sector system or network.

The 51-page bill does not define what private sector networks would be considered critical to the nation's security, but the Center for Democracy and Technology fears it could include communications networks in addition to the more traditional security concerns over the financial and transportation networks and the electrical grid.

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"I'd be very surprised if it doesn't include communications systems, which are certainly critical infrastructure," CDT General Counsel Greg Nojeim told eWEEK. "The president would decide not only what is critical infrastructure but also what is an emergency."

The bill would also impose mandates for designated private networks and systems, including standardized security software, testing, licensing and certification of cyber-security professionals.

"Requiring firms to get government approval for new software would hamper innovation and would have a negative effect on security," Nojeim said. "If everyone builds to the same standard and the bad guys know those standards it makes it easier for the bad guys."

The legislation also calls for a public-private clearinghouse for cyber-threats and vulnerability information under Department of Commerce authority. The Secretary of Commerce would have the authority to access "all relevant data concerning such networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access."

In another section of the bill, though, the president is required to report to Congress on the feasibility of an identity management and authentication program "with appropriate civil liberties and privacy protections."

Nojeim complained the bill is "not only vague but also broad. Its very broad language is intended to confer broad powers." Nojeim also speculated that the bill's vague language and authority may prove to be powerful incentive for the private sector to improve its cyber-security measures.

"The bill will encourage private-sector solutions to make the more troubling sections of the bill unnecessary," he said.

According to a number of media reports, the bill was crafted with the cooperation of the White House. The legislation aims to create a fully integrated, coordinated public-private partnership on cyber-security in addition to pushing for innovation and creativity in cyber-security solutions.

"We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs—from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records—the list goes on," Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), bill co-sponsor, said in a statement. "It's an understatement to say that cyber-security is one of the most important issues we face; the increasingly connected nature of our lives only amplifies our vulnerability to cyber-attacks and we must act now."

Fellow co-sponsor Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) added, "America's vulnerability to massive cyber-crime, global cyber-espionage and cyber-attacks has emerged as one of the most urgent national security problems facing our country today. Importantly, this legislation loosely parallels the recommendations in the CSIS [Center for Strategic and International Studies] blue-ribbon panel report to President Obama and has been embraced by a number of industry and government thought leaders."

The CDT's Nojeim stressed that are a "number of good things in the bill," including creation of a cyber-security czar, scholarships for cyber-security programs and collaborations between the government and the private sector. While urging Congress to change the bill, he argued that the "problematic provisions shouldn't crowd out the beneficial provisions of the bill."
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 04:09 PM
Hello Everyone this is my first post so please be nice...

I think this is just the beginning of the end for America as we know it. Obama has done so much to ruin our country so far that nothing like this really surprises me. He is going after the last means of communication we have. When do we say enough, and stand up for our freedom instead of letting it be slowly taken from us.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 05:06 PM
reply to post by FreshChill

If this were a movie or a book this story line would be laughable. As it stands now it is frightening. The Federal Government has grown by leaps and bounds in just the first few months of this year. Adding more governmental oversight offices,seemingly by the day.

A bloated system that feeds on the tax dollars of the huddled masses. How large must it get before it consumes everything?

I am convinced that this act will be used to curtail and/or shut down most free speech/thought web sites.

Sad days ahead,sad days indeed!

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 05:14 PM
Excuse me!? What happened to private business?!

Man this Administration is horrible.
I do hope the collapse comes soon so we dont have to deal with them anymore.

*grumble* Taking away our rights and liberties... what happened to the Bill of Rights!?

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 07:11 PM

just, wow...

This sounds WORSE then the Patriot Act, at least it let us say what we wanted, they just got to listen.

This sounds like they will listen, and what they don't like, they will turn off.

Freedom of speech at its best!!

And what is the reason behind this?

Is Al Quida using private internet networks inside the US? lol

This is pointed at Americans and will supress them more then ANYTHING Bush did!!!


posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 07:15 PM
Anyone else think that the recent stories about China spying on US government networks earlier this week has anything to do with the passing of this bill???

I think so!

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 07:15 PM
reply to post by FreshChill
So much for our secure rights.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 10:59 PM
Obama is destroying this country and he was set up by Bush.

He has a czar for everything. He wants to regulate business and their pay and now he wants the power to regulate the internet.

Obama is using the economic crisis like Bush used 9/11.

What amazes me is how people can't see it and it's so obvious. They are about to make a major move and their putting these things in place so they can take control when the time comes.

It will be easy because once they says we have to switch to a new global currency to survive. They will put us under tight regulation.

This is why Obama wants structural change. He wants to change the country into something that it's not.

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