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Bills Proposed for Giving Obama Power to Shut Down the Internet in Time of National Emergency

 by Edward Ulrich, April 15, 2009

West Virginia Senator John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV.
West Virginia Senator John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 proposed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Olympia Snowe of Maine would allow Barack Obama to "order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic" and give government access to information "without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access" in times of declared emergency. Provisions are also included for creating an Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor, who would report directly to the president.

Senate Bills number 773 and 778 (view a PDF of a working draft of the legislation) cite fears of computer hackers being able to infiltrate infrastructure computer systems, and the laws would federalize and centralize infrastructure security and shift control away from private companies who handle security for critical systems.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller speaking recently in Congress claimed cybersecurity as the number one national hazard, and suggested that the world would have been better off without the internet.

Jennifer Granick writing for the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains some of the dangers of the bills, and how the bills would not even help the scenarios that they are supposedly put in place to fix:

"In other words, the bill would give the Commerce Department absolute, non-emergency access to 'all relevant data' without any privacy safeguards like standards or judicial review. The broad scope of this provision could eviscerate statutory protections for private information, such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Privacy Protection Act, or financial privacy regulations. Even worse, it isn't clear whether this provision would require systems to be designed to enable access, essentially a back door for the Secretary of Commerce that would also establish a primrose path for any bad guy to merrily skip down as well. ..."

These bills viewed along with other legislation such as the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive which would make Obama a dictator in times of national emergency, and battle hardened troops currently being deployed on the streets of America paints a picture of preparations for a governmental clampdown on the American people with the onset of the next national emergency such as a 9/11-type attack or economic collapse.

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Bills Proposed for Giving Obama Power to Shut Down the Internet in Time of National Emergency
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