Tuesday, February 1, 2011

They Write Headlines

The Hill: Egypt's Web blockade raises concerns about 'kill switch' for Internet

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has recently indicated she plan to re-introduce the bipartisan legislation she crafted last year with Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), which passed the Senate Homeland Security Committee last year only to get mired in a standoff with Senate Commerce Committee members over which panel should have oversight of civilian cybersecurity.

CIO Magazine: Internet 'kill switch' bill reintroduced as Egypt remains dark
Sen. Collins said the bill would not allow the President to deactivate the Internet in whole or in part during times of political unrest or protest--just during a "cyber emergency"...At the time of its initial introduction, it was opposed in an open letter by about 24 organizations concerned that it might lead to broader authority, including Internet censorship.

PC Magazine: Shutting Down The Internet
The most specious reason for this mechanism is that if some evil worm or attack on the National infrastructure—a.k.a. "Cyberwar"—would be underway, the Internet would need to be shut down to prevent further damage to the country, which apparently can no longer function without the Net. This is kind of a weird tautology. The country can't function without the Net, so we need to secure it, which includes having the ability to shut it down. But with the Net down, how can the country function?

Business Insider: Internet "Kill Switch" Bill Won't Die
We can't think of a single case where using such a "kill switch" would make sense (if terrorists mount such a strong cyberattack that we have to use it, isn't that still a win for them?) but we can think of many, many potential avenues for abuse. This has implications not just for free speech but also for free markets, as zillions of businesses (including this one!) depend on the internet directly or indirectly.

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