David R. Henderson  

Rockefeller's Assault on Freedom of Communication

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Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller has introduced a bill that would give presidents the power to shut down the Internet. It was introduced on April 1, but it appears to be serious.

According to the eweek article above:

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.

I'm sure, though, that if the bill passes, whoever the president is will use it wisely. Governments have never abused their powers, have they?


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COMMENTS (6 to date)
J Cortez writes:

This is a stupid and dangerous road to go down. I hope the bill is utterly defeated.

Jacob writes:

How much damage could just one piece of legislation do anyway? ... ...

...

Zdeno writes:

Can't wait for the day when I click on econlog and it links directly to the Barack Obama youtube channel.

SydB writes:

How does this proposed legislation differ from emergency authority over roads, food supplies, and communications systems. Seems like a thorough presentation of this issue, at the minimum, should research that in order to provide appropriate context.

The internet, people should remember, was created by the government as part of DARPA efforts to evaluate issues such as redundancy, something that would be necessary in a national emergency.

Also note that the government has a monopoly on nuclear weapons and they've not used them on the american people yet. The real question: what is the intent or goal of this legislation. Is there a security need motivating this legislation?

Neil West writes:

In regards to your comments SydB, DARPA created a prototype in essence. The Internet is a collection of inter connected private and public networks. No public infrastructure is needed to connect one private network to another private network. Public networks (government) connect to this private network and benefit from the private infrastructure. Even the organization that runs the top level DNS servers (ICANN) is a private entity composed of many interested parties. This is just another grotesque example of the government usurping control over private property. This may have ramifications on the continuing effort to keep top level domain name servers independent of US or other government control. Cuba, Venezuela, and China could actually get their wish to control the TLD if this type of nonsense passes.

Ref: http://news.cnet.com/U.S.-reaches-Net-detente-with-U.N./2100-1036_3-5955245.html

SydB writes:

I understand that the arpanet, though much more than a prototype, is not the internet. But the desire for reliable communications in emergencies is a government need and the point I raised, which should be addressed, is to compare reliable data communication requirements with reliable voice communication requirements (and transportation, water, etc). The author of this post did not do as such so there is no context from which to even consider this issue.

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