New proposed bill will give the President power to shut down the INTERNET in time....

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Maximus, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    ...of emergency? That sounds bad to me, what do you think?

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10320096-38.html

    Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

    They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.



    The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

    "I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness," said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. "It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill."

    Representatives of other large Internet and telecommunications companies expressed concerns about the bill in a teleconference with Rockefeller's aides this week, but were not immediately available for interviews on Thursday.

    A spokesman for Rockefeller also declined to comment on the record Thursday, saying that many people were unavailable because of the summer recess. A Senate source familiar with the bill compared the president's power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. The source said that one primary concern was the electrical grid, and what would happen if it were attacked from a broadband connection.

    When Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. "We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs--from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records," Rockefeller said.

    The Rockefeller proposal plays out against a broader concern in Washington, D.C., about the government's role in cybersecurity. In May, President Obama acknowledged that the government is "not as prepared" as it should be to respond to disruptions and announced that a new cybersecurity coordinator position would be created inside the White House staff. Three months later, that post remains empty, one top cybersecurity aide has quit, and some wags have begun to wonder why a government that receives failing marks on cybersecurity should be trusted to instruct the private sector what to do.

    Rockefeller's revised legislation seeks to reshuffle the way the federal government addresses the topic. It requires a "cybersecurity workforce plan" from every federal agency, a "dashboard" pilot project, measurements of hiring effectiveness, and the implementation of a "comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy" in six months--even though its mandatory legal review will take a year to complete.

    The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. "As soon as you're saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it's going to be a really big issue," he says.

    Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to "direct the national response to the cyber threat" if necessary for "the national defense and security." The White House is supposed to engage in "periodic mapping" of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies "shall share" requested information with the federal government. ("Cyber" is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

    "The language has changed but it doesn't contain any real additional limits," EFF's Tien says. "It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)...The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There's no provision for any administrative process or review. That's where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it."

    Translation: If your company is deemed "critical," a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

    The Internet Security Alliance's Clinton adds that his group is "supportive of increased federal involvement to enhance cyber security, but we believe that the wrong approach, as embodied in this bill as introduced, will be counterproductive both from an national economic and national secuity perspective."
     
  2. gunner1zeus

    gunner1zeus Member

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    after reading the proposed bill and trying to sift out the fluff.One sentence keeps jumping out.
    The White House is supposed to engage in"Periodic mapping of private networks deemed to be critical"

    does this sound like big brother is watching.
    Who determines what network is critical.
    take care in what you post big brother may be monitoring. I hope this bill doesn't get rammed thru congress without them reading it. Thats my rant for the day.
     
  3. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Seriously disturbing.

    ...why the heck is the power grid on a public network?! It's not that hard to create a separate network, which would provide a nearly impervious obstacle to routine hacking.

    The government (military included) needs to review their own systems and correct vulnerabilities, before trying to gain control over private networks...
     
  4. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    Wow, instead of having control over public networks, they need to fortify their own.
     
  5. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    What about the World Wide Web, does the President control 'that one' too??? lol

    Sounds like China but not surprising, notice the two Senators that are writing this...Snow and Rockefeller?

    Can you imagine if the last occupant of the WH had this in the pipe line?
     
  6. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Wow. Remember when people went apoplectic over the desire of the government to snoop on INTERNATIONAL calls coming INTO this country from KNOWN terrorists? That was called "domestic wiretapping".

    Now they want to be able to take over the internet.

    So how's that hopey-changey thing workin' out for ya? :thumb:
     
  7. gunner1zeus

    gunner1zeus Member

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    A senate source familiar with the bill compared the president's power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on sept 11 2001.
    OH COME ON Bush grounds all aircraft as a result of an attack on U.S. citizens on U.S. soil by unidentified perpetrators using commercial aircraft. This bill would allow the Internet to be taken over and controlled for reasons to be determined by the white house. How can there be any comparison ?
    The same bleeding heart liberals who cried about wiretaps and monitoring the communications between known and suspected members of terrorist organizations are now trying to pass a bill (S.773) that would authorize the cyber monitoring of anyone at any time via "periodic mapping"
    I fear for my civil rights anyone got the number of the ACLU.
     
  8. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    There isn't any, but the President shall not be questioned.

    Sorry. They're all too busy trying to get the terrorists off. :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2009
  9. gunner1zeus

    gunner1zeus Member

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    I was once told that certain background noises negate the effectiveness of wiretaps. and I always thought all that noisy ring tapping was just to annoy working officers
     
  10. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Nah.

    I was too busy snoring to tap my ring. :thumb:
     

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