In an eery coincidence, Egypt’s decision to interrupt Internet service coincides with renewed interest in the U.S. in legislation that would give the federal government an Internet “kill switch.”
First proposed in June 2010 by independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act would give unprecedented emergency powers to the federal government. At a conference last week, Brandon Milhorn, Republican staff director and counsel for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said that the Senate was revisiting the bill, which would conceivably empower the executive branch to demand that ISPs disable their networks or block access.
According to CNET’s Declan McCullagh, “The revised version includes new language saying that the federal government’s designation of vital Internet or other computer systems ‘shall not be subject to judicial review.’ Another addition expanded the definition of critical infrastructure to include ‘provider of information technology,’ and a third authorized the submission of ‘classified’ reports on security vulnerabilities.”
Give the President sole authority to determine what constitutes an cyber emergency? If you don't think this law could be abused, by either party, then you're living in a dream world.