Bill Would Give President Authority to Shut Down Internet

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009, currently working its way through Congress, would give the President and a key member of his cabinet unprecedented authority over the Internet, according to the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF). Introduced by Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), the bill would give the President the power to shut down the Internet in an emergency and disconnect key infrastructure systems on grounds of national security. As currently crafted, the legislation does not stipulate specifically when or how the President could shut down all Web activity. The bill also contains a provision that would allow the Secretary of Commerce to gain access to all relevant data concerning Internet networks “without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access,” according to EFF. This could overrule current laws such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or the Privacy Protection Act, as well as financial privacy regulations.

-Noel Brinkerhoff
Federal Authority Over the Internet? The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (by Jennifer Granick, Electronic Freedom Foundation)


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