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Image: trendhunter.com

Image: trendhunter.com

Governments controlling the way its citizens communicate and the content of that communication is nothing new. For citizens in China, Iran, and North Korea, limited rights regarding free speech and media and Internet censorship is a way of life. But the revised cybersecurity bill currently on the Senate floor, one which gives the President power to interfere with private sector computer networks in the event of an emergency, is causing quite a stir here in the states. Privacy advocates, telecommunications representatives, and business owners are looking for answers concerning what the bill really means, and whether or not it provides for censorship.

While it is understood that ‘information = power,’ that reasoning alone does not explain under what circumstances could the Obama administration require access to private sector computer networks and why – key details around which much of the controversy is centered. The current draft of the bill allows the President to take over private sector computer networks during a ‘cybersecurity emergency’ which, according to Senate Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) as reported by Cnet News, is defined as something which threatens our infrastructure — “from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records.”

The implications of the bill are many: the President can shut down your business if it is deemed ‘critical,’ employers in the tech industry may be required to follow hiring guidelines that mandate employees are ‘cybersecurity certified,’ businesses may be subject to periodic mapping of the data on its network, and companies may be forced to share information with the government upon request.

At first glance, the confusing bill seems Orwellian and Kafkaesqe at best. The reality, however, is the President has always held broad powers in regards to national security. Is this bill that much of a shock? It seems to do little than make explicit the Presidents powers as they relate to cybersecurity to avoid complaints from private sector business owners down the line.

What do you think? Does the cybersecurity bill come as a shock or is increasing government control over private computer networks to be expected in today’s day and age?


4 thoughts on “Will Obama Turn Off The Internet?
  1. Jesse says:

    Initial reaction, shock. After thinking about it more, it is only natural that this would be the next progression in Presidential power.

  2. Joe says:

    Safety in exchange for freedom. It’s always been the case that has rifted the public. 9/11 was no different, the government just made the controversial decisions after the crisis had occurred. Although, I feel violated that the government can publicly say that they’ll be reading my emails, which is what they’re probably already doing in private, I am spending my freedom in return for safety. Should we wait until a tech terror attack to happen before everyone gets patriotic and allows it? Maybe? Maybe not?

  3. Ginny says:

    This is very scary and another way to intrude on the individual citizen’s privacy. We need less government not more. 2010 election will be fruit basket turnover.

  4. JLB says:

    The Bill of Rights lies at the heart of American conceptions of individual liberty, limited government, and the rule of law.
    Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    If we give up our ‘hard fought for FREEDOM’ for what someone else calls “SAFETY” we are spitting on the memories and sacrifices that all of our veterans and military personnel have died for.

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