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The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 Passes Senate Panel

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the this-won't-end-well dept.

The Internet 367

An anonymous reader writes "The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 passed a Senate panel, giving the president unprecedented power to issue a nation-wide blackout or restriction on websites without congressional approval. The bill, written by Sen. Jay Rockefeller [D-WV] and revised by Sen. Olympia Snow [R-ME], was drafted in an attempt to thwart internet-based terrorist threats, and gives the president this 'kill switch' without oversight or explanation. The bill is up for Senate vote."

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367 comments

Oh yeah? (5, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 4 years ago | (#31670624)

Well, you can't contr[Connection dropped by USA Presidential request].

Re:Oh yeah? (0, Redundant)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 years ago | (#31670680)

Haha! UK here! Too bad you can't drop our connections!

Wait, where is slashdot hoste[Connection dropped by USA Presidential request]

Re:Oh yeah? (1, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31670832)

And just think of what country has whored ICANN (and doesn't want to free it even while EU has asked to do so [slashdot.org]), most of the tier 1 providers and other Internet infrastructure to itself.

I don't see those being freed either, it's really convenient and a good diplomatic weapon for US to have a kill switch over the Internet if EU, China or Russia start to dominate too much.

How does this work? (2, Interesting)

manekineko2 (1052430) | about 4 years ago | (#31670842)

I know you're joking, but seriously, how would something like this even work?

As far as I know, there's no Great Firewall of China style ISP-level filter here in America. So how would they even enforce a blackout of a website?

Re:How does this work? (3, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31670952)

As far as I know, there's no Great Firewall of China style ISP-level filter here in America. So how would they even enforce a blackout of a website?

Should be easy enough to include such function inside the snooping machines that NSA has at tier 1 providers and ISP's.

Re:How does this work? (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | about 4 years ago | (#31671626)

Most of my internet never touches a tier one provider, just some large tier two providers.

Re:How does this work? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31671012)

I know you're joking, but seriously, how would something like this even work?

As far as I know, there's no Great Firewall of China style ISP-level filter here in America. So how would they even enforce a blackout of a website?

1. Go to the ghetto.
2. Hire a bunch of gangsta niggers.
3. Tell them that landline is being used to Keep Darkie Down. Tell them they are authorized to perform a driveby on said landline.
4. Pay said gangsta niggers. Don't omit this step.

Of course it doesn't have to be niggers. Government thugs and other state-sponsored things they want you to be afraid of come in all colors.

Re:How does this work? (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 4 years ago | (#31671302)

As far as I know, there's no Great Firewall of China style ISP-level filter here in America.

This is probably your answer.

Re:How does this work? (1)

Tolkien (664315) | about 4 years ago | (#31671706)

If you look at it differently you might notice that while the US doesn't explicitly restrict access, they do MONITOR it. This could be considered as bad as or worse than restriction, because if you're restricted, you have much more difficulty committing any act that is deemed objectionable by the government. When you're monitored, they know where you've been, what you've done and can use it against you if or whenever they choose. Have you been looking at content deemed illegal by the government? They might not make an issue of it right away, but commit murder and 'oh, look at what we have here...', suddenly you're ten times the threat you were before (as opposed to let's say.. an arbitrary and minimal '2x' threat prior to the murder).

Uh huh, terrororists (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 4 years ago | (#31670650)

Why do I have a funny feeling that The Pirate Bay will suddenly be labeled a terrorist organization?

Re:Uh huh, terrororists (5, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 4 years ago | (#31670742)

More likely Wikileaks than Pirate bay, especially with recent release of highly questionable CIA documents [salon.com] plus the imminent release of that video [twitter.com].

Re:Uh huh, terrororists (2, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 4 years ago | (#31671346)

Is this really what the bill is about? My assumption is that this is intended to give the President the authority to shut down botnet controllers during DDoS attacks. Waiting for the courts in such a scenario is unreasonable. The police can immediately respond to a crime in progress; this would make something similar possible in a botnet/DDoS scenario.

As long as the law clearly indicates that the powers are authorized for use against attacks (rather than against political speech or against copyright infringement) I don't see any issue with this thing.

Re:Uh huh, terrororists (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#31671662)

My assumption is that this is intended to give the President the authority to shut down botnet controllers during DDoS attacks. Waiting for the courts in such a scenario is unreasonable.

Why is waiting for the courts unreasonable in such a scenario? We aren't talking about Jack Bauer standing over the nuclear weapon that's about to destroy New York City. We are talking about not being able to access a few portions of the internet for the duration of a DDoS attack.

Re:Uh huh, terrororists (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#31670802)

This does explain the sudden rise in the number of times that bullshit term "cyberwar" has been turning up in headlines.

Oh and those designed-to-fail excercises where they put a few doddering old politicians in a room and had them defend against a fictional cyberattack which they of course couldn't handle.

They've got to pretend there's a real war/threat to get people to hand over power.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Re:Uh huh, terrororists (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about 4 years ago | (#31671474)

Because you are retarted... It's a mechanism for the US president, just like any other emergency plan they can initiate, to shut down all communications. It might be awesome that if China was to attack the USA (just an extremely unlikely situation ofcourse), the US president could shut down all communication? And be selective in this (might not want to insta-kill wallstreet, eh?). It might also be awesome that he can order it any time he wants without having to go through time consuming practices...

It's not like Obama is going to personally block a single website personally each time a person asks him this. Wouldn; t you think he doesn't have anything better to do with his limited time?

OMG. Some people are rightfully concerned. Some are just plain idiots without a clue. Seeing the glass as always half empty, even when it's full for 99.9% it's stil 0.1% TOTALLY EMPTY!!!

It's ok people (5, Funny)

AnonGCB (1398517) | about 4 years ago | (#31670656)

It's not as bad as the Patriot act, so therefore it's ok for this to pass. At least they're not as bad as the last administration, right?

Re:It's ok people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31670772)

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

The BBS may be the solution. At least then you have to raid the office, and that still requires a warrant.

Re:It's ok people (1)

TrentTheThief (118302) | about 4 years ago | (#31671208)

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

I came here to say exactly that.

The BBS may be the solution. At least then you have to raid the office, and that still requires a warrant.

You are mistaken. Any number of "accidental catastrophes" could befall an operator. House fire, robbery, drive-by shooting, "random" murder during the commission of a robbery...

You are forgetting, they are the government. They can do whatever they want and lie because there is no oversight. It's easy to make a person disappear.

Re:It's ok people (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#31671266)

You are mistaken. Any number of "accidental catastrophes" could befall an operator. House fire, robbery, drive-by shooting, "random" murder during the commission of a robbery...

Let's not forget a bad review on Yelp [slashdot.org].

Re:It's ok people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31671340)

You are mistaken. Any number of "accidental catastrophes" could befall an operator. House fire, robbery, drive-by shooting, "random" murder during the commission of a robbery...

You are forgetting, they are the government. They can do whatever they want and lie because there is no oversight. It's easy to make a person disappear.

Or, someone could commit suicide by shooting themselves multiple times in the head and then dragging themselves out to the woods...

Re:It's ok people (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 years ago | (#31671104)

Laws like these tend to have a long life. Who in their sane mind would give that out of his hand again? Once granted, it will stay. Even if you eventually get someone that makes Dubja look like Mahatma Ghandi.

To avoid Godwin, I'll pull a Dollfuß [wikipedia.org]. He was the dictator of Austria before it was absorbed by the German Reich. Think of him as Mini-Hitler. He ruled with a law from the first world war that allowed the administration to make laws without oversight in case of "need". He simply declared the perpetual "need" and thus circumvented the government.

Once such power is granted, it will not go away. And it invevitably will eventually fall into the wrong hands.

Re:It's ok people (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31671472)

Once such power is granted, it will not go away. And it invevitably will eventually fall into the wrong hands.

I would argue that in many cases, misuse of power isn't the evil -- power itself is the evil. The fact that power will fall into the "wrong hands" and is a moot point, because there are no right hands.

To paraphrase Lord Acton, no class is fit to govern. This is just a formal way of saying that power itself (the special "right" to employ physical force as one's means) is evil.

Re:It's ok people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31671254)

But this administration *renewed* the Patriot act....

A Kill Switch? (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#31670668)

Is this Kill Switch just for the internet or the all the people who use the internet?

Re:A Kill Switch? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31671060)

It's a poison pill. It acts like a virus. It replicates, eating up all the memory. If you see this affecting your machine as the system administrator, don't be an idiot. Type "Cookie". That will help to head the program off at the pass.

The second portion of this poison pill is a "Zero Bug". it attacks all the login and overlay files. I advise that you run anti-virus, while checking out the systems display.

The third, and final payload is a "rabbit" virus which infects administration systems. A smart administrator would sent a digital flu-shot. Without said precaution, the rabbit will replicates 'till it overloads a file, then it spreads like cancer. ...

I got hit by the backdoor. It led to massive infections. Multiple GPI and FSI viruses.It came in from the remote nodes. It attacked my kernal! My system command process!

Luckily, Penn Jillette (the astute computer tech, not the magician) was there to help secure my Gibson supercompuuter.

Re:A Kill Switch? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#31671308)

Um, thanks for all the scary details, but a simple 'internet' or 'people' would have sufficed. Heck, even a sarcastic 'yes' would have done nicely.

Report to Congress (4, Interesting)

Akido37 (1473009) | about 4 years ago | (#31670706)

Like most emergency powers, it requires the President to report to Congress within 48 hours.

It doesn't seem, though, to give Congress power to stop the emergency action if it feels that it's not really an emergency.

We'll see what the House does with it.

Re:Report to Congress (2, Funny)

daremonai (859175) | about 4 years ago | (#31671194)

If Congress objects, all they have to do is send the President an email about it.

Oh, wait.

Better than the alternative? (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 4 years ago | (#31670754)

Can anyone think of a single example where throwing the kill switch would be better than not throwing the kill switch? You're talking about shutting down or heavily impacting > 90% of the economy, making communication difficult or impossible for a large number of people, and permanently damaging the trust that people have in a connected society. The damage would be severe and significant and I just can't imagine a situation where it would do more harm than good.

Re:Better than the alternative? (3, Insightful)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | about 4 years ago | (#31670878)

Can anyone think of a single example where throwing the kill switch would be better than not throwing the kill switch? You're talking about shutting down or heavily impacting > 90% of the economy, making communication difficult or impossible for a large number of people, and permanently damaging the trust that people have in a connected society. The damage would be severe and significant and I just can't imagine a situation where it would do more harm than good.

Depends on who the "better" is for. I know if I was in the government and the people were trying to over-through me and my cohorts that the ability to stop all the communications networks they're likely to use (internet + cellphones) would be very useful in preventing anything coordinated.

Re:Better than the alternative? (4, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#31671006)

It depends on your definition of "harm" and "good". An revolt with widespread popular support by a significant minority or even majority of citizens could require the internet to be shut down to prevent the people from organizing to rally against an oppressive regime. It worked out pretty well for Iran.

Re:Better than the alternative? (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | about 4 years ago | (#31671070)

The only thing I could think of...say a large city like New York or LA has a terrorist attack. People overwhelm the network(s) and in order to allow emergency personnel to have dependable access, they black out all of the network except for what the emergency people need to use.

Something like that. It's retarded, over all, and about the only thing I could conceive of where this *might* make sense. Maybe.

Re:Better than the alternative? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 years ago | (#31671204)

Hmm... A quickly spreading botnet that is then used to attack China, exclusively executed by US hosted computers, that could prompt China into assuming an internet based attack.

Yes, unlikely and hardly executable. You asked for an example, not one that's remotely possible.

Re:Better than the alternative? (1)

TrentTheThief (118302) | about 4 years ago | (#31671246)

Can anyone think of a single example where throwing the kill switch would be better than not throwing the kill switch?

I believe they're looking to shutdown specific sites. The best thing to do is start setting up darknet/freenet nodes all over the place. Once they begin nailing websites they don't like, they won't stop.

Re:Better than the alternative? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#31671352)

You really think darknets will remain legal much longer?

Re:Better than the alternative? (1)

TrentTheThief (118302) | about 4 years ago | (#31671614)

It will be a hard go. Something positive needs to happen.

Free, private communications is a cornerstone of maintaining a free society. Without a secure method of communications, the possibility of eventually overthrowing a tyrant is very small.

Who would have thought that "de oppresso libre" could become that applied in the US?

Re:Better than the alternative? (1)

digitaldrunkenmonk (1778496) | about 4 years ago | (#31671446)

Most cases probably won't shut the entire American back bone down, as it would be catastrophic. Rather, he can probably choose certain servers/networks to kill in order to isolate a threat, rather than completely wreck communication and the economy. Ideally, the attack would come from outside the US so we could clamp it at the coasts and maintain, at least, an American intranet. This, of course, would be a moot point if the attack came from a botnet like Storm.

Bye, bye freedom... (5, Insightful)

MahariBalzitch (902744) | about 4 years ago | (#31670760)

Our freedom in the US is quickly diminishing under the guise of "Terrorism". It makes me sick watching it happen and knowing there is nothing we can do about it.

Re:Bye, bye freedom... (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 4 years ago | (#31670812)

there is nothing we can do about it.

Vote.
Run for office.
Rebel.

Re:Bye, bye freedom... (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#31670860)

there is nothing we can do about it.

Vote.
Run for office.
Rebel.

I believe you forgot:
????
Profit!

Re:Bye, bye freedom... (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | about 4 years ago | (#31671526)

I believe you forgot: ???? Profit!

Unfortunately, it seems that once elected, everyone soon remembers that last step, and forgets everything that came before it.

Re:Bye, bye freedom... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 years ago | (#31670932)

a) Vote.
b) Run for office.
c) Rebel.

Your options have some problems. But don't worry, I have the solution for all of them.

A - As it is right now, your vote won't change anything: To make your vote count, kill everyone else.
B - You don't have enough money to run for office: Steal some millions of dollars.
C - They're more than you, to quench your rebellion: See A.

Re:Bye, bye freedom... (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 4 years ago | (#31671222)

Vote.

Hmm. How's that working out for you?

Run for office.

Good luck with that, truly. You'll need more than luck though - see above.

Rebel.

How? Take up arms? You won't last ten seconds. Stop paying taxes? Even worse, the Revenoo will be after you.

Rebellion seems to be the only choice until you realise that you need so many people in on it you might as well just vote the same way. Seems like a catch-22 to me...

Re:Bye, bye freedom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31671374)

Article V.

Yes - you do need a lot of people to agree - namely 3/5ths of the State legislatures, which nearly happened with universal health care.

Re:Bye, bye freedom... (1)

Haxzaw (1502841) | about 4 years ago | (#31671530)

Your ideas will not work. Voting is useless to effect change unless enough people vote for a regular person instead of a professional politician. A regular person doesn't have enough money to run for office. A rebellion won't work unless you can gather enough citizens to defeat the entire US military. Granted, some in the military will defect to the rebellion, but not enough. Besides, this internet kill switch would eliminate your ability to easily coordinate your rebellion.

Re:Bye, bye freedom... (1)

ArcherB (796902) | about 4 years ago | (#31671634)

there is nothing we can do about it.

Vote.
Run for office.
Rebel.

In other words:

Ballot Box.
Soap Box.
Ammo Box.

Re:Bye, bye freedom... (5, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 4 years ago | (#31671038)

If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy - James Madison

Re:Bye, bye freedom... (2, Funny)

vikingpower (768921) | about 4 years ago | (#31671244)

There is something you can do. It is called revolution. You - i.e. your ancestors - already did something similar, over 2 centuries ago. It resulted into the USA as we know it, today. Nothing prevents you from doing it again.

Re:Bye, bye freedom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31671684)

When our ancestors had a revolution most people were farmers. A breakdown of the infrastructure wouldn't have that great of an affect on the average person back then. The average person back then grew their own food and was pretty independent of society as a whole.

Now a days everything is interconnected. A revolution and the ensuing breakdown of infrastructure would result in massive starvation which would in turn lead to other really harsh problems. Millions would die. No matter how well intentioned, the landscape of the USA after a real revolution would be bleak.

Right now I have food, shelter, medicine, internet access, etc. I can go out for walks at night with my wife without fear of violence. I can sleep well at night knowing that I am secure in my home. As bad as FOX news and Huff Post make things out to be, things are still pretty damn good in the USA. Maybe not as good as in Denmark or wherever but still a hell of a lot better than in Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A revolution in the US would not result in some Libertarian/Green/NeoCon/Liberal/(Insert your ideology here) paradise. It would result in things being worse than they currently are. That might not appeal to your macho gun loving self who watched Red Dawn too many times growing up, but its a fact of life.

Re:Bye, bye freedom... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 4 years ago | (#31671486)

You can start by rallying friends and family to vote for anyone but an incumbent. Get out and support their primary challenger. If that doesn't work, vote for other other guy. Send enough people packing and the rest will get the message.

Wikileaks (2, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 years ago | (#31670804)

A page must be created right now to prepare the bets and polls on which page will be blocked first.

How deep (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about 4 years ago | (#31670824)

...and how low can you go ? What and how much more will the security hype have Americans undergo silently ? How much does it f*cking take ??

Re:How deep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31671378)

Deprive the populace of three meals or American Idol. No offence but your country would probably be a better place with less of both.

An expansion of existing presidential authorities (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 4 years ago | (#31670886)

So the president can make and put into action such a plan but this is not an expansion of existing authorities? Since when did the president have authority to censor speech?

Re:An expansion of existing presidential authoriti (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | about 4 years ago | (#31671152)

So the president can make and put into action such a plan but this is not an expansion of existing authorities? Since when did the president have authority to censor speech?
When he got the right to round up innocent Americans and inter them.

Hopenchange (0, Troll)

Silverhammer (13644) | about 4 years ago | (#31670894)

How's that hope and change workin' out for ya?

Obama certainly deserves criticism here, but.. (1, Insightful)

axl917 (1542205) | about 4 years ago | (#31670982)

How's that hope and change workin' out for ya?

is parroting Caribou Barbie really the most effective way of doing it?

Re:Obama certainly deserves criticism here, but.. (1)

geekthesteve (1168143) | about 4 years ago | (#31671408)

I find your post offensive. You are belittling a woman who is active in the political arena and is espousing a point of view you disagree with. Rather than addressing her point of view with any intelligent arguments you attempt to dismiss her point of view by calling her a name. You have only shown your own ignorance and mental laziness with your post.

Re:Obama certainly deserves criticism here, but.. (1)

ArcherB (796902) | about 4 years ago | (#31671718)

How's that hope and change workin' out for ya?

is parroting Caribou Barbie really the most effective way of doing it?

That is the exact opposite of the "Appeal to Authority" fallacy and it is a logical fallacy all the same.

Does the originator of the quote make it any less true?

Re:Hopenchange (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 years ago | (#31671260)

Pretty good. It's just hope for change now.

Snideness aside. You give the Prez too much "power credit". Yes, he has power, but only if he does what is backed by the rest of the political clout. Think of it as groupthink, a group of bullies that have a head honcho that leads them. He could easily incite them to steal your pocket money and jacket, but you don't think his buddies would follow him if he suddenly suggested they start doing community work, do you?

Politics isn't much different.

Re:Hopenchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31671398)

How's that hope and change workin' out for ya?

It is working out a hell of a lot better than it would have if McCain and Palin were in charge. Do you really honestly think that they would have done better?

"critical infrastructure information systems" (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 4 years ago | (#31670954)

What's that?

Re:"critical infrastructure information systems" (1)

KeithIrwin (243301) | about 4 years ago | (#31671590)

That's kind of the key point. It could be more clearly defined in the bill, but it's clear from context that they're talking about private networks used to run infrastructure like the power grid, the water system, etc. In order to use it to disconnect someplace like WikiLeaks, they would first have to declare WikiLeaks to be critical infrastructure.

Need to have a fast method if needed (3, Insightful)

captaindomon (870655) | about 4 years ago | (#31670958)

I don't have a problem with this, there should be a way that the system can be quickly shut down if necessary. Waiting for congressional approval would take months probably, even weeks if there was a really pressing emergency. I don't think this law is about approval (I'm sure there would be a huge investigation by congress if he ever used it), it's about timing - stuff on the internet happens quickly and needs to be responded to quickly.

Re:Need to have a fast method if needed (1)

captaindomon (870655) | about 4 years ago | (#31671004)

You can see this in the language of the article: "though he would have to report to Congress within 48 hours after declaring an emergency." It's about timing, not approval.

Re:Need to have a fast method if needed (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#31671086)

I cannot think of a single situation where pressing the kill switch is less damaging than not pressing it

Re:Need to have a fast method if needed (2, Funny)

jittles (1613415) | about 4 years ago | (#31671676)

Do you really think that government could move faster than a skilled and knowledgeable network administrator who is protecting his infrastructure?

your part in society (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31671010)

Guys, you keep voting these *hitheads into office on nothing more than advertising. Now, maybe, if this collective group of geeks and hackers could start deconstructing all their lives and lies, some change that we could live with would occur.

oh, yeah. Vote once in a while.

Where are the technical people on /. (5, Interesting)

tacokill (531275) | about 4 years ago | (#31671016)

Lots of comments but not one that is technically based...

Ok, I'll ask. Exactly how would a kill switch for the intrawebs work? Specifically, how would the president hit one button and "shut down" all telecom infrastructure in the country (including wireless). What about the various mesh networks that sprung up?

I am trying to envision how this would work on any technical level and I just can't get there. Yes, you could pretty easily cripple our telecom system here and there but to shut the whole thing down and make it unusable is quite a different scenario.

Not to mention the hacking opportunity this presents. Yes, I am sure there will be many many layers of security....but still.....if the president can do it, then someone else can also do it.


This actually raises (many) more questions than it answers.

Re:Where are the technical people on /. (2, Interesting)

jwinster (1620555) | about 4 years ago | (#31671080)

I was about to post this same thing, the only situation that makes any sense is that he could tell the ISPs what to do, who would promptly challenge the directive in court rather than shutting off traffic.

Re:Where are the technical people on /. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#31671318)

It would only happen during martial law. In that case if an ISP didn't shut down, military personnel would shut it down. and no, I don't mean they would destroy it, they would just evac the building and pull the plug.

Re:Where are the technical people on /. (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#31671286)

It would work just like martial law would effect TV and Radio.

All ISPs would be told to shut down a service in the specified area. Military personnel would show up at an ISP not complying and force compliance.

Declaring martial law has never happened in the US. Doing so would have huge negative political ramifications, as it should.

Re:Where are the technical people on /. (1)

Rijnzael (1294596) | about 4 years ago | (#31671396)

Remember all the shenanigans that have happened with censorship countries announcing invalid routes over BGP and accidentally disabling or blocking websites halfway across the globe? Think that.

Check this [circleid.com] for an example.

Dangerous and disturbing this is (3, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 4 years ago | (#31671076)

This is akin to putting people on the no-fly list for no reason. IMHO, this is a blatant abuse of power and violates the 1st amendment in a big way. Can anyone remember when shutting down the opposition in the name of security was done last? Oh, yeah, Hugo Chavez. Oh yeah. the Chinese government. Oh yeah, the Iranian government. Oh yeah, the Burmese government (scuse me Miranmar). If people being pissed about the Patriot Act contributed to a change of power, this will do the same in the other direction. "Oh, but our beloved president Obama would never do that do me only to those evil right-wing militias (that nobody ever heard of until now)." Yeah, keep thinking that. Would you want a president with an opposing ideology to have this power?

Oh shut up. (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#31671242)

This is no different then the presidents power to issue martial law.

Even during the most oppressive moments of our government, martial law has never been declared.

NO one s on the no fly lists for 'no reason'. Some people are mistakenly put on it. HOWEVER no fly lists are far worse then this; they assume guilt and punish innocent people.

2 different things.

And no, this doesn't have anything to do with Obama. Nice try.

Re:Oh shut up. (2, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 4 years ago | (#31671510)

Yeah, too bad Obama publicly stated he wanted this. He also publicly stated that he wants a federal police force that answers only to him. Besides, since people think Bush was so evil, why didn't he do this? He certainly had enough time and a congressional majority to do it.

The difference between martial law and this is that martial law takes a lot of time and manpower to implement on a national scale. This takes a few hours.

And martial law violates Posse Comitatus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act [wikipedia.org]
I'm sure this cybersecurity thing does too. Communications lines aren't federal property.

Re:Oh shut up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31671618)

And no, this doesn't have anything to do with Obama. Nice try.

Oh, the President who just happens to be in the same party as the majority in the Senate won't sign off on this? Is that what you're saying?

Re:Dangerous and disturbing this is (2, Insightful)

lwsimon (724555) | about 4 years ago | (#31671312)

Those of us who have heard of the Hutaree before are scratching our heads.

Yeah, they're extreme, but they're also committed. If they were as dangerous as they are made out to be now, don't you think one of them would have started shooting by now?

They don't know WTF is going on either. I find that far scarier than a "criminal militia".

Re:Dangerous and disturbing this is (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#31671504)

Actually, a lot of us "radical liberals" are steaming mad at Obama. I didn't drink the kool-aid, I knew he was no different than Bush, I knew he was a corporate-feudalist puppet who would support fascist police state policies from the start.

On the other hand, I've known about the apocalyptic christian death cults for the better part of 20 years now. The group in Michigan is only the tip of the iceberg.

Slippery Slope (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | about 4 years ago | (#31671118)

You know, drugs, pirated content, and discussion groups all contribute to terrorism!
Goodbye erowid, bittorrent, and slashdot! Extreme and unlikely, but it can happen now and that's the awful thing. This is ridiculous.

In this age of information, there should be some sort of amendment added to the rules where the people themselves can weigh in on bills like this and kill them before they get anywhere.

This is no different (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#31671166)

then the power any president has had with everything else.

It's like martial law. Ever stop to notice we have never had martial law?

Re:This is no different (1)

lwsimon (724555) | about 4 years ago | (#31671282)

Yes, we have. Lincoln declared martial law during the Civil War, with the authorization of Congress.

Re:This is no different (1)

geekthesteve (1168143) | about 4 years ago | (#31671524)

Yes, but many believe that President Nixon contemplated declaring marshal law during the Watergate crisis but did not enact it because "we the people" would rally against it. If you don't have a way to organize large groups of people this concern goes away and I offer as evidence the effective suppression of the demonstrations in Iran after the Internet communications were blocked.

Is this the same overhyped bill from last year? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 4 years ago | (#31671326)

I remember that it was more about restricting internet access to infrastructure targets like power plants. That's not to say that the actual law isn't vaguely enough worded to allow for gross breaches of civil rights. I didn't see anything in the blurb about what the changes were to the kill switch legislation.

Subject to court oversight (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 years ago | (#31671382)

and gives the president this 'kill switch' without oversight or explanation.

... except by the courts, years after the fact.

Not so terrible (5, Interesting)

KeithIrwin (243301) | about 4 years ago | (#31671462)

I've read the bill. It honestly isn't that bad. First off, the "kill switch" doesn't apply to arbitrary web sites or anything like that. It specifically targets 1) government computer networks and 2) computer networks connected to "critical infrastructure". By "critical infrastructure", they mean things like the power grid, water and sewer systems, natural gas systems, stuff like that. Some people who have read this bill have made the assumption that "infrastructure networks" is synonymous with "network infrastructure", i.e. internet backbones, but it's pretty obvious from the context that this is not what the bill is meant to cover. There's nothing in the bill which allows the president to turn off your internet or disconnect you unless you are a utility company.

Now, that said, they really could have more precisely defined "critical infrastructure networks" in order to make that clearer. There is still a little weasel-room in the bill where it is possible that someone could try to justify ridiculous actions using it. They could have eliminated this with a more specific definition of what comprises "critical infrastructure". So I wouldn't say that I support it 100% in its current form, but honestly, I don't think that the bill is all that terrible.

The bigger problem to me is that I don't see any reason to believe that the measures in this bill will do anything significant to address the problem which they are purporting to address. Although I'm not convinced that a "cyber attack" is a real threat, if it is, by the time the president declares a state of "cyber emergency", it will probably already be too late. If there really is a serious on-line threat then the way to fight that is not to give more power to people at the top to respond, it is to give people at the bottom more authority to make decisions and respond quickly to a developing security situation.

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