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Senate Panel Approves Cybersecurity Bill

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the wrong-meme dept.

Government 269

GovTechGuy writes "A Senate Committee approved a bill that would give the president an emergency 'kill switch' over the Internet, but added some restrictions to the bill. The president may no longer simply assert that the threat remains indefinitely, he must now seek Congressional approval after 120 days. Still, privacy advocates are concerned about the government's ability to shut down private networks. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) 'said she was disappointed to read reports that the bill gives the White House a "kill switch" for the Internet, an authority she says the president already has under a little-known clause in the Communications Act passed one month after the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. ... Collins [argued] the new bill actually circumscribes the president's existing authority and puts controls on its use.'"

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269 comments

A pox! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689128)

Damn you Americans and your self-important exceptionalism.

Re:A pox! (1)

know1 (854868) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689296)

I know. Anyone would think they had invented the internet, or the computer.

Re:A pox! (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689410)

I know. Anyone would think they had invented the internet, or the computer.

Yeah, thanks. I thank the chinese for the gunpowder too.

But that doesn't give you americans the right to behave as if the Internet was yours.

Re:A pox! (0, Flamebait)

know1 (854868) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689460)

I'm an Englishman, you asstard. Check your sarcasm detector.

Re:A pox! (2, Informative)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690292)

But that doesn't give you americans the right to behave as if the Internet was yours.

Yes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARPANET [wikipedia.org] , yes it does.

not likely to happen (0)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689150)

The President also has the power to suspend the Constitution, something that has never happened though several wars. Things would have to get very dire before either of these events would be triggered.

Re:not likely to happen (4, Insightful)

medcalf (68293) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689224)

Say what? I think you are mistaken. Certainly, nothing in the Constitution seems to give the President that power.

Although, of course, the government simply ignores the Constitution all the time.

habeus corpus (2, Informative)

voss (52565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689292)

The president does not have the power to suspend the constitution , the president does have the power to suspend habeus corpus during rebellion or invasion where public safety may require it. In ex parte milligan supreme court said
that civilians could not be tried by military courts when civilian courts were functioning

Re:habeus corpus (4, Insightful)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689380)

The power to suspend habeas corpus is stated in Article I of the Constitution, which mean that Congress, not the President, has that authority. Lincoln simply ignored the ruling.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_parte_Merryman [wikipedia.org]

Re:habeus corpus (-1, Flamebait)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689436)

What would you expect from the first Neo-con^WRepublican president?

Re:habeus corpus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32690146)

Yeah, he was even so racist he deliberately caused many, many blacks to lose their jobs.

Re:not likely to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689302)

So the constitution says that it must be kept between wood and glass? That's a shame. It would be cool to suspend the constitution with jets of air.

Re:not likely to happen (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689232)

For most people, it's the possibility part that bothers them.

Removing knee-jerk reactions and looking at this objectively, I can understand why the government would need the power to do this...but with all the public attention they've been giving to "cybersecurity" lately, I can completely understand why this makes people very nervous.

Of course, the most common argument (one which I agree with) is why are mission critical systems accessable from the "normal" Internet in the first place? Why aren't they built on an entirely seperate network that sees zero interaction with the "public" Internet, like something akin to a CCTV system?

Re:not likely to happen (2, Insightful)

YetAnotherProgrammer (1075287) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689426)

Removing knee-jerk reactions and looking at it objectively when it comes to pulling the plug would be nice, but someone will without thought.

Re:not likely to happen (3, Insightful)

ciphertext (633581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690114)

They do, for the most part, and for most of the agencies (DOD, FBI, CIA, DHS, etc...). They have redundant network capabilities served both by wired and wireless means (micro-wave and satellite transmission capabilities). The "business" apps at those agencies do not necessarily have a private network. The terminals that serve you the internet at a great many of these agencies also have access to these other applications that interact with the "shadow" networks. Also, the same network providers that provide you and me with our "pipe" (AT&T, Verizon, Quest, etc...) also provide the "pipes" to the other, "shadow" networks. Should the systems at those installations become targets for malicious assault, then it could shut down entire sectors of the economy. The NASDAQ is one such "highly available" system that could be harmed, even though they have their own network. The financial networks that carry SWIFT, Cirrus, Visa, and ATM transactions would be susceptible even though they are on private networks. I'm not sure how turning "off" the internet will help. Wouldn't removing access to the internet have the same effect as a DDOS attack? The outcomes are the same aren't they (i.e. loss of connectivity)? The real goal of cyber attack is either one or both of the following:

Gain Access

Deny Access

If I were a cyber-assassin bent on disabling large networks for the purpose of disrupting an economy, I now would have two tactics available to me. I could launch my DDOS against a financial network or sufficiently large commercial target and hope to disrupt their capabilities. The other tactic would be to launch the assault and wait for the "kill" switch to be engaged. The outcome in both of those scenarios is favorable to the attacker.

Re:not likely to happen (1)

Pete Venkman (1659965) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689240)

Who decides how dire is dire enough?

Re:not likely to happen (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690168)

I nominate Courage Wolf

Re:not likely to happen (0)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690422)

I'm okay with this.

Re:not likely to happen (2, Funny)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690240)

Who decides how dire is dire enough?

Mark Knopfler, obviously.

Re:not likely to happen (5, Interesting)

silentquasar (1144257) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689250)

...as if the U.S. Government actually follows the Constitution anyway. (I'm lookin' at you, 10th Amendment) I have little faith that anything can really hold the U.S. federal government back from doing whatever the heck it wants to do.

Re:not likely to happen (2, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689300)

The President also has the power to suspend the Constitution, something that has never happened though several wars. Things would have to get very dire before either of these events would be triggered.

So it's OK then?

Re:not likely to happen (2, Informative)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689366)

When I hear people spout claptrap like this, I weep for our public education system. Did you go to public school? Your civics teacher let you down very badly.

I encourage you to read the Constitution. It's not a complete picture of American jurisprudence, but it's a great start. It's also not terribly long, or terribly difficult, and you can easily find read-along guides that will tell you a little bit about what it means.

Good luck.

Re:not likely to happen (0, Redundant)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689656)

The President also has the power to suspend the Constitution,

Er, no, he doesn't. What the hell ever gave you the idea that he could?

Re:not likely to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689928)

Yes. Shutting down all of internet is unlikely to happen. But what if they suddenly shutdown some 5000 dissident web-sites? Each of us will just notice that a few sites (10 or so) went down. The corrupt mainstream media either won't write about it or writes that 10 sites were shut down because they were spreading viruses. The independent media might report that more than 4000 web-sites were shut down. Of course, most of these independent reports will never be seen by the world because their web-sites belong to the set of 5000 shutted down web-sites. The few independent reports that do come out will be dismissed as conspiracy theories because these reports will be thoroughly outnumbered by corrupt mainstream reports. And we continue to be under the delusion that free speech exists. Yay! Welcome to 21st century imperialism.

Re:not likely to happen (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690220)

What about news from non-American sites? Are they going to implement the Great Firewall of the USA too?

Re:not likely to happen (1)

IonHand (646698) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689994)

It's called the patriot act....

Wait... (4, Insightful)

Agent Z5q (144666) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689196)

Wait a minute, is this the USA or North Korea I'm living in?

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689274)

...North Korea. Since 1996. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_3

Re:Wait... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689622)

I don't know.
In the USA there is public debate of the law and it's pros and cons are discussed. People can public voice concerns and safe guards and restrictions to the law may added to avoid or at least minimize abuses.
On top of that people are free to make stupid comments comparing the US to a totalitarian dictatorship and not be thrown in jail.

If you live in North Korea there is no restrictions to what you can see or read except that government protects the people from having to see any lies. And since that statement is without a doubt the truth anyone that states that they doubt it are confused and sick. For those poor people the government will help them by reeducating them. However there are some evil agents of outside forces trying to destroy the workers paradise that is North Korea, and those will be punished to protect the innocent workers.

So exactly where do you live?

Re:Wait... (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690346)

In the USA there is public debate of the law and it's pros and cons are discussed.

That's true right now, except it won't be true for the internet after the president uses the kill switch.

I am appalled that anyone can even begin to think this is a good idea.

I've feared from the very beginning that the whole "net neutrality" debate would yield sweeping, draconian policies for the internet. Well here we go....

Re:Wait... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689688)

Does it matter anymore?

Really.. no.. i'm serious.

America is a fucking joke now. And has been for awhile.... I can't say i'm proud to be american anymore cuz i'm just fucking NOT.

Cyber threat... what the FUCK.. really? REALLY? god damm... how can the supposed smart people be such outright epic retards...

Oh right. money. power. got it.

I'm starting to think they want this control over the internet for one reason and one reason only. Not some vauge outside threat that cant, won't and shouldnt be able to touch our infastructure at all.
but an internal threat. Yet another tool they can use to stop the spread of riots as we drag the politicians and ceos out in the street and lynch them and post it on youtube.

Cuz its really starting to look like that would be the only way things can be fixed here anymore.

Uncontrolled greed and the lust for power is just killing our country. And the only people who currently have the power to fix it. Have a vested intrest in not fixing it.

We know they're all corrupt as fuck. And we just let them continue....

Well, someday that will have to be corrected. it will HAVE to be. Or america will be no more.

Ahh fuckit. i dont care anymore. we're not worth fixing or saving. we get what we deserve... dayum we're retarded.

-disgusted with the entire mess.

Re:Wait... (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690210)

hint: the US already has "control over the internet".

This is the stupidest law I have ever seen. (1)

know1 (854868) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689198)

And that's saying something. It won't even kill the internet anyway, just a large chunk of it (ie some backbone stuff, not all). It will be an inconveniance, but life will go on. God damn it, fucking america.

Can someone explain? (1)

Turzyx (1462339) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689212)

Could someone please explain how this would actually work in practice? There isn't a single point that all internet traffic goes through, so how exactly would they achieve this? What about dial up and such?

Re:Can someone explain? (3, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689248)

From what I understand, they would shut things down at the ISP level.

"What's the point of a modem noise, if you are unable to connect, Mr. Anderson?" sort of thing.

Re:Can someone explain? (4, Insightful)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689278)

This will be done at the ISP level. All ISPs in America will have to comply or face fines and other charger I'm guessing. Sort of like having your own remote-controlled kill-switch box at every ISP.

I don't see how anybody in America will be able to use the internet to get news or communicate with other Americans in a time of emergency if this should ever go into effect.

Re:Can someone explain? (2, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689514)

I don't see how anybody in America will be able to use the internet to get news or communicate with other Americans in a time of emergency if this should ever go into effect.

Maybe we need an RFC for "IP over Ham Radio?"

Or can the government jam Ham Radio bands if they feel like it as well?

Re:Can someone explain? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689570)

I don't see how anybody in America will be able to use the internet to get news or communicate with other Americans in a time of emergency if this should ever go into effect.

Maybe we need an RFC for "IP over Ham Radio?"

Or can the government jam Ham Radio bands if they feel like it as well?

There is one, called Packet Radio. Although as far as I know it's really slow.

Re:Can someone explain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689398)

Probably the same way the Emergency Broadcast System [wikimedia.org] for TV/Radio works.

The FCC requires all broadcast stations and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPD) to install and maintain EAS decoders and encoders at their control points. These decoders continuously monitor the signals from other nearby broadcast stations for EAS messages. For reliability, at least two other source stations must be monitored, one of which must be a designated local primary.

So basically every ISP in the US will be forced to slap an antenna on the top of their datacenters (and no, you can't use the internet to send the message that the internet needs to be shut down).

Re:Can someone explain? (2, Funny)

silanea (1241518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689512)

[...(] no, you can't use the internet to send the message that the internet needs to be shut down).

Generations of script kiddies prove you wrong. Getting it working again that way may proof a little more, ah, challenging though.

Re:Can someone explain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32690332)

Yeah, those work really fucking well ...

The EBS didn't go off until AFTER the funnel cloud went over my house this week. Luckily the sirens, local news, the weather channel, and weather.com were all still working, so I had time to seek shelter, but what a fucking croc, thirty minutes late for a tornado warning.

FCC: Fuck your out-moded out-dated media controls.

Re:Can someone explain? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689494)

It would give the US gov 12-24 h of 'breathing room' by shutting down the congested telco networks around a part of the USA lost to a natural or man caused disaster.
But why would the US gov be using insecure, best effort US rust belt quality patched up Bell junk?
The US gov has its own networks?
How would it work? Your cable, adsl, wireless service would just not see your isp for x hours and tech support would be a recording about technical difficulties.
Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, your local religious leaders ect would then reassure the public all was sort of normal from talking points.

Re:Can someone explain? (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690424)

Yep, this is more about the government controlling its citizens communications in a time of crisis than about actual "security".

There is a large feeling and sentiment out there that believes things were much much better when citizens got information from only a handful of easily controlled and managed sources than from each other.

Its true freedom vs. perceived freedom.

Joe Lieberman (4, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689216)

Joe Lieberman is a republican mole in the Democratic party. This much should be obvious from everything that he has done so far, his stance on the health insurance is a good example.

Remember, he is the guy who wants to spend about 187 million to upgrade the Secret Service systems/hardware (pork belly spending obviously), and now he is the guy who came up with this 'Cybersecurity Bill'.

Obviously this has nothing to do with any cybersecurity, the politicians will approve it, whether republicans or democrats, so that they have a way to kill dissenting opinions and news that the Internet allows to spread around. One of the arguments Lieberman gave for this is that China can do it so USA should also be able to. Does USA want to follow China in terms of treating the dissent, the freedom of press, the freedom in general? I guess now, that everything else is made in China this is just the next logical step - import their governing principles as well (at this point it doesn't seem that much needs to be imported anyway).

Re:Joe Lieberman (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689244)

Joe Lieberman is a republican mole in the Democratic party.

Hey! We don't want him either. He's like a mysterious festering lump. No one knows when exactly he got there, we're all pretty sure we want him gone, but he won't just go away on his own.

Sen. Lieberman (DINOSAUR-CT) (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689322)

Joe Lieberman is a republican mole in the Democratic party.

Progressive blogs and forums have a word for him: DINOSAUR. It stands for [punditkitchen.com] "Democrat in name only, sorry-ass undercover Republican".

Re:Sen. Lieberman (DINOSAUR-CT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689712)

Just imagine the outrage from the Progressive blogs if the Republicans had the majority in the house, senate and executive branches: "HOW DARE YOU!!!! THIS IS A FLAGRANT ABUSE OF GOVERNMENT!!!!"

But since the opposite is true, it's more like "Hey I don't think that will work. But your heart is in the right place!"

Re:Joe Lieberman (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689504)

You guys make me crack up, thinking there's some sort of difference.

Re:Joe Lieberman (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689568)

No, we are not thinking there is any real difference. However note how the republicans are always voting together in a single block, like a machine.

Democrats on the other hand are always faltering: OMG, ponies, we have a majority, I guess we are really screwed now!

Of-course the democrats only use the excuse that there are these big bad republicans and that's why real change is not happening? I mean imagine if democrats had 98% of all the votes, they'd be like: but we really need to convince Olivia Snow, otherwise we could never pass anything, we are really really really fucked now.

The only actual difference between democrats and republicans now is that republicans have gone completely mentally insane, with very rare exceptions (like Ron Paul). They are bat shit crazy and that's their platform now, being bat shit crazy.

However both parties are obviously corporatist and the President is not even a liberal, he is an articulate George Bush and that is why rendition is still here and Gitmo is still opened and your phones can still be tapped without a court order and that is why if this bill passes the President will not veto it and will be more than happy to use it and to extend it as well.

However this does not change the simple truth that Joe Lieberman is a mole.

Re:Joe Lieberman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32690130)

No, we are not thinking there is any real difference. However note how the republicans are always voting together in a single block, like a machine.

*Citation Needed

Democrats on the other hand are always faltering: OMG, ponies, we have a majority, I guess we are really screwed now!

*Citation Needed

Of-course the democrats only use the excuse that there are these big bad republicans and that's why real change is not happening? I mean imagine if democrats had 98% of all the votes, they'd be like: but we really need to convince Olivia Snow, otherwise we could never pass anything, we are really really really fucked now.

a) *Citation Needed
b) I belive you mean OLYMPIA Snow...

The only actual difference between democrats and republicans now is that republicans have gone completely mentally insane, with very rare exceptions (like Ron Paul). They are bat shit crazy and that's their platform now, being bat shit crazy.

*Citation Needed

However both parties are obviously corporatist and the President is not even a liberal, he is an articulate George Bush and that is why rendition is still here and Gitmo is still opened and your phones can still be tapped without a court order and that is why if this bill passes the President will not veto it and will be more than happy to use it and to extend it as well.

*Citation Needed

However this does not change the simple truth that Joe Lieberman is a mole.

*Citation Needed

Re:Joe Lieberman (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690232)

I don't think citation is needed for any of that, and excuse me for not caring whether it's Olivia, Olympia or Orelia.

If you don't know that republicans are voting a single block on almost everything, then why would I bother arguing with you?

Simple simple simple example from just days ago [bloomberg.com] , or whatever happened during the health insurance votes or the financial reform votes. Give me a break, this is not even funny with your citation needed crap.

Re:Joe Lieberman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32690206)

It wasn't Lieberman, if you read the fine print, it specifically says it was aggressively lobbied by a John Connor...

BUtton (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689268)

I hope to god they install another big button in his desks - right next to the nuke button and the strippers button.

Won't affect me (1)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689298)

I have the Internet on my computer, have had since 1995.

Congressional Approval email not received . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689312)

The president may no longer simply assert that the threat remains indefinitely, he must now seek Congressional approval after 120 days

President to Congress: "Look I sent you guys an email asking to extend the Internet being turned off, and nobody responded!"

Good idea in theory... (5, Interesting)

Nautical Insanity (1190003) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689332)

I'm probably crusin' for a brusin' by saying this, but there probably should be some form of last defense for computer systems throughout the nation. In the event of a highly-destructive fast-spreading virus, being able to shut off all connection at the ISP level would buy enough time for security researchers to find a way to negate the threat.

That said, I have qualms about the implementation. Some proposals:

1) The killswitch needs to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Either all ISPs are mandated to shut down or none. The economic magnitude of such a decision would force any internet shutdown to be only used in the face of an even worse threat.

2) The requirements for activating the shutdown need to be more specific than "an emergency." Japan was able to spend itself into debt by repeated use of "emergency" spending. The requirements for a shutdown of the internet should be a clear and widespread danger to computer systems.

3) 120 days is far too long of a time to have before the decision should come up for review. Four months without computer-to-computer communication that has become integral to the economy is far to long to be granted without oversight.

I have not yet had a chance to read the PROPOSED bill. Note that this story is about the bill making it out of committee, not becoming law. Does anyone have a link to the text of the proposed bill?

Re:Good idea in theory... (2, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689472)

Think of the children, right? Fast spreading viruses and all that other nonsense, that's in the hands of the admins of the ISPs, who right now can do what they find necessary to fight those threats, that's part of their jobs.

However this bill has nothing to do with any of that. This bill is about Joe Lieberman, about his 187 million dollars he wants in pork belly spending for the Secret Service in his state, it's about the politicians getting tired of all that dissent, of people not watching the news on the approved news channels but getting their information on line from a multitude of separate unrelated and uncontrollable sources. Uncontrollable until this bill passes.

The time limit on the bill? Well, no problem with that either. It's never a problem to extend powers once some of the powers are granted and the infrastructure for this is implemented. Gitmo never closed, rendition never ended, don't forget that. Patriot Act is still active and President can still issue an order for whatever he feels like, and no president likes a real challenge from actual real media (which mostly doesn't exist anymore, but hey, I was surprised by the Rolling Stones Magazine.)

This bill is going to help the politicians to get back to their 'normal', where their bullshit does not propagate through networks for everybody to see put there to see by some schmuck, that is not working for Fox or CNN or whatever. Yeah, they'll be fighting a cyberwar, the same way they are fighting all those other wars for decades now, like the war on drugs. This will never end and the emergency will never end. This is designed to put you back in line and there you are sitting, saying how wonderful an idea this is. They are winning it seems.

Re:Good idea in theory... (5, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689488)

Does anyone have a link to the text of the proposed bill?

Ask, and ye shall receive [senate.gov] . Note: PDF link

I found it at this page [senate.gov] .

Re:Good idea in theory... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690022)

Thanks Pojut. I liked page 185
"test, evaluate, and facilitate, with appro- priate protections for any proprietary information concerning the technologies, the transfer of tech- nologies associated with the engineering of less vul- nerable software and securing the information tech- nology software development lifecycle;"
NSA trickle down for your next Windows, Mac and Google device.

Re:Good idea in theory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689502)

Or we could not continue the policy of connecting vital computer systems to the public Internet.

Re:Good idea in theory... (4, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689526)

Much like the old guys at the Whitehouse I think you've been watching too many Hollywood movies. The destructive power of this kill switch is ironically the only thing dangerous enough to warrant even having a kill switch. Even if there was some kind of "super virus" that was taking out routing on the internet, shutting the internet seems about as effective as killing the patient to save their leg.

I'm really yet to read any scenario that makes sense where having this would be useful. I can think of many cases where the government could happily abuse it for political reasons - particularly if they had the power to shutdown political opposition in order to "protect the public from terrorism."

Re:Good idea in theory... (2, Insightful)

Nautical Insanity (1190003) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690390)

Much like the old guys at the Whitehouse I think you've been watching too many Hollywood movies.

This [wikipedia.org] was not a Hollywood movie. I will agree that the scenarios where this could be abused far outnumber the number of scenarios where this bill would be useful. However, it is impossible to prove that there exists no scenario where this power would be necessary.

Even if there was some kind of "super virus" that was taking out routing on the internet, shutting the internet seems about as effective as killing the patient to save their leg.

An analogy to counter yours would be the treatment of heartworms in dogs. If you take appropriate preventative measures there shouldn't be a problem. However if you fail at that, the treatment for heartworms is a small dosage of arsenic.

I can think of many cases where the government could happily abuse it for political reasons - particularly if they had the power to shutdown political opposition in order to "protect the public from terrorism."

And here I agree with you. As I pointed out in the OP, Japan for many years (not sure if they're still doing it) used the nebulous term "emergency" to circumvent spending limits in their constitution. The goal of my post was to point out a way the bill could be crafted that would help ensure that it wasn't abused.

That said, I have little faith that the congresscritters wouldn't leave a loophole open for them to use this power politically. Hell, the bill itself is a political game by Liberman to tout how he's tough on terror. Even without loopholes, I doubt the government would have the integrity to follow its own laws. However, that does not mean that some central coordination of ISPs in the case of a real emergency couldn't help stop the threat.

Thomas link (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689552)

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:S.3480 [loc.gov] -- really though, there should be a law, or at least a "best practice" requiring that bill numbers be reported in print and links to Thomas be report in on-line journalism. They stupid article linked in the /. summary didn't even give the name of the bill. I had to find it searching for the 3 co-sponsors, plus the Senate committee name. And then, it was one of 11 results. This is why people are uninformed, even when they're not lazy.

Re:Thomas link (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689702)

There needs to be a colon ':' at the end of the link or it won't work... it got cut off by slashdot formatting.

Re:Good idea in theory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689566)

In the event of a highly-destructive fast-spreading virus, being able to shut off all connection at the ISP level would buy enough time for security researchers to find a way to negate the threat.

I read something here yesterday about worms that infect almost all computers in about 10 to 15 minutes... Does anybody really think that the problem could be identified that fast and that the government would be fast enough with disabling the internet?

And if it wouldn't work in such a situation, for what situation would it be good for?

Re:Good idea in theory... (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689626)

I've been thinking something similar. In the case of a fast, adaptive virus, it might be essentially impossible to clear out an infestation without being able to slice the Internet down into smaller chunks (e.g., isolate the US, or each state, or smaller). 120 days is far, far too long; 30 days then having to explain what's going on would be much more sensible to me...

Re:Good idea in theory... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689636)

But most likely it will be a "highly-destructive fast-spreading virus" that attacks Windows and you want to shut down the Internet for everybody?

well.... (1)

idji (984038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689770)

I'll be putting a satellite dish (hidden) in my garden, where Google maps can't see it, and subscribe to my Indian, Chinese, or Iranian internet provider.

Re:Good idea in theory... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689810)

There should be a last line of defense for important computer systems throughout the nation (military, government, essential services like water and electricity, emergency services). It's called an Air Gap.

Wait, we already have an Air Gap between essential systems and the internet? (Except NASA and the US army, according to Mr McKinnon). You mean... Joe Terr'rist can't fire up his Mac and shut down the entire power grid to the US from Iraq? Was Die Hard 4.0 a total brain fuck? [penny-arcade.com]

What about mobile data and satellite?

Re:Good idea in theory... (1)

cacba (1831766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690242)

This kill switch would kill nearly all communications (phones etc). This leads me to believe it will target specific types of communication.

Can anyone say encrypted P2P kill switch?

Time to get a hard copy! (2, Funny)

theJML (911853) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689348)

Yeap, this means it's time to get a hard copy of the entire internet so we can just keep surfing in offline mode.

Re:Time to get a hard copy! (2, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689484)

Would suck to work at archive.org during an emergency - wandering hordes of internet addict zombies would converge on the place from all over to get their fix.

Re:Time to get a hard copy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689498)

The first things on your list should be the sites of anti-war activists.

Re:Time to get a hard copy! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690222)

Yeap, this means it's time to get a hard copy of the entire internet so we can just keep surfing in offline mode.

Hard copy? That's a lot of paper!

ISPs (2, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689356)

Obviously the simplest way to implement such a 'feature' is to go after the ISPs, set some sort of a coordination framework among the ISPs, mandate that those ISPs set up a bunch of new hardware/software/whatever it takes to cut out subnets/IP addresses/entire cables from the rest of the Internet. This is not going to improve the democracy of the country of-course, but that's the point, remove the dissenting voices, and of-course the motives are as always 'pure' - there is a cyberwar going, didn't you know? USA was always in this cyberwar. Just like it was always in the drug war and what seems like a never ending war in Afghanistan.

As always a bunch of people stand to make a bunch of money from such endeavors, and in this case there is also the nice side-effect of making it easier for politicians to lie and to get away with the lies, why with all the power over the networks it would be very easy to declare a state of emergency.

And so what that the bill will limit the amount of time that the President would be able to shut portions of the Internet down? Once this bill passes, it would be easy to amend it or simply to use Presidential order/signature/whatever it takes to continue the portions of the Internet from ever being activated back again.

The cyberwar is like the war on drugs, like the war with terrorism, war on obesity, whatever never-ending war that the government likes to be in. It will never end and you cannot see it and cannot even prove that there is or there isn't a war and if you say anything otherwise you are a terrorist.

Just you wait until they combine the cybersecurity bill with some patriot act/anti-terrorism bill. Ever wondered how do politicians tolerate all of those dissenting opinions, all of those facts to come out through the Internet? Well, they've been thinking and it's a multi-step approach and it's being implemented right now. Soon enough anybody could go to Gitmo on some terrorism charge related to the cybersecurity charge and multiply that by the patriot act and add rendition to it and soon enough you'll be wondering, where is that guy, named Cenk Uygur, where did Rachel Maddow go and what the heck happened to that dude from comedy central, what was his name, Jon Stewart was it?

Maybe it's still a bit far-fetched, but they are moving in this direction.

I guess the actual way to fight it [slashdot.org] could be learned from those Russian operated bot-nets [slashdot.org] , once the information is outlawed, only the outlaws will have the information? That's what it's coming to and at the hands of people like Joe Lieberman, don't forget it, but just wait and see who ends up voting for it and how the White House stands on the issue.

Re:ISPs (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689854)

I've found the best way to cut off the internet is to unplug the cable. I'm pretty sure that the "Internet Kill Switch" will be a little red button activating a relay which quite simply turns off the fibre converters.

Mesh Network? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689368)

What ever happened to that wireless mesh network we were all supposed to be a part of by now? I think it is about time we all get back to participating. Hey Google, set up some fat wifi antennas and let us start connecting directly!!!

there isno situation where shuting down the intern (1, Interesting)

shallowthought (1695412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689386)

is neccessary it will never happen if this passses fuck this country im leaving first my health care then thi eventually they everyone will hit a breaking poin this is mine internet is the only honest no agenda press it instantnews and is the last thing keeping the government in any kind of check. if they can turn off there enemy it becomes 1984....where they control all outlets and just feed you lies call me paranoid but the reason orwell commentated on it is because its what governments do so ya fail us govt healthcare passes maybe the democrts will do this as they go down in flames.

Re:there isno situation where shuting down the int (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689524)

Your sort has always been just about to leave, and you always will be.

Out of interest, where do you imagine would have you?

Re:there isno situation where shuting down the int (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689826)

first my health care then thi

Well, no, actually. If you'd RTFA -- or even the summary -- you'd see that this bill reduces a power that the POTUS has had since the early 1940s.

So it was a long time ago this, then recently health care.

So calm down and take your meds; they may improve your ability to put together something resembling coherent written English.

Re:there isno situation where shuting down the int (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690142)

Woah. Take a breath. The Shift key is to the left and there's another one to the right. Punctuation improves communication.

Otherwise, I agree with the title. I can find no situation where shutting down interns is acceptable.

Lieberman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689440)

Senator Lieberman again, find out which lobbyist he is working for now and expose this guy for the corrupt shill he is.

http://www.prwatch.org/node/8781

Isn't this against the whole purpose of ARPANET? (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689466)

I thought that the whole point of the internet was that it would continue after a significant part was switched off or bombed away. So this will not stop any foreign groups from communicating and the USA is effectively plugging its fingers in its ears when this law is used.

120 days seems too long (2, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689492)

It seems to me that 120 days before needing approval from Congress is about 113 days too long. Maybe 118 days too long. Assuming the President had a valid reason to use this power, it's reasonable to think that Congress would approve similarly. The internet is pretty fricking important, and it's hard to imagine it going away for four months.

Also, of course, shutting down the major pipes won't make the internet disappear, it will just send it back to the Dark Ages of the early 1990s, when people manually connected their computers together and the routing software took care of the rest. Maybe IRC would see a comeback.

Re:120 days seems too long (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689880)

Regarding your signature, I bet you get a lot of flack for lacking the knack to crack the stack. You hack and you hack, alas and alack, yet without the knack you'll never crack that stack.

This was a Dr. Seuss poem, wasn't it?

Re:120 days seems too long (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690048)

The terror organizations that this law undoubtedly targets rely on a working, global Internet to function. Without it, they are dead in the water, whereas our government and military can continue with our own proprietary Intarwebs.

An 'emergency' could be something like.... (3, Interesting)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689510)

A new Disney flick leaked - if not stopped immediately that could cause irreparable hard to the entertainment economy.

Re:An 'emergency' could be something like.... (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689796)

This may sound ridiculous now, but is exactly the kind of unintended consequence of a law you can expect... Laws are always abused by stretching them to the limit of what the words can possibly mean... You should never judge a law by what the intentions are (hint: they are *always* 'good'), but by the unforeseen possible (mis-)uses later on.

Re:An 'emergency' could be something like.... (1)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690108)

Exactly, the quality of a law is not judged on how well it does what it was supposed to do, but how robust it is to abuse.

And as someone earlier said, 120 days is about 117-119 days too long (assuming the power is needed in the first place).

Yes we can't ! (2, Interesting)

kjshark (312401) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689528)

This is the change Obama promised us ? As usual, the American government does what it can do to preserve the status quo at the expense of the population at large. "You suckers get out of line and we'll stop (or spy on) your communications". I hope this works as well as it did in Iran when they tried to shut them down during a near revolution.

Opposition Party (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689654)

C'mon Republicans! It's time to act as an opposition party and stand up for conservative values like small government, de-regulation in the business sector, civil liberties (party of Lincoln, remember?) and... bwhahahahahahahahaha! Yeah, we're fucked.

Actual use (5, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689766)

Michelle: Are you coming to bed?

Barrak: I can't. This is important.

Michelle: What?

Barrak: Someone is wrong on the Internet.

Michelle: Oh, for the love of-- {pushes button}

It's time to build an undergound internet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689778)

Ok, enough censorship already. I'm just saying we need to start an underground project, that's all.. someting that the Man can't shutdown or censor.

Actually a good idea (1)

Lynal (976271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32689940)

Skynet's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness.

Bad timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32689998)

Shit, this is a bad time for something like this. Republicans have circle jerks at the thought of extending presidential power and the Democrats are currently in power so at least some of them will be short-sighted enough to vote for this shit.

Nazi Germany again (1)

volksgrenadier (1828060) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690124)

They always say they love freedom and liberties. "Freedom is what makes America great so we try to liberate countries under tyranny" hahahaha yeah sure, stop killing our freedoms then!. America is starting to look more and more like nazi Germany. History repeats itself.

Just think of the side effects.... (1)

JATMON (995758) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690132)

How much of the voice network goes across the internet now?
How many companies most if not all their business on the internet?
How much do the airlines depend on the internet? The ticketing counters have terminals that access some database housed in some data center. If you are traveling you could be stuck where ever you are at. Hell, how is all the flight information shared between the airports? I doubt that the FAA has a separate isolated network.
How much of the trading on the stock markets are done on the internet?
Go to the store and try to buy something with a credit or debit card. Your cards are verified across the internet.
Go to the bank and try to get your money out. Does the local branch of your bank have your account information? Or is that information stored in some data center that is accessed via the internet?

I could go on and on with examples. It is amazing how within the past 10 years the internet has become such an integral part of our daily lives. Just the other day, I tried to explain to my daughter that when I was growing up, most people had not even heard of the internet and you were lucking if your school had a computer. She just could not understand how we did things with out computers and access to the internet.

I would be interested in hearing from an economist on what the economic impact(both US & Global) would be if the internet was shut down for a day, a week, a month, etc.

War? (1)

Archades54 (925582) | more than 4 years ago | (#32690370)

Let's say this was used, wouldn't it cause such an economic loss that pretty much every country would consider the US a terrorist state and guarantee a war against the US? Unless of course it simply isolates the US and leaves everyone else all happy...

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