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Senate Trying To Slip Internet Kill Switch Past Us

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the your-govt-at-work dept.

Government 461

sanermind writes "Sensing Senators don't have the stomach to try and pass a stand-alone bill in broad daylight that would give the President the power to shut down the Internet in a national emergency, the Senate is considering attaching the Internet Kill Switch bill as a rider to other legislation that would have bi-partisan support."

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Governmental Fail (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 4 years ago | (#33439476)

CNN a few years ago ran a special were they told the story of a possible an IT attack and had former government officials try to figure out how to save the day.

The story was that people had downloaded a March Madness smartphone app that delivered scores and such in March, but now its April and it's sending out large amounts data, and making useless calls, that's overwhelming the cellular networks and running up people's bills. Round two was that this unknown data was actually waking up a bot net, and now the Internet's overloaded. Round 3... an explosion at a power station has downed power on the East Coast. However, nobody knows where the problem is to fix it, because their smartphones are dead and so is the Internet and phone systems.

The governmental instinctive reaction is to shut it all down... but you don't need to shut down the Internet, this could have been solved in round one by asking Apple, Google, even Cydia and the other responsible app stores to kill the app. What is needed is a granular control (that the app stores already have) to say when an app is causing trouble, we'll pull it off the smartphones that have it. If there's a server running a botnet, kill it, not the entire Internet.

The panel lost the game, and was punished with a postgame interview by Wolf Blitzer.

Re:Governmental Fail (2, Funny)

IICV (652597) | about 4 years ago | (#33439616)

What! This cannot be! Surely the country's most handsome politicians wouldn't fail so thoroughly at a test of practical skill?

Re:Governmental Fail (2, Funny)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33439670)

What! This cannot be! Surely the country's most handsome politicians wouldn't fail so thoroughly at a test of practical skill?

Why not? They fail so thoroughly at everything else! :p

Re:Governmental Fail (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33439630)

Round 1.

Don't design fucking critical infrastructure to communicate with the internet. Life support, power plants, hospitals, water treatment plants can use very secure computers and use local networking. BUT DON'T PUT THEM ON THE FUCKING INTERNET.

Round 2.

Don't consolidate the internet into a monopoly or duopoly. Yeah, some major thing might kill AT&T, but T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint should still be active. Its a lot harder to "destroy" the internet when everything is spread out.

Round 3.

Take steps to protect yourself from DoS attacks.

Re:Governmental Fail (1)

LostCluster (625375) | about 4 years ago | (#33439668)

The Internet is the cheapest available method to move bits from one place to another. Is there a another network that does the job well enough to be considered a competitor?

Re:Governmental Fail (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33439774)

Um, yes its called sneakernet and it can be 100% confidential. It has insanely high bandwidth, but a bit of latency issues.

If you want to update programs in your power plant, do it with physical media or take in a laptop and sync it that way.

Re:Governmental Fail (3, Funny)

lowrydr310 (830514) | about 4 years ago | (#33439952)

There's also IPoAC [wikipedia.org] , IP over Avian Carriers.

IPoAC has been successfully implemented, but for only nine packets of data, with a packet loss ratio of 55% (due to user error[1]), and a response time ranging from 3000 seconds(~54 minutes) to over 6000 seconds(~1.77 hours). Thus, this technology suffers from poor latency. Nevertheless, for large transfers avian carriers are capable of high average throughput when carrying flash memory devices.

Bird is the word!

Re:Governmental Fail (1)

NevarMore (248971) | about 4 years ago | (#33440198)

If you want to update programs in your power plant, do it with physical media or take in a laptop and sync it that way.

What if the laptop was compromised? It then infects a critical system and you lose CPU cycles while it thrashes around trying to get out and time to cleanup the damage. Worst case is targeted espionage where there is a virus waiting to jump the air gap.

Re:Governmental Fail (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 4 years ago | (#33439930)

A seperate network.

Is it really that hard to seperate 2 networks ?

If you are in charge of powerplats, maybe some dedicated fiber in the ground, if communication is that important for you, wouldn't be a luxery.

Re:Governmental Fail (1)

sco08y (615665) | about 4 years ago | (#33440142)

The Internet is the cheapest available method to move bits from one place to another. Is there a another network that does the job well enough to be considered a competitor?

SIPRNET, JWICS, etc.

Re:Governmental Fail (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#33440232)

Internet-based networking technology is the cheapest available method to move bits from one place to another. That doesn't mean that networking system needs to be on "the" internet.

Lots of companies, the military, etc has private networking that isn't part of the internet. You just run some T1 lines around, which you'd have to do anyway to get on the internet, and make some basic configuration changes. Everything behaves the same as before, just with a separate network.

Re:Governmental Fail (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33439748)

Take steps to protect yourself from DoS attacks.

What about Dispensing of Stupidity attacks?

Skip the rest and go to round 3. (1)

khasim (1285) | about 4 years ago | (#33439660)

Seriously, if you can take out the power for the entire East coast ... why not just do it? Why worry about the Internet?

Re:Skip the rest and go to round 3. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | about 4 years ago | (#33439700)

Basically, the way to solve a power outage is to send people out looking for the problem, then swarming around the problem to fix it. It's a rather simple process when cell phones are up... but what do they do when there's not only no power, but no cell phone network too?

Re:Skip the rest and go to round 3. (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33439778)

Twitter, of course!

Re:Skip the rest and go to round 3. (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#33439852)

The cell phone towers all have gensets. Even the ones with the antennas mounted on the roof of an apartment building. They'll either mount it on the roof, or as part of the leasing for the roof space, also lease a small apartment, completely soundproof it, and leave it very anonymous. Found this out while on jury duty listening to the cell company's expert witness explain the set-up of each antenna as they were able to track several user's locations while they were driving around.

Re:Skip the rest and go to round 3. (1)

apparently (756613) | about 4 years ago | (#33440118)

Basically, the way to solve a power outage is to send people out looking for the problem, then swarming around the problem to fix it. It's a rather simple process when cell phones are up... but what do they do when there's not only no power, but no cell phone network too?

Probably whatever we did before we had cellphones? Insane, I know.

There's a better solution ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#33439878)

If they want to "tie up" the internet without actually shutting it down, just set up a bunch of servers, and when it's time to swing into action, release all that gubbiment pr0n that the employees have been collecting on your dime.

Nothing clogs up the inner00bs like free porn.

Re:Governmental Fail (4, Insightful)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about 4 years ago | (#33439894)

LostCluster, you have false assumption in your argument. You start with the assumption that the ability "Internet Kill Switch" is being called for based on the reason they stated. We all know that the reason stated by the government has little to do with the real reason.

Re:Governmental Fail (1)

space_hippy (625619) | about 4 years ago | (#33440074)

God forbid the government goes to a neutral third party, say a judge, clearly and consciously documenting their reasoning to shut down a service provided by a private company.

I wish my countries government would go back to getting warrants.

Isn't the Kill Switch the actual threat? (1)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | about 4 years ago | (#33440146)

I don't see how terrorist or whatever else could pose a bigger threat to the Internet than getting it all shut down.

Re:Governmental Fail (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 4 years ago | (#33440234)

and was punished with a postgame interview by Wolf Blitzer.

See, this is what happens when you start ignoring the Geneva Convention.

Re:Governmental Fail (1)

cdrguru (88047) | about 4 years ago | (#33440248)

Nice idea, but it only works for those "smartphones" that operate on the Apple model with a tightly controlled, centralized application installation process.

Blackberry and Palm have no such thing - the user can put whatever they want on the phone and nobody can take it away from them.

I suspect most Android implementations allow some sort of distributed application install as well. Then we have all the phones that are carrier-tied for new applications. If you got in with Verizon then every Java-enabled phone could have your application on it. And once installed there isn't a carrier method for removing it - they can stop further distribution, but can't do anything with the phones that have it.

This is why (2, Insightful)

KillaGouge (973562) | about 4 years ago | (#33439524)

This is why we need to switch to a one thing per bill way of doing things. So many things are added to bills to try and hide stuff. Why does the government need to hide information from it's citizens. We need to get everybody in Washington out, and start fresh, but lets do it right, and not use "second ammendment rights" like the crazy tea-party wants.

Re:This is why (1)

Montezumaa (1674080) | about 4 years ago | (#33439578)

Yeah, it is so fucking crazy to expect our government to respect our Constitutional Rights. You are bitching about politicians doing bad things, and in the same breathe you start bitching about how standing up for your rights is a crazy thing to do. You either respect all rights, or you respect none.

Re:This is why (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#33439634)

I think he's saying we shouldn't "use" the second amendment to kill every member of congress, not that we should overturn it.

Re:This is why (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 4 years ago | (#33439750)

But if we don't, they'll just become the newest generation of lobbyists.

Re:This is why (4, Funny)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33439834)

More support for Capitol Punishment! Punish everyone in the capitol!

Re:This is why (2, Insightful)

KillaGouge (973562) | about 4 years ago | (#33440064)

That is what I was saying. We shouldn't have to resort to violence to change our government like our forefathers had too. We need to educate voters and seek to get the language of all proposed bills to be simpler, as well as posting in full the contents of bills at least 2 weeks before they are set to be voted on, so people can tell their reps how they want them to vote.

Re:This is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33440176)

Unfortunately, with simplicity you lose specificity and gain much wiggle-room, as you've now left linguistic gaps wide open for interpretation. I don't like it any more than you do, but legalese an evil necessity.

Re:This is why (2, Informative)

Monchanger (637670) | about 4 years ago | (#33440006)

We need to get everybody in Washington out, and start fresh, but lets do it right, and not use "second ammendment rights" like the crazy tea-party wants.

you start bitching about how standing up for your rights is a crazy thing to do.

Murdering politicians isn't equivalent to a right to have weapons. That's just one more reason why the tea party is viewed so poorly by sane people.

Can't stop the signal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33439550)

Government filters will never come between me and my first post! Only the two people before me will!

Re:Can't stop the signal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33439874)

Imposter! I am the REAL anonymous coward and I get first post all the time! Stop hacking my tubes! Shut it down!

Re:Can't stop the signal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33440128)

You frauds! I'm the real Steve Jobs!

Wait, I mean I'm the real Anonymous Coward.

Kids, GET OFF MY iNTERNET!

The internet is the only thread... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33439552)

The internet is the only thread uniting mankind to the point where a conventional war won't happen easily. Of course, this isn't going to stop nukes or wars in third world countries, but the internet allows people of the country that "we're" bombing to communicate back to us so people push pressure on the government.

Imagine if Iraq or Afghanistan had common internet access, something tells me we wouldn't invade because public opinion would be very much against it. The internet lets you break down all the previous things that held countries in conflict, language, culture, and reporting hindrances no longer exist to countries with internet access.

Re:The internet is the only thread... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 4 years ago | (#33439602)

Imagine if Iraq or Afghanistan had common internet access

How about Iran?

The problem is, the current governments don't WANT common internet access for the common people... because then we'd probably be hearing about a variety of inhumane treatment and human rights issues that those countries don't want us to know about.

Re:The internet is the only thread... (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33439722)

...Iran has at least somewhat of internet access for its people, and hence we haven't invaded them. Yeah, we've been exchanging harsh words but thats it. We aren't going to invade Iran like we invaded Iraq. Yeah, their nuclear reactor might "mysteriously" stop working, but that will be the end of it.

Most people support the Iranian people because they have internet, remember the election protests last year that pretty much the entire internet stood up in support of the Iranian people?

We aren't invading Iran for particularly that reason, it would be a PR nightmare. Yes, I know, some people want to nuke Iran, China, India, and I'm sure if you gave them the change they'd nuke Canada, Mexico and most of Europe.

Re:The internet is the only thread... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 4 years ago | (#33439824)

I agree it'd be a PR nightmare, but isn't Iranian internet access pretty severely censored? As well as any government protests, etc?

Re:The internet is the only thread... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33439942)

Its censored, yes, but Iranian people are rather highly educated while the Iranian government isn't, which makes it possible to break through the censors. Granted, doing so basically puts a mark on your head, but it has been done.

Plus, the moment US tanks start driving across the Iranian border, you can bet that Iran will start letting bloggers show how inhumane the US occupation is (all the while censoring the many Iranian human rights abuses)

Re:The internet is the only thread... (1)

BabyDuckHat (1503839) | about 4 years ago | (#33439994)

This is very insightful. An important part of getting public support for a war is convincing people that the "enemy" is very different from them, somehow less than human, and maybe even evil. When most citizens see that the people being killed really are people too with the same hopes, dreams, and ambitions as them with all the same things to lose, they don't see it as war anymore, they see it as murder.

Re:The internet is the only thread... (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 4 years ago | (#33440034)

but the internet allows people of the country that "we're" bombing to communicate back to us so people push pressure on the government.

Or, it allows the people "we're" bombing to craft a careful astroturf campaign designed to appeal to the prejudices of some portion of 'our' fellow citizens so that they then rage on Twitter, Facebook, Slashdot, etc... etc... The effects on the government are questionable at best because that 'some portion' of 'our fellow citizens' are deluded as to the actual effectiveness of said 'rage' and notably incompetent at questioning the validity and value of information that matches their prejudices.
 

Imagine if Iraq or Afghanistan had common internet access, something tells me we wouldn't invade because public opinion would be very much against it.

Which is a consequence of our current system of government by soundbite and opinion poll, not a consequence of the existence of the 'net.

Re:The internet is the only thread... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33440050)

Iraq had widespread Internet access before the invasion, you ignorant twat. Global public opinion was absolutely against it, even public opinion the United States was evenly divided after a year-long scare campaign. Fat lot of good that did.

Re:The internet is the only thread... (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 4 years ago | (#33440166)

Imagine if Iraq or Afghanistan had common internet access

And then imagine yet another series of unfortunate accidents involving undersea cables [bbc.co.uk] .

Alexander the Great's solution to unsolvable problems is just as effective today as it was in Gordium two thousand years ago.

Ten to one that the summary is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33439568)

inexact, overrated, and exploiting people's fears as much as the alleged senate bill would be.

Who cares? (4, Interesting)

StikyPad (445176) | about 4 years ago | (#33439584)

This is basically covered under martial law anyway, which would presumably be imposed in the event of an attack. The government already has the power to do anything it wants in such an event, so specifically enumerating an "internet kill switch" is basically moot.

Re:Who cares? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33439972)

I care because they want to mandate technical support to make this easy. My problem with it is actually a security one - this will be another complication with a lot of leverage, and it could easily be a weak point - making much easier the kind of problem they are trying to avoid. To whit: it's stupid.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Monchanger (637670) | about 4 years ago | (#33440110)

Well put. But I believe the process isn't about enumeration. It's about establishing capacity, that is, building the "switch" which the president's could flip.

Re:Who cares? (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 4 years ago | (#33440150)

Yes, the leaders have the power, because they have the biggest guns. The government does not have the authority. If the leaders declare martial law, they have taken over the government to attack the people. If we give the government the authority, it can be done legitimately.

If the leaders want to attack the people, we should keep it perfectly clear that the leaders have overthrown the government and it is civil war, not government policing.

Why now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33439592)

How much of this is related to how wikileaks is making governments around the world look bad. At this rate they'd be shutting down the Internet at least once a week.

Re:Why now? (3, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#33439692)

They can always say the internet is wanted for Sweden for rape.

Re:Why now? (1)

Monchanger (637670) | about 4 years ago | (#33440268)

It's related only in being yet another conspiracy theory used by crazies who see plots against their liberties in every act of government.

It's a very stupid idea proposed by people who don't understand technology. But it's not meant to censor one webserver which can be moved to an unblocked ISP, nor would they shut down the entire network so "forbidden knowledge" couldn't be transferred peer-to-peer (I bet you can get the WikiLeaks content on every major P2P network). Shut down YouTube or ESPN for more than a day and people will be quick to kill the kill switch.

planning ahead (1)

Jave1in (1071792) | about 4 years ago | (#33439626)

Clearly this bill is meant to stop Skynet.

Truly sad... (5, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | about 4 years ago | (#33439676)

... that the nation that provided the infrastructure for the twitter based reports during the Iran uprisings now wants to make absolutely sure that sort of news can't get out, should things go truly bad here.

Wheres the threat to the american people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33439678)

What exactly is this "killswitch" designed to be able to protect us as citizens from? Attackers coming through my internet pipe?
It seems like it would be prudent to not have any critical public infrastructure to be reliant on the internet in the first place. It is by nature a global entity.
Seems more like a political weapon...

Embarrassing documents leaked?

This seems like a classic reactionary response to the wikileaks incident... they get mad that they cant stop it, so they bring back the killswitch idea.

Re:Wheres the threat to the american people? (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 4 years ago | (#33440038)

No, ideas (possibly drafts) already existed before the wikileaks documents.

Wait a second... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 4 years ago | (#33439710)

"the Senate is considering attaching the Internet Kill Switch bill as a rider to other legislation that would have bi-partisan support"

Bipartisan support? What's that?

Re:Wait a second... (1)

BabyDuckHat (1503839) | about 4 years ago | (#33440042)

Bipartisan support? What's that?

Bipartisan support is what happens when both parties feel that the particular bill being voted on should pass because it would be politically advantageous to themselves and financially advantageous to the corporations that fund their campaigns.

Re:Wait a second... (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | about 4 years ago | (#33440058)

Typically, it either means a non-binding resolution on something uncontroversial, such as "the senate condemns murder"... or something which is no good for anyone, like the Patriot Act, or this "kill switch" crap.

Re:Wait a second... (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | about 4 years ago | (#33440216)

the kind of support they get when they are giving themselves a raise.

Re:Wait a second... (1)

NevarMore (248971) | about 4 years ago | (#33440222)

It means you're about to get screwed by two things at the same time.

A poison pill? (4, Informative)

RobinEggs (1453925) | about 4 years ago | (#33439726)

attaching the Internet Kill Switch bill as a rider

It's also possible that certain Senators are pretending to like this provision because they know its inclusion could kill the entire bill, a bill they despise secretly but cannot dislike openly. It's called a poison pill in parliamentary terms; an addition which, by design, makes a bill less attractive to its original supporters and may not be favored even of the person submitting it.

Re:A poison pill? (5, Insightful)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | about 4 years ago | (#33440114)

I never understood why in the hell this is possible in the first place. What good can possibly come from being able to attach rider legislation to a completely and utterly unrelated bill? This kind of thing happens all the time, and mostly after all the politicians have read the bill and voted on it. This is just such a broken process, it's unbelievable.

Whats the freakin point meatman (2, Interesting)

deathtopaulw (1032050) | about 4 years ago | (#33439730)

The internet is the only thing that will keep communications up and SAVE us in the event of a national emergency. When the fuck would we EVER need to shut it down?

Re:Whats the freakin point meatman (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33439826)

When it's time to violate Posse Comitatus [wikipedia.org]

The IT Crowd (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about 4 years ago | (#33439732)

Reminds me of the BBC TV show "The IT Crowd"....

"Here Mr. President, this is the Internet!" snickers

Hands President a suspiciously shoebox sized box with a flashing light on the top and a big red button.

"Just don't press the button, unless you have dire need, as this will shutdown the Internet!" more repressed snickers...

Re:The IT Crowd (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 4 years ago | (#33439932)

Hmm, there was another episode where they said that the internet was kept in Big Ben and guarded by the "Internet Elders"

Not possible (1)

srussia (884021) | about 4 years ago | (#33439736)

I'm organizing a network of individuals with backbone access who will provid.... $&/%/())==(/&/8(NO CARRIER)

But wait! (1)

Grand Facade (35180) | about 4 years ago | (#33439740)

My 911 service runs over the internet

I am ok with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33439756)

We take a staples easy button change it to say "kill internet."

Riders (5, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 years ago | (#33439782)

Can somebody from the USA please explain why riders are legal?
It's such an obviously malevolent concept that it surprises me every time. It serves no other purpose than to sneak in bills (regardless of whether you consider them good or evil) which would have no chance on their own. Well, I guess it can also be used to torpedo bills which would have made it through otherwise. It just completely undermines the democratic process.
Most civilized countries would (and already have) prohibited riders by law after it happened a few times, but it seems in the USA it happens all the time.

Re:Riders (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33439888)

Because the politicians in the US don't give a fuck about ethics, legality, etc. and most people don't either. Our constitution has been shitted on just about every election year with people actually promising in their election ads to tear down pillars of human rights when it comes to "undesirable" people ("terrorists", illegal aliens, "sex" offenders, etc)

But here in the US we have a 2 party system with no real differences between them other than on a few "hot" meaningless issues. For example, should the words "Under God" be on our currency? Despite the fact we have no real debate on actually reforming our currency to be backed by anything. Debates on whether abortion should be legal all the while few debates on privacy issues, etc.

Until we either have an awakening of the masses, or an electoral system like proportional voting, it will remain this way.

Dns root servers not easily shut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33439786)

Many of them in the EU, so this will be hard to enforce. Or they may just try to bully backbone tier1 operators to implement this switch.

USA: Is not YOUR internet (1)

Tei (520358) | about 4 years ago | (#33439802)

Internet is worldwide now, is a network of networks, is not your thing to have a killswitch. A killswich for internet is like mining all buildings on all countrys in the world "just in case", In case what? In case a real terrorist get his hands on the killswitch? is moronic.

Re:USA: Is not YOUR internet (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 4 years ago | (#33440000)

A lot of traffic DOES go through it however, and could prove to be extremely problematic to go around for the rest of the world. If my ability to reach certain websites from Canada goes down just because a single line somewhere in Boston went out, imagine what the entire COUNTRY getting shut down would do at that point.

The Communications Act of 1934... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33439814)

points and laughs. [fcc.gov] (Sec. 706)

The only buttons in the Oval Office order soda. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | about 4 years ago | (#33439838)

Did we learn nothing from Ken Basin's $475,000 mistake on Millionaire? LBJ installed four buttons to order soft drinks in his desk. (And despite using the same desk, Bush wasn't sure what they were for.)

Don't stress out (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 4 years ago | (#33439858)

The President would have to declare a state of national emergency.

Get serious. How often does that happen?

Re:Don't stress out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33439956)

As opposed to the situation prior to Bush's re-election, when the alert state was bouncing around like inside a freakin' pinball machine?

Don't forget (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 4 years ago | (#33439996)

just about every administration since Grover Cleveland. A while ago I looked up how many states of emergency were currently active and ISTR some had been ongoing since before the Korean War.

Re:Don't stress out (1)

treeves (963993) | about 4 years ago | (#33440124)

Lacking tags, I can only assume *you* were serious, and say "it only has to happen once".

Re:Don't stress out (1)

treeves (963993) | about 4 years ago | (#33440208)

Oops... forgot to post with HTML to text option, so I lost the <sarcasm>.

Rider bills (3, Insightful)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | about 4 years ago | (#33439868)

The ability to attach unrelated rider bills to other bills is nonsense and should not be allowed.

I would vote for anyone who would fight to end that nonsense. Unfortunately, I have no voice as I am a legal alien in America and therefore cannot vote. It seems that politicians only want to listen to voters: US citizens and undocumented aliens, apparently.

I was thinking of having protest signs printed with the words "No taxation without representation" at the last election but I doubt if anyone would get the reference.

Re:Rider bills (1)

cdrguru (88047) | about 4 years ago | (#33440068)

Who says you can't vote? In the US if you have a driver's license every state is required by law to register you to vote upon presentation of your driver's license. Period. No exceptions.

Now are you legally entitled to vote? No. But as you apparently have figured out, there is a reason for letting in as many undocumented workers as possible in the next couple of years. It will be a group that will vote for whomever will give them the most and, for them, there are no other considerations.

Re:Rider bills (2, Informative)

istartedi (132515) | about 4 years ago | (#33440086)

Unfortunately, I have no voice as I am a legal alien in America and therefore cannot vote

Unfortunately, I have no voice as I am merely a citizen by birth in America and therefore cannot make corporate-sized campaign contributions.

Welcome to my world.

Re:Rider bills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33440246)

And how exactly does one determine if a rider bill is related or not? What you're proposing would result in a back and forth of "this rider is unrelated!" "no it's not!" "yes it is!"

Lieberman said.. what? (5, Insightful)

jmerlin (1010641) | about 4 years ago | (#33439870)

"... this is a matter of national security. A cyber attack on America can do as much or more damage today by incapacitating our banks, our communications, our finance, our transportation as a conventional war attack and the president in catastrophic cases, he's not going to do it every day, not going to take it over, so I say to my friends in the internet relax, take a look at the bill, and this is something we need to protect our country. Right now China — the government — can disconnect parts of its Internet in a case of war. We need to have the ability to do that, too."

Wh.. w.... wha... what!? Are you fucking kidding me? NO. "Cyber war" is wholly driven by bullshit and FUD in news agencies, these people have NO IDEA what they're talking about when they talk about cyber security. Further, in that CNN interview, check this out:

1. Most of these systems are HIGHLY ISOLATED and secured already by way of private networks, firewalls, DMZs, etc. In this way, an attack as described would be incredibly difficult if not impossible. We have no evidence to show that this is even a slight concern. None.
2. An internet attack can be fixed. It doesn't DESTROY equipment, it doesn't level a building, it doesn't kill people, and IT people CAN SHUT OFF EXTERNAL ACCESS TO A SYSTEM if it's being targeted by an attack. I trust the judgement of these professional IT persons that know their own systems intimately far above that of our technilogically incompetent and ignorant president.
3. I've looked at the bill -- nothing in it is even remotely "good." We're good in the IT world. You might not understand that our IT departments are like little units of a larger army. If we get attacked, we can defend ourselves. We don't need you shutting down essential access to patches, communication, support lines, just because you think something might be happening.
4. In China this capability is reserved to kill the movement of information to restrict communication and the spread of anti-government "propaganda" via the internet. I argue that shutting off our networks for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER is a very blatant violation of constitutional rights. Power like this can only be abused, and as I've pointed out, there is NO well-intentioned or well-informed use case where this wouldn't be much more damaging than an actual cyber attack.

This sounds like the squaking of a moron with no clue on national TV. He speaks of how damaging shutting down these systems would be.. and that a cyber attack could easily do that (it can't, not easily), but then proposes we give the president the ability to shut them down forcefully here? Really? Killing our networks to stop our networks from being attacked. Do you not see how downtime is downtime no matter what causes it? At least with our current setups, we can mitigate an attack, if the ISP is forced to SHUT OFF the network, we can't, we're fucked, we're down and we just have to go home and hope the all powerful almighty president decides in his infinite wisdom that it's OK to turn it back on later.

It's simple. This level of micro-management is best left to the ISPs and the companies. Stay the fuck out.

Re:Lieberman said.. what? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33440130)

We have a "constitutional right" to the Internet just like we have a "constitutional right" to affordable Health Care. Stick that in your libertarian pipe and smoke it...

Site Down (1)

spikesahead (111032) | about 4 years ago | (#33439876)

Looks like they've already used it against the article host! That's government efficiency!

Re:Site Down (1)

Lovedumplingx (245300) | about 4 years ago | (#33439912)

Possibly...anyone know of a mirror? I'd actually like to RTFA for once.

I'm all for this.... (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | about 4 years ago | (#33439884)

...provided that the national emergency in question is that the machines have become self-aware and have decided to kill all humans. Under those conditions, a kill switch would be very, very useful.

On the other hand, if the "national emergency" is defined by the same people who define "breaking news" on 24-hour cable newsertainment networks, then this could be a problem.

the HAM radio internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33439920)

Even if the government has an internet kill switch I can still use my HAM radio to talk to my friends and even email each other using HAM radios.

This sort of power is necessary (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 4 years ago | (#33439922)

It might be the only thing that can stop a DDOS attack!

Welcome, Comrades! (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 4 years ago | (#33439938)

Welcome, Comrades!
Welcome to the Glorious Union of Soviet Corporatist Republics!

Obligatory Simpsons Quote (2, Insightful)

wbav (223901) | about 4 years ago | (#33440014)

"I've said it before and I'll say it again: Democracy simply doesn't work"
-Kent Brockman [wikia.com]

Don't be so sure about it being a bipartisan bill (1, Troll)

ravenspear (756059) | about 4 years ago | (#33440054)

Senator McCain has indicated that he will do anything he can to block and obstruct the Defense Authorization bill with other republicans since it also contains the repeal of DADT and they just can't stand to see gay people being treated equally.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuWrMaLFdao [youtube.com]

How? (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 4 years ago | (#33440154)

Given the internet in the US isn't exactly centralized how would you shut it down? Build a remote kill command into all routers? Sounds like something a hacker would love to find. You could start pulling backbone routers but that won't work if you route around... sure you've caused me to take the long way to Google but I'll just be irritated by 50ms vs 200ms latency. Anything that could be implemented to do so ether won't work or would expose everyone to some unauthorized person pulling the plug just for fun.

November's Coming (4, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | about 4 years ago | (#33440194)

The November Congressional Elections are just around the corner. If you are tired of the collective douchebaggery and antics of our elected politicians, then campaign, vigorously, in your local community to vote for anyone other than interest-sponsored Democrats and Republicans. Every time politics come up for discussion around my community, I flame both parties equally. Until we convince the rest of the voter base the both party's candidates are corrupt, pandering, unhelpful morons, these kinds of disingenuous shenanigans will continue to run our country.

We, the citizens of the United States, can't take back control of our government until we collectively declare, in a very clear manner, "Enough is enough!"

"shut down the Internet in a national emergency"?? (1)

jc42 (318812) | about 4 years ago | (#33440206)

Isn't a "national emergency" when we (including the government) will need the Internet the most? Intentionally shutting it down will cripple the organizations (government and otherwise) who are trying to handle the emergency.

We had an example of this back during the Katrina and Haiti disasters, when trucks full of electronics were used to provide wireless phone and internet access to the affected areas.

There was a funnier example back during Gulf Way I, when the military still had the "feature" in the GPS system that would introduce errors into the satellites' data, so that civilian GPS gadgets wouldn't know where they were. But they couldn't use it. The reason was that the US military wasn't able to get their hands on GPS equipment they needed, so the soldiers in the field had been buying civilian-grade equipment. Ordering military GPS equipment, as usual, required mounds of paperwork started months ahead of time, while they could get civilian equipment by walking into electronics stores anywhere in the world. For this and other reasons, they eventually abandoned the induced-error idea, and admitted that the military would need the "civilian" part during at times.

There was an earlier precedent of this in the us, back in the 1950s, when the first Interstate Highways were funded. If you dig up the original papers, you'll find that this was a purely military project, so that defense forces could easily move around during a "national emergency". Civilian traffic wasn't to be allowed. Of course, this struck everyone as a silly waste of good highways, and within a very few years, the new super-highways were opened to civilian traffic. This was so successful that we got funding for a lot more than the handful of highways originally envisioned, and the system has grown into our major high-speed highway system. But the law still says that the military can order all traffic off the highways during a "national emergency". This has actually been used occasionally, during major disasters, when area Interstate highways have been closed to civilian traffic, and restricted to military, emergency and highway maintenance vehicles, etc.

A more sensible approach would be to add it into the "Net Neutrality" issue, by decreeing priority to military and other emergency IP addresses during emergencies. But shutting the Internet down is as stupid as shutting down the cell-phone or interstate-highway systems would be. Anyone supporting this idea should be accused of trying to make disasters worse by blocking facilities needed by emergency personnel.

And a special-purpose "emergency use only" comm system is a stupid idea, because it would just fail when it's most needed. What makes the most sense is priority access to the civilian system that has been developed and tested for decades, and can handle the load of an emergency by moving in a few trucks or boats stuffed with electronics.

"Ted Stevens Memorial Rider" (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 years ago | (#33440254)

The official title of the rider is the "Ted Stevens Memorial Rider".

It allows the President to unplug the Internet any time 4chan and friends starts making fun of a federal elected official.

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