Cybersecurity Bill To Give President More Power Over The Internet

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 01-03-2010

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While our government constantly preaches to the Chinese government about freedom of the internet, they are quietly attempting to get control of it themselves.

The president would have the power to safeguard essential federal and private Web resources under draft Senate cybersecurity legislation.

Federal is fine, but what gives the president power over “private Web resources”? This is how they sneak in the ability to take over the internet as a whole. Essential federal and private Web resources pretty much covers everything.

According to an aide familiar with the proposal, the bill includes a mandate for federal agencies to prepare emergency response plans in the event of a massive, nationwide cyberattack.

The president would then have the ability to initiate those network contingency plans to ensure key federal or private services did not go offline during a cyberattack of unprecedented scope, the aide said.

Does anyone have confidence that the government can even pull this off?

Their renewed focus arrives on the heels of two, high-profile cyberattacks last month: A strike on Google, believed to have originated in China, and a separate, more disjointed attack that affected thousands of businesses worldwide.

Rockefeller and Snowe’s forthcoming bill would establish a host of heretofore absent cybersecurity prevention and response measures, an aide close to the process said. The bill will “significantly [raise] the profile of cybersecurity within the federal government,” while incentivizing private companies to do the same, according to the aide.

Oh boy, any time you read “incentivizing” you can pretty much get ready to be robbed. Businesses already have incentives to guard against cyber attacks. Unlike government they are accountable to the bottom line. If the chance of an attack would cost them more than the cost of safe-guarding against an attack, they will take the actions needed. They don’t need government to stick a gun to their head forcing them to do it.

Additionally, it will “promote public awareness” of Internet security issues, while outlining key protections of Americans’ civil liberties on the Web, the aide continued.

Good luck on the civil liberties. The last thing the government cares about is civil liberties.

Privacy groups are nonetheless likely to take some umbrage at Rockefeller and Snowe’s latest effort, an early draft of which leaked late last year.

When early reports predicted the cybersecurity measure would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency,” online privacy groups said they felt that would endow the White House with overly ambiguous and far-reaching powers to regulate the Internet.

It is unclear when Rockefeller and Snowe will finish their legislation. And the ongoing debate over healthcare reform, financial regulatory reform, jobs bills and education fixes could postpone action on the floor for many months.

I’d say let’s hope it never reaches the floor, but considering the other bills before it, I’m not sure it would be much worse.

Both lawmakers heavily emphasized the need for such a bill during a Senate Commerce Committee cybersecurity hearing on Wednesday.

“Too much is at stake for us to pretend that today’s outdated cybersecurity policies are up to the task of protecting our nation and economic infrastructure,” Rockefeller said. “We have to do better and that means it will take a level of coordination and sophistication to outmatch our adversaries and minimize this enormous threat.”

via Cybersecurity bill to give president new emergency powers – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley.

The only cybersecurity policies that might be outdated are the ones guarding federal computers. That is just more proof of the idiocy of government. Private enterprises on the other hand are not outdated and the highly sensitive businesses take it upon themselves to hire the experts needed and purchase the systems needed to properly security their networks.

As far as government goes, if this truly is just to secure the federal computers under a cyberattack, why do we even need legislation? Shouldn’t the government already be taking action on their own networks through current budgets? I’m sure we don’t require separate legislation to secure our military arsenals. That security is already part of the military arsenal budget itself. Also, wouldn’t the President already have power to declare an emergency over the federal networks?

It would appear that the President and the government already have all the power that they need…well unless they want the power to take control of the entire internet. Let’s not sugar coat this as The Hill and the Senators trying to pass this bill are. The government is pushing legislation for one thing only. They are pushing it to get control over “private Web resources”, the very resources that are already secured by private businesses themselves.

The government cannot be trusted with a power like this. They want to “secure” the internet to make sure if there is ever a challenge to their power from the people, they could cut off communication between those people. It is not to protect us from the boogieman overseas as they always claim it to be. It is to prevent us from ever challenging our government.

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Comments (2)

see, they need separate legislation because this new legislation will probably have some money attached to it, money they claim they need to implement these “initiatives”. Normal people realize they should be doing this already, but gov’t isn’t normal.

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Oh yeah, money to boot. The main thing is control though. This is probably just another way for bankers to off load their costs. We’ll probably pay for their security as tax payers.

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