Saturday, August 29, 2009

Community Organizer To Run The Internet?

This is the type of legislation that federal solons would have liked to slip through without anyone noticing. Imagine the media firestorm and outcry from so-called civil libertarians and privacy advocates if Bush was still in office.
Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.
They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.
The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.
"I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness," said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. "It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill."
Just asking--could there be an ulterior motive in play? In general, what is the basis for granting these sweeping powers in a free society? Also, since the private sector would take the lead in restoring services after a large-scale cyberattack, why is this bill even necessary? More about this proposed legislation here.