Can Obama shut down the Internet?

posted at 12:17 pm on April 4, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

When Mother Jones and Jules Crittenden agree, isn’t that a sign of the apocalypse?  Both take a hard look at the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, S.773 sponsored by Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).  The bill addresses the need to protect vital networks from cyber attack, but it gives a lot of power to the executive branch — perhaps too much power.  Mother Jones reports:

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (PDF) gives the president the ability to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” and shut down or limit Internet traffic in any “critical” information network “in the interest of national security.” The bill does not define a critical information network or a cybersecurity emergency. That definition would be left to the president.

The bill does not only add to the power of the president. It also grants the Secretary of Commerce “access to all relevant data concerning [critical] networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access.” This means he or she can monitor or access any data on private or public networks without regard to privacy laws.

Jules adds:

You know, if it was the Bush administration, I’d be more inclined to trust them. They sought extraordinary wartime powers, and used them to prosecute the war on terror. Never abused them, though, despite all the squawking.

Jules wonders when the Leftosphere will erupt in outrage.   Mother Jones isn’t a bad start, though.

Here are the sections raising eyebrows:

SEC. 14. PUBLIC–PRIVATE CLEARINGHOUSE.

(a) DESIGNATION.—The Department of Commerce shall serve as the clearinghouse of cybersecurity threat and vulnerability information to Federal government and private sector owned critical infrastructure information systems and networks.

(b) FUNCTIONS.—The Secretary of Commerce—

(1) shall have access to all relevant data concerning such networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access; …

SEC. 18. CYBERSECURITY RESPONSIBILITIES AND AUTHORITY.

The President— …

(2) may declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network; …

The second provision is something less than advertised, I believe.  It gives the President the authority to disconnect federal networks from the Internet in the case of cyberattack.  That doesn’t seem like an outrageous provision to me; it sounds like a sensible option to protect vital government systems.  In fact, I’d be surprised if that power doesn’t already exist within the various federal agencies.  This would allow the President to make a blanket order to take networks off line.

That doesn’t make it completely benign, either.  That power could get abused to keep people from accessing public information.  However, the provision on its own does not equate to “shutting down the Internet”, at least not how I read it.

Section 14 may be a bigger problem.  It essentially revokes all privacy safeguards on Internet use for all networks.  The Fourth Amendment would go straight out the window with the explicit inclusion of “private sector owned critical infrastructure information systems and networks.”  While Section 18 limits jurisdiction to federal networks, Section 14 allows the government to go after private networks without search warrants.  The section also doesn’t limit the jurisdiction to acute attacks, either.  That jurisdiction exists at all times.

The big problem isn’t that Obama might shut down the Internet.  It’s that the bill essentially repeals the Fourth Amendment.

Update: Suitably Flip sees the Terminator on the horizon.

Update II: I used the word “repeals” for rhetorical effect, not as a literal meaning.  It takes a Constitutional amendment to repeal any part of the Constitution.  CSA’s Section 14 certainly appears to be an explicit violation of the Fourth Amendment.


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As a few liberals here have said, they want to be controlled by the feds.

lorien1973 on April 4, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Most ‘liberals’ want to be controlled. If not, they wouldn’t be such fools.

Entelechy on April 4, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Oh, what a treat that would be.

You want revolution? Pulling the plug on the modern communications network would be the way.

MadisonConservative on April 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM

Most ‘liberals’ want to be controlled. If not, they wouldn’t be such fools.

Entelechy on April 4, 2009 at 1:43 PM

I think that more importantly, the left is ALL about control. There is less of an attachment to “free speech” than there is to controlling the presentation.

ddrintn on April 4, 2009 at 1:47 PM

You want revolution? Pulling the plug on the modern communications network would be the way.

MadisonConservative on April 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM

But, televised or not, how would the revolution be organized?

Tzetzes on April 4, 2009 at 1:47 PM

I’ll let you guess which websites will be ‘closed’ due to National Security. Hot Air, Wizbang, Rathergate, Little Green Footballs, etc etc………………………

GarandFan on April 4, 2009 at 1:48 PM

We’re F***ed.
(note the capital F).
Chaz706 on April 4, 2009

and christine: yeah, i knew the Fed Reserve was the boogeyman all along. but it makes me feel better to want to blow NK off the map.
kelley in virginia on April 4, 2009 Good for you, Kelly!
BUT…
Are ya’ll just gonna vent, or DO something about it? If we sit on our hands, we deserve what we get!

Christine on April 4, 2009 at 1:49 PM

On this one I vote never happen.

rsl775 on April 4, 2009 at 1:50 PM

SlimyBill on April 4, 2009 at 1:42 PM

There are something like 30 routers that control all internet traffic in the country. It refers to those.

lorien1973 on April 4, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Hussein knows he doesn’t stand a snowballs chance in hell of winning the next election with the American vote,..I’m sure any “uncontrolled” communication will get the ax,..he’s already started,..try connecting to http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2009/04/welcome-obamerica-homeland-security-bans-atlas.html
from Dept. Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection!

christene on April 4, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Hmmmm…. this bill looks like its going to move Wire Fraud types of crimes to Commerce… from the Secret Service…

And Commerce will Vet your Network? “shall have access to all relevant data concerning such networks” is an extremely scary statement…

So… wonder how the Dept of Energy will feel about this… as they run security for their Critical networks, but this will put it under Commerce apparently…

Romeo13 on April 4, 2009 at 1:52 PM

There are something like 30 routers that control all internet traffic in the country. It refers to those.

lorien1973 on April 4, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Roger that.

THAT is the key language, I think.

“United States critical infrastructure information system or network” would include:

= any bank’s network
= VISA’s network
= Comcast’s netwrok

Democrats are some scary adults, that’s for sure.

SlimyBill on April 4, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Will there ever be Supreme Court challenges to all this madness?

ddrintn on April 4, 2009 at 1:05 PM

I sure hope so. Maybe then my head will stop exploding.

misslizzi on April 4, 2009 at 1:54 PM

You think we’d hear more pops of heads exploding from cognitive dissonance among the moderates who voted for this statist dictator.

Major media… universities… banks… autos… Internet.

Yep, pretty complete takeover.

John the Libertarian on April 4, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Most ‘liberals’ want to be controlled. If not, they wouldn’t be such fools.

Entelechy on April 4, 2009 at 1:43 PM

I don’t think so. Most ‘liberals’ think they are already on the right side; they want others to be controlled.

SlimyBill on April 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Didn’t everyone here support the Patriot Act 10 months ago? How can you stomach this hypocrisy just whole and raw like that?

DeathToMediaHacks on April 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Didn’t everyone here support the Patriot Act 10 months ago? How can you stomach this hypocrisy just whole and raw like that?

DeathToMediaHacks on April 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Leftist propoganda aside… no many did NOT support the Patriot Act, unlike many of the DEMOCRAT members of Congress…

Romeo13 on April 4, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Didn’t everyone here support the Patriot Act 10 months ago? How can you stomach this hypocrisy just whole and raw like that?

DeathToMediaHacks on April 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Try reading some constitutional law, preferably “void for vagueness” cases, as well as the delegation cases.

Wethal on April 4, 2009 at 1:58 PM

i didn’t support the Patriot Act because of its obvious freedom squelching provisions.

and i don’t support this cybersquelcher either.

it is my right to burn an American flag. would i do it? never.

kelley in virginia on April 4, 2009 at 1:59 PM

wethal: isn’t it funny how “void for vagueness” becomes “penumbra”.

kelley in virginia on April 4, 2009 at 2:01 PM

kelley in virginia on April 4, 2009 at 2:01 PM

Amazing what a liberal can find in the shadows if he wants to.

Wethal on April 4, 2009 at 2:04 PM

We all know how really shreds the Constitution.

SouthernGent on April 4, 2009 at 2:06 PM

Hmmmm…. this bill looks like its going to move Wire Fraud types of crimes to Commerce… from the Secret Service…

And Commerce will Vet your Network? “shall have access to all relevant data concerning such networks” is an extremely scary statement…

So… wonder how the Dept of Energy will feel about this… as they run security for their Critical networks, but this will put it under Commerce apparently…

Romeo13 on April 4, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Partly because a ban on sales tax on the Internet is still in place until 2014. The City of Los Angeles already fooled it’s voters to approve a measure that will tax your e-mails, cell phone calls, etc., in 2014. Other cities in our area have tried the same thing but have been voted down. Stay vigilan, they’re gonna keep trying!!!!!

RealDemocrat on April 4, 2009 at 2:06 PM

If this joker thought he could shut it down he would and he’d start with every conservative blog. Is it time to develop an underground cyber network?

rplat on April 4, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Yeah, adults are in charge.

Deal with it.

getalife on April 4, 2009 at 1:27 PM

ROFL!

Sorry, but April 1st was three days ago.

-Dave

Dave R. on April 4, 2009 at 2:16 PM

Another interesting trend I’m seeing…

This bill would allow Commerce to decided what is critical…

Just as some bills in Congress now let Treasury decide what is “critical” or too big to fail…

So, Congress is cedeing power to the Executive branch… not sure how they do that…

The Consitution deliniates both Powers, and RESPONSIBILITY for certain things to Congress… somehow, like coining money, or putting the country in debt, they have given those powers to the Executive (Treasury has oversite of the Fed Res. Bank if anyone does).

We need to sue CONGRESS for not doing their Constitutional duty.

Romeo13 on April 4, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Revolution is coming. They can’t stop it.

marklmail on April 4, 2009 at 2:25 PM

Romeo13 on April 4, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Exactly. Usually statutes have preliminary provisions in which critical (heh – couldn’t resist) terms are defined. Otherwise the courts may do it. Delegating in this statute is really abdicating Congressional authority.

Wethal on April 4, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Well, they can shut down the GPS network anytime they wish (or cause the satellites to transmit bogus data) and they can probably do the same with the cellular network, so why not the internet as well?

I wouldn’t put anything passed these children.

-Dave

Dave R. on April 4, 2009 at 2:27 PM

What are these “amendments” you are all talking about? Amendments to what? Are you talking about that ancient living breathing constitutional thing-a-ma-jig?

JeffinOrlando on April 4, 2009 at 2:34 PM

We need to sue hang CONGRESS for not doing their Constitutional duty.

Romeo13 on April 4, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Perhaps Charles “Robispierre” Blow would lend his guillotine for a more humane approach.

Saltysam on April 4, 2009 at 2:34 PM

Um Ed please reread this passage:

Federal government or United States

Thats very comprehensive. They can already shut off all your cell phones you know. But they cannot shut off radios. They can interfere with them somewhat, but that is all.

learn morse code.

dogsoldier on April 4, 2009 at 2:42 PM

ED: The devil is in the details, the details being how an administration or the courts will interpret the statute. In the end this will be taken to its logical extremes such as the pleadings recently made by this administration that McCain-Feingold allows for banning anything that might mention a candidate during blackout periods.

chemman on April 4, 2009 at 2:43 PM

In pursuit of establishing my resistance cell network, I went to my son (a self described “libertarian” computer expert). His response to my requesting a recommendation for a high level encryption program was to say “Why would you need that? Obama isn’t like Bush!”.
.

Sometimes failure hits home.

GunRunner on April 4, 2009 at 2:46 PM

All those things the left was afraid Bush was going to do but didn’t…

…Obama is doing now.

Crusty on April 4, 2009 at 2:48 PM

If this joker thought he could shut it down he would and he’d start with every conservative blog. Is it time to develop an underground cyber network?

rplat on April 4, 2009 at 2:11 PM

The government is always behind the eight ball.

By the time they develop a way to shut down the internet, the internet will be the “buggy whip”.

Can’t wait to see how they succeed at car manufacturing.

Saltysam on April 4, 2009 at 2:51 PM

dit, dit, dit, Da Da Da, dit, dit, dit

GunRunner on April 4, 2009 at 2:53 PM

And so many people on this site laugh at Glenn Beck! Time to get organized, folks.

Christian Conservative on April 4, 2009 at 2:55 PM

This is not about shutting down the entire internet. It is about shutting down specific networks.

conservnut

Dude, there are about 14 top level routers that support the whole internet here in the US. ‘specific networks’, if it were just those 14 IS the whole infrastructure here.

Got it?

Dr. Dog on April 4, 2009 at 2:56 PM

dit, dit, dit, Da Da Da, dit, dit, dit

GunRunner on April 4, 2009 at 2:53 PM

Noone’s coming. We’ll have to save ‘er on our own.

*bails faster*

Saltysam on April 4, 2009 at 2:57 PM

I agree that the vague “or United States critical infrastructure information system or network” is where the danger lies.

Anyone have a link to lists of the number of times wacko conspiracy theorists warned that some national emergency would be ginned up to hold off the election, so that Bush could keep power? (Both Bushes: I know such things were around in ’92, as well as under W.)

At least some people are worried about it from both sides, now that it seems more likely, as it makes its way into such vague legal language.

brambo_42 on April 4, 2009 at 3:04 PM

If this joker thought he could shut it down he would and he’d start with every conservative blog. Is it time to develop an underground cyber network?

rplat on April 4, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Yes.

dit, dit, dit, Da Da Da, dit, dit, dit

GunRunner on April 4, 2009 at 2:53 PM

dit, Da ….. dit, Da … dit, Da Dit, … dit ….. dit, dit, dit, dit, … Da Da Da … dit dit dit … dit … Da dit dit … dit Da dit Da dit Da

Kudos to anyone who can translate.

Chaz706 on April 4, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Here’s a better idea. How about all government entities get off the internet, if it’s such weak security…and do everything by fax, phone, and letter. Leave the internet alone.

If you need something to get somewhere else, throw some business to the post office. I hear they need some dough.

Seems so funny. The liberals were so hell bent , that our civil rights were being violated under Bush, but with Obama taking his powers to the extreme….they don’t seem to care? Great principles there!

capejasmine on April 4, 2009 at 3:12 PM

” That definition would be left to the president.”

Maybe he’s heard one too many teleprompter jokes……….

…………. and isn’t a fan of Star Trek?

Seven Percent Solution on April 4, 2009 at 3:13 PM

The leftists won’t let Obama have this one.

Are you serious? This is EXACTLY what the leftists have wanted since forever. As long as THEY are in control, of course.

oldleprechaun on April 4, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Revolution will come. Too many of us make our living off the internet!

Coastal Paradise on April 4, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Yeah, adults the Clintons are in charge.

Deal with it.

getalife on April 4, 2009 at 1:27 PM

FIFY.

BTW, let’s take a look at what the “adults” in the Clinton camp did over the past 15 years.

1. Falsely claimed credit for the economic recovery that began 18 months before they took power.

2. Treated Islam terrorism as a law enforcement problem, not a national security problem. Result? The deadliest attack on civilians on US soil in the history if the United States.

3. Abused the media and the judicial system to delay the truth about Billy’s adultery with a workplace subordinate from gaining traction.

4. Had their National Security Advisor steal and destroy documents from the National Archives.

BTW, kid, you still haven’t answered my question-who got your vote for President in 2004?

Del Dolemonte on April 4, 2009 at 3:34 PM

Obama dropping under 30% in the polls will be the first “national emergency.”

Jim Treacher on April 4, 2009 at 3:35 PM

As noted on another thread, O’bama now basically controls Google now. Their CEO campaigned for him and was even offered a Cabinet position. And Google employees donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to O’bama’s camapaign. They gave McCain just over $20,000

Del Dolemonte on April 4, 2009 at 3:36 PM

Seems so funny. The liberals were so hell bent , that our civil rights were being violated under Bush, but with Obama taking his powers to the extreme….they don’t seem to care? Great principles there!

capejasmine on April 4, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Kind of like how they screamed in public that Bush was repressing their free speech, whereas Obama’s official website put out a call to shut down a radio station’s phone lines because his critics were on the air.

It’s all about power, grabbing it and holding onto it. Trying to appeal to their shame or reason won’t work, because they’re either given it up or never had it in the first place.

Jim Treacher on April 4, 2009 at 3:37 PM

As vile and depraved a socialist as I know Ogabe to be, I cannot conceive of how far he will go to seize total control of all aspects of our lives. That’s simply because I’m a (mostly) rational human being who loves his country. I cannot delve into the depths of the radical mind. It’s just too murky down there.
But this one was easy to predict. It follows that Ogabe would want to take over the internet. It’s a form of communication after all. Free and unfettered communication is bad for totalitarians.

SKYFOX on April 4, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Didn’t everyone here support the Patriot Act 10 months ago? How can you stomach this hypocrisy just whole and raw like that?

DeathToCapitalistPigs on April 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Yeah, remember when George Bush took over the whole Internet?

Jim Treacher on April 4, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Kudos to anyone who can translate.

Chaz706

dot dot dot dash dash dash dot dot dot

S O S

lobosan5 on April 4, 2009 at 3:50 PM

But, televised or not, how would the revolution be organized?

Tzetzes on April 4, 2009 at 1:47 PM

.
Tzetzes, the moment it happens, march on your state capital. Bring a torch & a pitchfork. Or, if you’re close enough go to the Capitol building, White House, whatever, in Washington DC. Just do it.

NightmareOnKStreet on April 4, 2009 at 3:51 PM

Yeah, he could shut it down. Of course he would also shut down about 300,000,000 bank transactions in the process, but heh, what has smart got to do with anything.

Limerick on April 4, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Please don’t give Ogabe any ideas. :)

Branch Rickey on April 4, 2009 at 3:55 PM

The government should not have authority over private networks, and private data. Further, it could even be construed as illegal for the government to take control of some private networks–due to legislation such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley where the companies must ensure protection of specific data, and only need to know people have access to it, otherwise they face penalties.

Enoxo on April 4, 2009 at 3:55 PM

On Nov. 4th, 63 million idiots alledgedly signed on the dotted line for this Trojan Horse/ Training Wheels/ Usurper. Dot meet dot… We will all come to rue the day…

NightmareOnKStreet on April 4, 2009 at 3:55 PM

The real test of any new legislation is to ask yourself how you will feel, if the next election is won by the “other” party and these new laws are now under their purview.

NightmareOnKStreet on April 4, 2009 at 4:05 PM

F*** You, Barack Obama

bluelightbrigade on April 4, 2009 at 4:07 PM

NightmareOnKStreet on April 4, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Impossible. The “other” party is fading away.

Saltysam on April 4, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Democrats are some scary adults, that’s for sure.

SlimyBill on April 4, 2009 at 1:54 PM

There’s an oxymoron in there…

Those who’ve claimed that the ‘liberals’ don’t want to be controlled, think again. They want a few chosen ones to do the controlling/exploiting, and the rest are just like: gnats, sheep, plankton, lice, mice, rats, mollusks and other banks of brainless creatures.

Entelechy on April 4, 2009 at 4:15 PM

If I’m reading this correctly, the bill gives Obama and hence ACORN bus tour goons access to the name and address of any blogger they so desire?

jeff_from_mpls on April 4, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Will there ever be Supreme Court challenges to all this madness?

ddrintn on April 4, 2009 at 1:05 PM

That’s what I keep wondering too. I don’t even hear many people talking in terms of the Constitution, when it’s the Constitution that’s under assault here.

You watch, our pols will putz around with red herrings until Obama either stacks the USSC or installs executice work-arounds to it. And then it will be too late.

petefrt on April 4, 2009 at 4:20 PM

i don’t know if i am the first one or joining a bandwagon but here it goes LETS IMPEACH THIS SOCIALIST NOW BARACK INSANE OBAMA HAS GOT TO GO .I WANT SOMEBODY TO SELL IMPEACHMENT BUMPER STICKERS ,WAKEUP AMERICA LETS ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wade underhile on April 4, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Ed, forgive me for nit-picking this, but:

The big problem isn’t that Obama might shut down the Internet. It’s that the bill essentially repeals the Fourth Amendment.

I think you know full well a federal statute could never repeal a provision of the constitution, but that it could violate it.

Much as I’m against any kind of federal regulation generally, there will come a time when the internet is in some way subject to federal laws. It’s only a matter of how and to what extent. But I think those on the Right muddle the issue too much by sounding the alarm for every possible regulation.

So let’s step back a moment and take a deep breath.

Yes, I would be concerned somewhat about government intrusion into the “private” web domain as opposed to the “public” one when it comes to searches. Of course, Fourth Amendment jurisprudence tends to view the term “public” more broadly than you might think. I believe the U.S. Supreme Court would likely reject some of the proposed provisions, based upon the balancing test which is ordinarily applied in search & seizure cases to weigh the relative interests of privacy versus public safety/welfare. Generally, “private” data which is collected without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity would be inadmissible in a criminal trial. Unfortunately, this test does not adequately protect someone from public embarassment.

Apart from searches & seizures, I would argue that Congress has more authority to regulate an entity like the internet than it does to regulate a number of other activities, at least to the extent that the internet is facilitating interstate and international commerce.

This notion that the internet should be preserved as a “state of nature” and free from all government intrusion is a rather fanciful one, in my view. The public domain, just as the public square, is by definition very much subject to a society’s rule of law, even if you ordinarily view this content from the privacy of your home. Other forms of mass communication operate in much the same manner and are regulated to varying degrees because of this.

Then again, this is one of the growing number of fault lines forming between libertarians and conservatives. The more “anti-federalist” conservatives would probably seek to have the internet regulated by the States, but pragmatically-speaking this may be one for the feds. (I know, I’m ashamed to have said it!)

President Obama’s desire for such control, though, likely has something to do with the fact that he cannot otherwise shut down such great blogs such as Hot Air (or my own, even).

cackcon on April 4, 2009 at 4:23 PM

I WANT SOMEBODY TO SELL IMPEACHMENT BUMPER STICKERS ,WAKEUP AMERICA LETS ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wade underhile on April 4, 2009 at 4:22 PM

.
Impeachment? ALL IN.
.
Bumper sticker on my car? Not so much.
.
You may as well have one that says, “Destroy my car”. At least while living in ACORN’S Muscle for Hire-ville.

NightmareOnKStreet on April 4, 2009 at 4:28 PM

HOW ABOUT WE START WITH GETTING KEITH OLBERBOYY FIRED….

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/fire-keith-olbermann

IT WOULD BE A GREAT START!

afotia on April 4, 2009 at 4:32 PM

READ THE BILL.

It gives POTUS power to 1) shut down, 2) seize, then 3) classify ANY computer component, PUBLIC OR PRIVATE.

Below are the crucial sections, emphasis mine.

SEC. 23. DEFINITIONS. In this Act:

(2) CYBER.—The term ‘‘cyber’’ means—
(A) any process, program, or protocol relating to the use of the Internet or an intranet, automatic data processing or transmission, or telecommunication via the Internet or an intranet; and
(B) any matter relating to, or involving the use of, computers or computer networks.

(3) FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND UNITED STATES CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND NETWORKS.—The term ‘‘Federal government and United States critical infrastructure information systems and networks’’ includes—
(A) Federal Government information systems and networks; and
(B) State, local, and nongovernmental information systems and networks in the United States designated by the President as critical infrastructure information systems and networks.

SEC. 18. CYBERSECURITY RESPONSIBILITIES AND AUTHORITY.
The President—
(1) within 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, shall develop and implement a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy, which shall include—
(A) a long-term vision of the nation’s cy(B) a plan that encompasses all aspects of national security, including the participation of the private sector, including critical infrastructure operators and managers;
(2) may declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network;
(3) shall designate an agency to be responsible for coordinating the response and restoration of any Federal government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network affected by a cybersecurity emergency declaration under paragraph (2);
(4) shall, through the appropriate department or agency, review equipment that would be needed after a cybersecurity attack and develop a strategy for the acquisition, storage, and periodic replacement of such equipment;
(5) shall direct the periodic mapping of Federal government and United States critical infrastructure information systems or networks, and shall develop metrics to measure the effectiveness of the mapping process;
(6) may order the disconnection of any Federal government or United States critical infrastructure information systems or networks in the interest of national security;
(7) shall, through the Office of Science and Technology Policy, direct an annual review of all Federal cyber technology research and development investments;
(8) may delegate original classification authority to the appropriate Federal official for the purposes of improving the Nation’s cybersecurity posture;
(9) shall, through the appropriate department or agency, promulgate rules for Federal professional responsibilities regarding cybersecurity, and shall provide to the Congress an annual report on Federal agency compliance with those rules;
(10) shall withhold additional compensation, direct corrective action for Federal personnel, or terminate a Federal contract in violation of Federal rules, and shall report any such action to the Congress in an unclassified format within 48 hours after taking any such action; and
(11) shall notify the Congress within 48 hours after providing a cyber-related certification of legality to a United States person.

P.S. Forget about the slush fund written into the bill that allows govt officials to identify kids K-12 with potential to give scholarships to, up to $1 million with no special authority, and those students later get cushy govt jobs (gee, I wonder who will get those scholarships and those jobs?) That’s just par for the course.

JustTruth101 on April 4, 2009 at 4:37 PM

On Nov. 4th, 63 million idiots alledgedly signed on the dotted line for this Trojan Horse/ Training Wheels/ Usurper. Dot meet dot… We will all come to rue the day…

NightmareOnKStreet on April 4, 2009 at 3:55 PM

Yes, they did. Mobs don’t have jobs, and they all went out in mass an voted for the rest of us to support them. This kind of squashing of the 4th and 1st amendments will be the only way to achieve that goal.

JustTruth101 on April 4, 2009 at 4:39 PM

MarlboroMenthol.gov?

marklmail on April 4, 2009 at 4:42 PM

You know, I wonder how BoingBoing will react to this. If they react at all. Cognitive dissonance is a bitch.

Jim Treacher on April 4, 2009 at 4:50 PM

1. There is no such thing as “The Internet”. There are individual networks that are privately owned that agree to pass traffic with each other. As I write this, my computer is connected to AT&T’s private network. Hot Air seems to be connected to a network owned by Rackspace and SWIPed to Diamond Alignment. Traffic goes from my network at home, across AT&T’s network to Dallas Texas where it is handed directly to Rackspace who is apparently connected directly to AT&T. Never once does a packet from my house to HotAir touch a network called “The Internet” because there really is no such thing.

In order to shut down “The Internet” the President would have to issue a decree that private networks could no longer exchange data.

Traffic is generally exchanged at places called NAPs and there is also a ton of private connectivity; private circuits between providers. To tell Savvis that they can’t communicate with Global Crossing or to tell Level 3 Communications that they can not communicate with Qwest is going to be a very difficult thing to do. If two networks shut down a peering circuit in one city, the routers are just going to attempt to send the traffic to a different peering point.

To shut the whole thing down would probably be impossible because, again, there really is no such thing as “The Internet”. What we call “The Internet” is just an agreed upon set of protocols that private networks use to communicate with each other and transit agreements between them on what traffic they will pass. For example, you might have one circuit that only carries traffic that is originated from one of the parties and destined to the other. That is peering. Or you could have a circuit where you handle traffic that is originating on a third party’s network or destined to a third party’s network who you also peer with. That is called transit. So basically the President is talking about the authority to micromanage traffic agreements between private networks.

I don’t see how it can happen in practice. This is the kind of regulation that gets implemented by people who don’t know what the heck they are really doing.

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 4:52 PM

Limerick on April 4, 2009 at 12:38 PM

No. More like a Sulla.

dglenn on April 4, 2009 at 4:55 PM

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 4:52 PM

The point isn’t whether or not it’ll work. The point is that they want to do it.

Jim Treacher on April 4, 2009 at 4:55 PM

Jim Treacher on April 4, 2009 at 4:55 PM

And my point is that they can’t even if they want to.

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 4:56 PM

And my point is that they can’t even if they want to.

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 4:56 PM

So it’s no problem that they’re trying.

Jim Treacher on April 4, 2009 at 5:01 PM

Jim T … what is to prevent me from running an etehrent cable to my neighbor? What prevents me from picking up a used ethernet switch and hooking up several of my neighbors to it? We have now created an internet. What if the people on the next block over also had their own network and we ran a cable across the street to connect the two? Some of the people could run their servers, we could get a linux box and build a DNS server for the network …

Now lets say our neighborhood net makes a dialup connection to another neighborhood net and we now exchange batched email. And maybe they take email for another neighborhood net that they connect to (offer us transit through them for our email to the other neighborhood net). We could use something old and rugged for that … say Taylor UUCP over dialup modems.

The point is that a new “internet” would begin taking shape instantly as soon as the government attempted to shut down the existing one.

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 5:03 PM

The point is that a new “internet” would begin taking shape instantly as soon as the government attempted to shut down the existing one.

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 5:03 PM

So it’s no problem that they might try to shut down the existing one. I get it.

Jim Treacher on April 4, 2009 at 5:08 PM

“So it’s no problem that they’re trying.”

No, it is no problem because they have just displayed their own idiocy and lack of understanding of what “The Internet” is by even thinking they could “shut it down”.

There is one key piece of infrastructure that allows “The Internet” to work as we know it and those are the root name servers that handle the top level .com, .org, .net, .gov and the various country domains (.uk, .au, .us, etc).

There is nothing technical from stopping a person from creating their own top level domains … we could create a .TEA domain. For everyone to be able to use it, we simply need to enter our domain server as the “root” name server on people’s computers so when it wants a .TEA domain, it goes to the right place to find the information about it.

We are talking about a simple edit to a text file to do this and a linux box for a DNS server and we can even create our own IP address allocations as long as our internet isn’t connected to “The Internet”.

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 5:09 PM

It’s not about the technical issues involved with setting up a computer network. It’s about the government wanting even more control over our lives.

Jim Treacher on April 4, 2009 at 5:09 PM

The war rages, belief is survival. Time shortens, creation changes. Serve, wait in Faith, you know not destruction’s course (internet communication and the good counsel thereof, are but fleeting) “But those who wait upon the Lord, shall mount up with wings as Eagles” GOD have mercy on Man

GD on April 4, 2009 at 5:10 PM

In other words, to shut down “The Internet” they have to outlaw interoperation between networks, period. They have to not only say that all existing connections need to be shut down, they also need to say that no new connections can not be established. That would be even more draconian than China.

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 5:14 PM

So their intent doesn’t matter. Could be.

Jim Treacher on April 4, 2009 at 5:20 PM

Actually, I think the President already has the power to regulate communications during an emergency. It would be something like how radio communication was shut down in World War I.

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, amateur radio was banned by law until 1919

So I believe they already have the authority to ban electronic communications of any form if they want to.

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 5:28 PM

Don’t tell us, tell them.

Jim Treacher on April 4, 2009 at 5:30 PM

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 4:52 PM

You’re missing the point… this is not about shutting down the internet, this is about intrusion into your network.

(1) shall have access to all relevant data concerning such networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access; …

The only way to do this is for you to grant the Government Access to your security infrastructure… and the Commerce Dept. is given the ability to look at anyone they want, with no effective oversite. In order to decide if you are critical or not, they will have to know what is on your network.

There was one point, a couple of years ago, where my company was working on a project for Homeland Security, which could very well have been considered critical… but if this goes into effect, than I would have to allow Commerce into my network… and once there they would have to remain with access because we may still have remnants of the code somewhere…

This gives Commerce, a bunch of unelected beurocrats, the ability to decide which networks they want into, and no law can be used to stop them… as the statute clearly states.

Romeo13 on April 4, 2009 at 5:35 PM

That’s the beauty of the Democrat strategy, isn’t it? They’ve realized there’s no need to repeal articles of the Constitution when you can just go ahead and ignore them.

Blacklake on April 4, 2009 at 5:37 PM

…there really is no such thing as “The Internet”.
crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 4:52 PM

…b-b-but… AlGore invented it… along with carbon credits… so it must be real… oh, wait…

NightmareOnKStreet on April 4, 2009 at 5:42 PM

That’s the beauty of the Democrat strategy, isn’t it? They’ve realized there’s no need to repeal articles of the Constitution when you can just go ahead and ignore them.

Blacklake on April 4, 2009 at 5:37 PM

Yep, because us Citizens don’t have “Standing” to sue…

Romeo13 on April 4, 2009 at 5:46 PM

The only way to do this is for you to grant the Government Access to your security infrastructure… and the Commerce Dept. is given the ability to look at anyone they want, with no effective oversite. In order to decide if you are critical or not, they will have to know what is on your network.

They already have that right. If you have a network, you have to allow government access to it for “lawful intercept” purposes. Just do a google for something like “lawful intercept router”.

This all came out of regulations passed by Clinton/Gore to make sure they could still do phone intercepts in the age of voice over IP.

But what is most glaring is the section quoted in the post above: “shall have access to all relevant data concerning such networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access”

What that seems designed to do is circumvent the restrictions on the Cyberspace Electronic Security Act of 1999 that required a court order. They are basically cutting out the judicial branch and want the executive branch to have complete access to all networks for any reason without having a court order or warrant.

Maybe I am reading too much into it. The precise wording says “data concerning such networks” not “data carried by such networks”. So I don’t mind giving government a description of the network but I do mind giving them access to the data without a warrant or court order.

That said, it looks like what they are after is a complete map of computer networks in the country. It is sort of like asking for a complete map of everyone you have the potential to interact with on a daily basis. I have a problem with that.

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Yup, there is no “information superhighway”. There are only lots of individual point to point roads. Blocking every single one of them would be an extremely difficult task.

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 5:51 PM

crosspatch on April 4, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Currrently they can ask for access… or get it through a court order… and I have no problem with that..

This is taking due process out of the equation. This takes it from a Law Enforcement issue to a monitoring state.

Having worked with some of the people now being hired by Homeland and others, I can tell you where this going…

There will soon be an Agent placed on every server, by Federal Decree, which can open a window into your network.

And as Cisco continues to implement the Cisco OS, I would not be suprised if an agent is not place on routers as well.

They will use the “excuse” that they need it there to ensure that you are NOT doing anything critical… or sending traffic that is a threat to the Net… or… potentialy, have any software which can be a threat…

This law is WAY too open ended… and leaves it all up to the Commerce Deptarment… which is an interesting choice as they are one of the WORST groups I’ve worked with dealing in the Security arena.

Romeo13 on April 4, 2009 at 5:59 PM

No biggie! One less Illegal Alien to worry about. One less Illegal Alien that won’t kill, rape, or steal an Americans job!!!

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/J/JAIL_SLAYING?SITE=FLTAM&SECTION=US

RealDemocrat on April 4, 2009 at 6:38 PM

I tend to agree with Bradky that this is less monstrous than most of you think. In may, in fact, be benign and intended to protect against hacking.

If, however, the Intern-in-Chief tries anything underhanded, we’d see quite a few newspapers come back to life on our doorsteps each morning and evening.

tanarg on April 4, 2009 at 7:10 PM

OK, Let’s see our freedom loving Republican congressmen stand up and block this…

… crickets …

I guess when WaPo and NYT go out of business we will be relying on MotherJones for news?

What did everyone expect when the executive branch took on so much power the last 35 years. Didn’t it occur to anybody that putting so much power in one branch of the government just might have this happen? Everyone laughed at Ron Paul but he has been dead right on this whole White House power grab.

SocratesShadow on April 4, 2009 at 7:22 PM

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