Egypt’s Internet crackdown makes “kill switch” bill a wee bit less popular

posted at 9:30 am on February 1, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Imagine if the government had the power to disconnect an entire country from its Internet service.  Actually, we don’t have to imagine it; we have seen it happen in the past week, as the Mubarak regime in Egypt tried in vain to keep protesters from organizing on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking platforms.  In a display of exquisitely bad timing, two US Senators will reintroduce a bill that would put the same power in the hands of the executive branch after the practical demonstration of how useful — and ultimately useless — it is for squelching dissent:

The news of Egypt’s crackdown on Web access is raising new concerns over a comprehensive cybersecurity bill that critics claim gives the president a “kill switch” for the Internet.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has recently indicated she plan to re-introduce the bipartisan legislation she crafted last year with Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), which passed the Senate Homeland Security Committee last year only to get mired in a standoff with Senate Commerce Committee members over which panel should have oversight of civilian cybersecurity.

The bill first got introduced in the spring of 2009, when Democrats had overwhelming majorities in Congress.  Needless to say, it didn’t fare well, mainly because people understood it to be operationally the same as what Mubarak tried last week.  It’s not quite the same thing, or at least it wasn’t when Jay Rockefeller introduced it.  The bill authorized the government to take federal servers off-line in case of cyberattack, which would make government data inaccessible, which should raise eyebrows.  The earlier bill also had this disturbing provision:

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; …

Without regard to any provision of law?  This strips the owners of private networks of their Fourth Amendment rights, simply by declaring such systems and networks “critical infrastructure.”  If this survives in the Collins-Lieberman bill, that’s a larger practical concern than a total Internet shutdown. But that also could mean that the private networks fall under the authority for shutdown, as Berin Szoka of TechFreedom argues:

“This incident also demonstrates a more subtle point: Maintaining the rule of law in times of crisis demands judicial review for the president’s decision to designate something a ‘critical asset’ subject to government diktat in the name of protecting ‘cybersecurity.’ ”

Collins has bristled at that characterization, pointing out that the White House has indicated they already have the authority to shut down portions of the private-sector Web in the event of a national security emergency under a little-used provision of the Communications Act passed one month after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

At any rate, the reintroduction of the bill at this point almost ensures its demise.  If it couldn’t pass during a Congress with Democratic supermajorities, it won’t pass in a split Congress, especially not after Mubarak’s pointed demonstration of the technique.  (via Instapundit)


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Jeebus…where do we find these idiots?

I need someone to help me get a HAM radio up and working, anyone?

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Superior Smart Power on Parade by
Adult Progressives!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 9:34 AM

As the saying goes, ’1984′ wasn’t intended as an instruction manual.

elcapt on February 1, 2011 at 9:36 AM

But, but it’s Bipartisan and everything. Snowe voted for it. I guess when it comes to the desire for ironfist rule both parties can agree that its the best thing for them…..

unseen on February 1, 2011 at 9:36 AM

pointing out that the White House has indicated they already have the authority to shut down portions of the private-sector Web in the event of a national security emergency under a little-used provision of the Communications Act passed one month after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Interesting that the WH took the time to find this provision.

ctmom on February 1, 2011 at 9:37 AM

At some point, though, won’t some people start to think that if they don’t trust the government with all this power over the internet, perhaps it’s unwise to allow the government to have so much power ovcer many aspects of our lives?

myrenovations on February 1, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Superior Smart Power on Parade by
Adult Progressives!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Or as it’s better known in liberal circles: SSPOPBAP.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:37 AM

This is a power the government should not have at any time. I don’t care if the entire network is under cyber attack the government should not have the power to stop communications EVER FOR ANY REASON>

unseen on February 1, 2011 at 9:38 AM

I can not imagine a US where the government has the power to shut off information.
We are in serious trouble.

ORconservative on February 1, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Jeebus…where do we find these idiots?

I need someone to help me get a HAM radio up and working, anyone?

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Bishop:Dude…ProgressiveInternetStormTroopers,will be
listening in…..I’m going with old school,
morse code,delivered by Pidgeons!!:)(sarc).

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Cya susan

cmsinaz on February 1, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Interesting that the WH took the time to find this provision.

ctmom on February 1, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Yeah they could have used the time more wisely by say taking the time to make sure they included a severability clause in Obamacare……but I’m sure it was more important to find ways to ensure the government stays all powerful in their little marxist minds….

unseen on February 1, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Collins’s naivete knows no bounds.

onlineanalyst on February 1, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Sunlight, the best disinfectant … Which is why the rats always run when the sun comes up.

tarpon on February 1, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Shutting down the internet in this country would lead to panic and rioting.

Blake on February 1, 2011 at 9:42 AM

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Won’t work. The feds are training special goshawks and falcons to track down and kill carrier pigeons.

I was thinking we could communicate via human messenger, using people like crr6 to sneak between the lines for us. If she happens to be caught and waterboarded would we really care?

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Why is it that one of the first thing all dictators like Obama want to be able to do is control the flow of information. It’s almost like they are afraid the truth might get out or something….

unseen on February 1, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Maybe Mubarak can come and deliver some testimony on the virtues of the law next week – his calendar will be open.

forest on February 1, 2011 at 9:43 AM

This is why the gop establishment in DC must be defeated more so than the dems. The GOp establishment has been co-opted by the marxists. We need to clean house in our own party to have a chance of winning the fight against marxism in the dem party….

unseen on February 1, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Obama Cautions Embattled Ally Against Violence
================================================

The administration also reacted sharply to the Egyptian government’s extraordinary move to shut down the Internet, social networking Web sites, texting and other wireless communications. Mr. Obama called on the government to reverse the steps, which Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton described as “unprecedented.”

American officials tried to call the Egyptian Ministry of Communications for an explanation on Friday, but they were unable to reach anyone on a landline phone, said a senior administration official.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/29/world/middleeast/29diplo.html?_r=1
==========================

Love this line,
—————

At the White House on Friday afternoon,

(Mr. Obama dropped in)
**********************

on a meeting of his top national security advisers in the Situation Room.

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 9:45 AM

It comes down to a simple question. Do we want to have need to fear our government or should our government have need to fear us?

MJBrutus on February 1, 2011 at 9:46 AM

Maybe…..Obama…wants the internet,ahem..UNIONIZED,
in some Warped Progressive Socialist Left Bent Brained
Mindset!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 9:47 AM

the White House has indicated they already have the authority to shut down portions of the private-sector Web in the event of a national security emergency…

If we didn’t need to shut down the Intertubes after 9/11, under what scenario would it be a good idea to shut it down?

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 9:49 AM

The world is not standing in line to declare Susan Collins ‘bright’. She was probably one of those bustling over achievers who stand out in an underachieving state like Maine. You know the type–organized all the clubs in school, ran the class elections et al et al. She’s a case of someone who kept moving so fast that no one ever noticed that she was loaded with efficiency and short on brains. lol As for Lieberman–good bye and have a nice life I say. Have long wondered why Maine keeps re-electing Collins. She’s even worse than Snowe–at least Snowe(in spite of her voting record)is smart enough.

jeanie on February 1, 2011 at 9:49 AM

(Mr. Obama dropped in)
on a meeting of his top national security advisers in the Situation Room.
canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 9:45 AM

How do you find this stuff?

OMG…he “dropped in” to see his NSA team?

“Oh hey guys, I was just going to get a seltzer from the fridge…whatchoo talkin’ about in here?”

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:50 AM

I need someone to help me get a HAM radio up and working, anyone?

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Well, you could start here. Get your HAM license and then start buying equipment.

wearyman on February 1, 2011 at 9:51 AM

uh, Sue, dear, you and your buds better rethink that kill switch thing. If the internet was shut down for up to 30 days by our dear leader, this country would crash. There are a lot of people dependent on it for a living, online banking, e trades, etc. We don’t trust you guys in DC, cuz we know you’d sell us out for a nickel and a vote.

Kissmygrits on February 1, 2011 at 9:52 AM

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 9:45 AM
Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Really, Win The Future.

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Can you image the damage to the economy if the interet was shut down for 3 or 4 days?

Oil Can on February 1, 2011 at 9:52 AM

President Obama on the Situation in Egypt
========================================
Whitehouse Jan.28.2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR1n_7GN2vw

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 9:54 AM

The commies running Australia are also looking into the idea of a kill-switch.

Now I know why they shoved the $43 billion, govt owned, NBN onto us.

OldEnglish on February 1, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Can you image the damage to the economy if the interet was shut down for 3 or 4 days? Oil Can on February 1, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Well we survived the suspension of commercial air travel in the 9/11 aftermath, but the Internet was not shut down.

I wonder what scenario would require the Internet to go dark. I mean, under what circumstance would it be best for the USA to have no Internet?

Because we would still have cell phones and land line phones, right? And TV, including cable. And radio. I mean, why target the Internet?

What national disaster would leave any rational man thinking, “Well, at least we were able to shut down the Internet, thank God.”

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Susan Collins looks like such a sweet lady. Why in the world would she thinks a measure like this would be beneficial in any way.

In fact in all the sci-fy imaginings of aliens or Bond type bad guys it is the TV frequencies that get taken over!

Aliens aren’t going to bother with the Internet! Come on! What movie did that happen in?

Okay maybe for a rogue nuclear launch… but why should that keep me from downloading recipes?

petunia on February 1, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Good find canopfor @9:45

Unstinkingbelievable, but another If W did this moment….

Ed, I think you have your OOTD for tomorrow

cmsinaz on February 1, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Coincidentally there is this link from Instaman:

http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Communicate_if_Your_Government_Shuts_Off_Your_Internet

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Assistant Secretary Jacob Delivers Message for U.S. Citizens on the Situation in Egypt

StateVideo
Ja.30.2011
**************************************

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7Q-wymM5Xk

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Perhaps if Senator Collins were to rename the bill and call it, oh, I don’t know, maybe Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Republic…

http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/timeline/enabling.htm

oldleprechaun on February 1, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:33 AM

.– …. . -. .- .-.. .-.. . .-.. … . ..-. .- .. .-.. … –.– – .-. -.– – …. .. …

CTSherman on February 1, 2011 at 10:00 AM

wearyman on February 1, 2011 at 9:51 AM

The HA team comes through again, danke.

But licensing means known to the authorities, is it possible to get a HAM and not be licensed?

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 10:00 AM

This Week: Hillary Clinton on the Crisis in Egypt 1/30/2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXGVZeW8ZL0

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Ed, I think you have your OOTD for tomorrow
cmsinaz on February 1, 2011 at 9:57 AM

I think it’s the NYT’s characterization of it as Obooba “dropping in” that is odd.

His apologists at the NYT want it to look like it’s not a time consuming emergency requiring POTUS’s undivided attention.

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 9:56 AM

When the Australian NBN is set up, all land, cell, satellite and TV signals will go through it.

Total control.

OldEnglish on February 1, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Sorry but saying a kill switch is the end of our freedom to communicate is the same as saying we didn’t have any freedom before the internet. Second for those worries about the economic effect of shutting down the internet your question answers itself. The government isn’t going to do it unless necessary considering the flamethrower blowback it would get from the public for the vast economic disruption. Third 20 years ago I worked in computer security on a top level UNIX system project for the governmenyt and can tell you, you computer/internet dependent BETTER fear a Chinese cyberattack that would be designed by our inability to shut down the internet till the problem was solved or you will have a whole lot of Chinese problem in EVERY computer. A high level Chinese designed national attack would blow your security apart unless shut down until it could be solved.

Conan on February 1, 2011 at 10:02 AM

OldEnglish on February 1, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Is there anything like that in the works here?

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Because we would still have cell phones and land line phones, right? And TV, including cable. And radio. I mean, why target the Internet?

What national disaster would leave any rational man thinking, “Well, at least we were able to shut down the Internet, thank God.”

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Very good point. What is their definition of “Internet”? Is it my smart phone, my text messaging, or my cable company that provides internet via DSL or fiber optics?

Just what are we talking here? It seems like the technology is out of the bag. Thank god it was never really regulated.

Oil Can on February 1, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Superior Smart Power on Parade by
Adult Progressives!!!!!!!!!!!!!
==============
Or as it’s better known in liberal circles: SSPOPBAP.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Bishop:Smarty-pants,thats a hoot,now I will consult my
google enigma machine for (SSPOPBAP)unraveling!:)

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 10:03 AM

CTSherman on February 1, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Arigato gozaimashita.

Some good links have come my way.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 10:03 AM

.– …. . -. .- .-.. .-.. . .-.. … . ..-. .- .. .-.. … –.– – .-. -.– – …. .. …

CTSherman on February 1, 2011 at 10:00 AM

CTSherman: … — … !:)

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Conan on February 1, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Well the better leave Hot Air alone, dammit.

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 10:04 AM

OldEnglish on February 1, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Is there anything like that in the works here?

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 10:02 AM

I don’t have any info on that beyond mention of the FCC, and what it wants to do.

OldEnglish on February 1, 2011 at 10:06 AM

I remember an old saying “Fear the government that fears your gun”.

Do you have to add the internet to that? Fear the government that fears you gun and the internet…

Oil Can on February 1, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Copy that akzed

cmsinaz on February 1, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Oil Can on February 1, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Maybe Conan has answered the question. If the Chinese ever initiated a successful cyber attack agasint the US, we’d all have to buy Apples.

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Bill O mentioned that this bill wasn’t a big deal because a republican and an independent support it.

Collins and Liebermann?

I tell ya, it is stuff like this that makes people wonder exactly what is going on in his head. Even entertaining the idea of giving the executive branch the power to shut down the internet is more than enough to oppose it!

csdeven on February 1, 2011 at 10:08 AM

I’ve been meaning to read this for years, The Collapse of Complex Societies.

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Do you mean the fruit or the devices :-)

MJBrutus on February 1, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 10:03 AM

-.. — ..- .. – .- … …. .. — .- … …. .. – .

CTSherman on February 1, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Superior Smart Power on Parade by
Adult Progressives!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Or as it’s better known in liberal circles: SSPOPBAP.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Adult? Prove it.

Yoop on February 1, 2011 at 10:18 AM

But licensing means known to the authorities, is it possible to get a HAM and not be licensed?

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Yep. CB radio.

“Audio…AUDIO…TESTING…TESTING”

-you would have to listen to CB radio to understand that line-

Electrongod on February 1, 2011 at 10:20 AM

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Won’t work. The feds are training special goshawks and falcons to track down and kill carrier pigeons.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Bishop:Lol,d*mmitt,that means Plan *B*,notes tied to
my specially trained commando Beavers,btw,it’ll
be slow,ugh!(snark):)

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 10:23 AM

I think people must absolutely lose any modicum of intelligence once they get inside the beltway. Astounding! I know Collins was a first class RINO, but I didn’t think until now, that she is a brainless twit.

ultracon on February 1, 2011 at 10:23 AM

At any rate, the reintroduction of the bill at this point almost ensures its demise.

I can live with that. :)

Bob's Kid on February 1, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Ah, well, back to two cans and a long piece of string, I guess.

OldEnglish on February 1, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Yep. CB radio.

“Audio…AUDIO…TESTING…TESTING”

-you would have to listen to CB radio to understand that line-

Electrongod on February 1, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Electrongod:Git yur ears on……………..:)
======================================================

Convoy – C. W. McCall

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrdQnJR7tDw&feature=related

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Electrongod on February 1, 2011 at 10:20 AM

CB’s are short range with only what, a few dozen channels? I need something to communicate with other Red Dawn Fantasists all over the nation.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 10:26 AM

It comes down to a simple question. Do we want to have need to fear our government or should our government have need to fear us?

MJBrutus on February 1, 2011 at 9:46 AM

They do fear us. That’s why they are trying to do this.

God, these people are despicable. They collectively run us into a headlong dive into insolvency, look down their noses when we get pissed off and now, they want to cut off information, at their whim.

Yeah…..without regard for law, sums it up quite nicely. You listening to this Maine?

98ZJUSMC on February 1, 2011 at 10:27 AM

CTSherman on February 1, 2011 at 10:17 AM

I don’t speak Hungarian.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 10:27 AM

The chair is against the wall…the chair is against the wall.

WOLVERINES!!

SouthernGent on February 1, 2011 at 10:28 AM

GO AHEAD Collins, make my primary. !

Two retirees discussing their “what we gonna do after we retire ” days…..one forced retirement coming up to go with Libetmans “voluntary ” choice.

JayTee on February 1, 2011 at 10:29 AM

The large multinationals lease their own communications lines. As a matter of course, the internet was not designed as a “robust” service and large corporations know this. Business isn’t the issue at hand or those networks would also be covered.

Expect the politicians to get “slick” on their provision to disrespect all laws. Typical practice is to use legal indirection such as “change Article X Subtitle Y Paragraph 4 from ‘___’ to ‘___’” and bank on the fact nobody really reads this bull.

desertdweller on February 1, 2011 at 10:29 AM

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 9:45 AM
How do you find this stuff?

OMG…he “dropped in” to see his NSA team?

“Oh hey guys, I was just going to get a seltzer from the fridge…whatchoo talkin’ about in here?”

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Bishop:Yup,stumbled on it,google searching for what happens
if Egypt falls to Jihady Goons,with the peace treaty
with Israel search thingy!!:)

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 10:30 AM

The fact that the voters of Maine put these two dimbulbs in the Senate really makes me wonder about their intelligence.

Ward Cleaver on February 1, 2011 at 10:30 AM

CB’s are short range with only what, a few dozen channels? I need something to communicate with other Red Dawn Fantasists all over the nation.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Bishop:Me thinks an Antenna outside your compound bunker
complex will,ahem,give you away!!

Better think satelite!!(sarc).

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 10:32 AM

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 9:45 AM
=================
Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 9:50 AM
Really, Win The Future.

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Akzed:More like WTH!:)

canopfor on February 1, 2011 at 10:34 AM

CB’s are short range with only what, a few dozen channels? I need something to communicate with other Red Dawn Fantasists all over the nation.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Is range a problem? I thought you’d only be dealing with northern Minnesota. ;-)

Yoop on February 1, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Nem? En sem.

It still amazes me that you can get an answer to most questions instantly with this internet thingy. Wouldn’t want to put a stop to that, would they?

CTSherman on February 1, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Towering, gobsmacking idiocy. These people wonder why they’re careers are endangered? Or am I giving them credit to think they even know this?

And “she bristled”? How nice to know she has the capability, after swishing every depredation and abuse by the President and the left around in her mouth before swallowing.

rrpjr on February 1, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Record unemployment, record gov. expansion, record foreclosures…and this is what they worry about?

right2bright on February 1, 2011 at 10:47 AM

What really angers me is that these people are in DC on a full time basis. They have delusions of grandeur which make them think that they have to insert themselves into every aspect of our lives. Who the heck are they to daily send dictates down to us? I’m ready to go all Egypt on all this gov’t! (before they take our guns and put the kill switch in).

CCRWM on February 1, 2011 at 10:47 AM

At any rate, the reintroduction of the bill at this point almost ensures its demise. If it couldn’t pass during a Congress with Democratic supermajorities, it won’t pass in a split Congress, especially not after Mubarak’s pointed demonstration of the technique.

Good luck trying to get that through Boehner’s House!

White House has indicated they already have the authority to shut down portions of the private-sector Web in the event of a national security emergency under a little-used provision of the Communications Act passed one month after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Huh? You mean Al Gore had already invented the Internet in 1942, for computers that didn’t exist yet?

What about the FIRST Amendment rights (i.e. free speech) of “private” networks?

If the Federal Government wants to protect itself from being hacked, it should set up its own secure network which could be taken offline during a national security emergency, but it can’t kill what it doesn’t own.

To whom would Bill Gates give campaign money if this passes?

Steve Z on February 1, 2011 at 10:47 AM

You have to wonder if Collins really even knows what the ‘internet’ is. It’s probably some word she’s heard and was told to hire folks with know how to get her on it where it matters to her campaign and voting public. Or..she really does get it and knows the intrinsic power? Naw…not fluffy, she’s just not the type. Or at least I don’t think…??

jeanie on February 1, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Collins’ support for a measure like this doesn’t surprise me. She’s such an doofus she probably doesn’t have a clue as to what a misguided and dangerous attempt at national security this would be. But I would have expected a lot more from Liebs. Unlike Collins, Liebs is no air-head.

Good read in yesterday’s RedState:

…the plain fact is the plan as written is unworkable as a security venture, but only works as a tool to let the government control or even destroy the internet.

petefrt on February 1, 2011 at 11:17 AM

… authorized the government to take federal servers off-line in case of cyberattack, …

Why the heck does it take a new law to authorize this? Taking a server that’s been targeted offline should just be a tactical decision of the administrators, who ought to already have this authority. What kind of F#%@&* up rules are they having to abide by?

LarryD on February 1, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Oh surely they wouldn’t target certain sites that disagree with them aren’t ‘civil’.

tinkerthinker on February 1, 2011 at 11:22 AM

The fact that the voters of Maine put these two dimbulbs in the Senate really makes me wonder about their intelligence.

Ward Cleaver on February 1, 2011 at 10:30 AM

I can remember when Mainiacs were full-blooded conservative Yankees. But the state has been hijacked by refugees from NY, MA, and CN who seem intent on transforming Maine into the same hell hole they came there to escape.

petefrt on February 1, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Collins’s naivete knows no bounds.

onlineanalyst on February 1, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Talks like a four-year old, -I guess her brain works like a four-year old’s as well.

slickwillie2001 on February 1, 2011 at 11:25 AM

The only folk who want this scheme are the same folk who want to bring back the ‘fairness’ doctrine and political speech controls, the folk who fear the Tea parties…

Pure anti-American evil

JIMV on February 1, 2011 at 11:35 AM

pointing out that the White House has indicated they already have the authority to shut down portions of the private-sector Web in the event of a national security emergency under a little-used provision of the Communications Act passed one month after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Interesting that the WH took the time to find this provision.

ctmom on February 1, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Actually, it’s even MORE interesting that Congress was writing Internet regulatory statutes back in 1941.

The only two possible explanations are: time travel, or liberal re-writing of history.

Granted, the former is a physical impossibility and the latter is a patently obvious certainty. But which one is more FUN to imagine?

logis on February 1, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Wait, there’s more: Obama Regime Seeks to Have All Web-Surfing Tracked

slickwillie2001 on February 1, 2011 at 11:49 AM

This sounds like the same mentality that led to the government confiscating private guns in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The results are the same: It’s unconstitutional, and it doesn’t fix the problem in purports to fix. In fact it makes things worse.

Socratease on February 1, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Shutting down the internet in this country would lead to panic and rioting.

Blake on February 1, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Mostly due to the lack of readily available free porn.

holygoat on February 1, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Internet KILL Switch, Online Medical Records what could go wrong.

Sorry Grandma.

meci on February 1, 2011 at 12:20 PM

I said a year ago that the internet — or large parts of it — will be shut down in the run-up to the 2012 elections on the pretext of “national security.”

Now, we’ve already seen a DOJ attempt to shut-down sites in the name of “copyright infringement,” attempts to pass COICA, the FCC’s regulatory power grab (has anyone heard where the “new” GOP congress is on this?), the Cyber-security Act, and this.

Leftist governments endlessly seeks endless power. (Useful idiots like Collins idiotically enable them.) Their senses are attuned to all forms of uncontrolled free speech as a hungry predator is to the squeeks of prey. Does anybody really believe this will abate on its own?

rrpjr on February 1, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has recently indicated she plan to re-introduce the bipartisan legislation she crafted last year with Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)

Someone is kidding, right? Bipartisan?

Dandapani on February 1, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I’ve been waiting for an article about this! Thank you Ed.

kg598301 on February 1, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Collins has bristled at that characterization, pointing out that the White House has indicated they already have the authority to shut down portions of the private-sector Web…

Forgetting the bad idea that this is not to mention the Constitutional risks in play, why is Collins going to legislate power to the Executive that it already has (or claims it has to such degree that Collins agrees with it)? What, if you write the rules down twice, then that’s better?

Collins, beside being somewhat twittish, is now pushing duplicative law and adding yet another cog in the dangerously unwieldy wheels in the machine of government. Could Maine please rotate its bench?

AnonymousDrivel on February 1, 2011 at 3:09 PM

the White House has indicated they already have the authority to shut down portions of the private-sector Web in the event of a national security emergency…

OK I’ve about had it. Obviously this statement was made in response to the assertion that the govt should not have this power. And what’s the first thing this bunch of would-be dictators does? Insists they already have such power!

Not “oh, you’re right, govt should NEVER silence its critics”, or “the Constitution gives no such power to the feds”. No, it’s “what’s the big deal? We already have this power, now sit down and shut up!”

Anyone who thinks we’re not already living in a totalitarian society isn’t paying much attention. They tell us what kind of toilets we’re ALLOWED to use, what kind of light bulbs we’re ALLOWED to use, what kind of cars we’re ALLOWED to drive, etc. ad nauseum. What would YOU call it?

runawayyyy on February 1, 2011 at 3:12 PM

My son posted this joke: “After the Internet was shut down, the protesters renamed the country, Gypt.” That will bee the same if we give the president a kill switch.

flataffect on February 1, 2011 at 10:43 PM