Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Big Brother Nudges Ever Closer


The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 will grant unprecedented powers to the president to shut down the internet on a whim.

The bill's draft states that "the president may order a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic" and would give the government ongoing access to "all relevant data concerning (critical infrastructure) networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access."

Essentially, the Act would federalize critical infrastructure security. Since many of our critical infrastructure systems (banks, telecommunications, energy) are in the hands of the private sector, the bill would create a major shift of power away from users and companies to the federal government. This is a potentially dangerous approach that favors the dramatic over the sober. response


Read more about it here

It seems that as long as the bogey man, Mr. Terrorist, is tossed around on a daily basis, more and more citizen rights can be eroded.

8 comments:

  1. I assume that in practice it wouldn't mean shutting down the entire internet as that would bring the whole economy to a halt. It must mean shutting down particular parts of the internet to stop crimes like fraud or child abuse. The powers might only be rarely used but they do allow for potentially anti-democratic initiatives. Though giving the government more control over the private sector might actually be a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nick:
    It was tested recently in California and brought all business down.
    The porn/fraud/paedophilia element is handled by sophisticated police monitoring.
    I totally disagree with you on the monitoring of the private sector. Who is then to determine what are so-called threats?
    Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, the private sector is already extensively monitored by government for health and safety, employment contracts, equal opportunities etc. The problem of who defines so-called threats is of course long-standing. Like the terrorist raids they had in Manchester recently - so far no bomb-making material of any kind has been found, surprise surprise.

    But you're right that governments are always trying to take new powers by stealth, and we need to keep a very close watch on what they're up to.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It will be interesting to see if Obama vetoes that bill if it comes to him for his signature.

    GFB

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's a bill - let's hope that there are enough enlightened senators and representatives with enough integrity to do the right thing when it comes time to argue and vote on it.

    I can see that one day, there might be reason to shut the internet down - in the most dire of emergencies, martial law in place, nuclear war imminent, etc etc. It depends who is making the decision to do it. I'd trust Obama, but if this became law and another president, from either side of the political divide was in power, it could be a whole different story.

    I'd like to hear more argument from those I trust (Bernie Sanders for instance)on this topic.

    It's easy to become paranoid - as the comments under the RAW article show.

    We have to accept that with the freedom the internet has given us, business, and essential services such as water and electricity, there will be risks. How much of a risk are we are willing to accept?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nick, GFB & T:
    I'm reading "The Road" at the moment and perhaps with my ill health and the depressive aspect of this book I'm looking at the world with more than usual pessimism :-(
    I must post on brighter topics to kickstart my normal optimism!
    I'll trust more in DemsWotRulesUs, yeah?
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  7. WWW...think Won't Get Fooled Again by the Who. Meet the new Boss same as the old Boss

    ReplyDelete
  8. GFB:
    And I'm particularly depressed by the fact he's not going after the torturers thus legitimitizing the atrocities.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete

Some of you are having trouble, I've removed captcha and verification so we'll see how that goes. My apologies. Blogger is putting up far too many roadblocks. Thanks for the emails alerting me.
wisewebwomanatgmail.com