Cybersecurity on the Agenda

When the original Cybersecurity Act of 2009 was released earlier this year, bloggers howled that the government was taking over the Internet and business leaders protested. Early versions of the second draft are more vague, giving the president only the authority to “direct the national response” to a cyber threat.
Committee spokeswoman Jena Longo said the bill “will not empower a government shutdown or takeover of the Internet and any suggestion otherwise is misleading and false.”

The revised Cybersecurity Act of 2009, the work of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), gives Pres. Barack Obama “the authority ‘to declare a cyber-security emergency’ and then shut down privately owned computer networks … without defining what computer networks are critical to national security or what defines an emergency of sufficient seriousness,” reports The Washington Examiner.

The section of the bill that addresses this issue applies specifically to the national response to a severe attack or natural disaster. It is based on longstanding statutory authorities for wartime use of communications networks. A Senate source familiar with the bill compared the president’s power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001.

When the original Cybersecurity Act of 2009 was released earlier this year, bloggers howled that the government was taking over the Internet and business leaders protested. Early versions of the second draft are more vague, giving the president only the authority to “direct the national response” to a cyber threat.
Committee spokeswoman Jena Longo said the bill “will not empower a government shutdown or takeover of the Internet and any suggestion otherwise is misleading and false.”

The revised Cybersecurity Act of 2009, the work of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), gives Pres. Barack Obama “the authority ‘to declare a cyber-security emergency’ and then shut down privately owned computer networks … without defining what computer networks are critical to national security or what defines an emergency of sufficient seriousness,” reports The Washington Examiner.

The section of the bill that addresses this issue applies specifically to the national response to a severe attack or natural disaster. It is based on longstanding statutory authorities for wartime use of communications networks. A Senate source familiar with the bill compared the president’s power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001.

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