Sunday, August 30, 2009

"This Site Closed For Your Protection"

Picture embedded below. (from


This picture links to the article at which expresses concern over the ambiguity of a revised bill. If passed it would give the president 'emergency control of the internet', sort of.

"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."

A situation may develop that requires the government to step in taking temporary 'control of the internet' for the collective defense and protection of the country. The problem here is that nothing is defined, nothing is spelled out. What constitutes and emergency situation? What are the limits of this power? Is there a time frame or thresh hold where the government must relinquish control? Without some specificity the executive branch is effectively given free range to do as it wishes for any reason. I use executive branch because this is not just about Obama. This is about growing government in unforeseeable ways giving unreasonable discretion and power to whomever holds the office. Even if Obama chooses not to abuse this assuming it passes, that does not mean the next president will not; or the president after them and so on. More specificity should be added to the bill before it is even brought up for consideration.

Allahpundit opines similarly; "We’ve written about this before but the new and “improved” version of the bill’s just been leaked by Jay Rockefeller’s office. Remember the Bush years, when the Democrats ferociously opposed executive power? Good times.
Here’s the relevant section of the statute. The problem’s not that it explicitly grants Obama all sorts of detailed powers; it’s that it’s not detailed at all, leaving the limits of executive authority in an emergency perhaps only to The One’s imagination.
" (


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