Bill Supporters Say There’s ‘No Kill Switch’

The Communications Act of 1934 said the president of the United States could cause “the closing of any facility or stations for wire communication” in a time of war. In today’s infinitely different world, a newly proposed Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act would limit the president’s powers to do that, according to some sponsors of the bill.

But critics of the bill believe the opposite, claiming the bill – approved by voice vote last Thursday – would give the U.S. president the power to shut down parts of the Internet during a cyberattack. In an article on the PC World website, Grant Gross says the bill would establish a White House Office for Cyberspace Policy and a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications. It would also allow the president to “take emergency actions to protect critical parts of the Internet, including ordering owners of critical infrastructure to implement emergency response plans, during a cyber-emergency,” says the article.

Whether or not the president’s power of the Internet would really be comparable to a “kill switch” remains unclear. However, Wayne Crews, vice president for policy and director of technology studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told PCWorld in an e-mail that, “The Internet that will evolve if government can resort to a ‘kill switch’ will be vastly different from, and inferior to, the safer one that will emerge otherwise.”

To read the PW World article, click here: senate_panel_approves_controversial_cybersecurity_bill.html