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New bill would give president emergency control of Internet


Autos, banks, energy, medicine, the airwaves, the census, the internet, the paycheck of anyone trying to work for an honest living… There is nothing the Chicago thugocracy won’t seize control of.

Omnipotent government is the common thread here, and instead of fearing it like the Founders, people are sprinting toward it hoping for handouts.

White House internet dataInternet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

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.

Rockefeller’s revised legislation seeks to reshuffle the way the federal government addresses the topic. It requires a “cybersecurity workforce plan” from every federal agency, a “dashboard” pilot project, measurements of hiring effectiveness, and the implementation of a “comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy” in six months–even though its mandatory legal review will take a year to complete.

The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. “As soon as you’re saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it’s going to be a really big issue,” he says.

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