Probably Not The Best Time To Introduce Legislation That Can Be Described As Having An 'Internet Kill Switch'

from the that's-not-going-to-fly dept

We’ve already discussed how, contrary to the claims of some, there really isn’t an attempt to create “an internet kill switch” in the US. There is a (admittedly bad) proposal concerning how the US would respond in the event of some sort of “cyber attack.” The proposal itself would allow the government to mandate how certain “critical infrastructure” pieces of the internet should respond in the event of such an attack. What isn’t explained is why such a legal mandate is really needed. If you’re running the Hoover Dam, say, (and stupidly have important infrastructure connected to the internet) and the feds point out a way to avoid or minimize an ongoing hack attack, are you really going to say no?

That said, since the bill has falsely been described as having an internet kill switch, it seems like particularly bad timing to re-introduce it now, just after Egypt actually did pull out its own version of an internet kill switch.

While it may be a good thing that this bill gets killed off no matter what (since it is a bad piece of legislation), I’m a bit worried by how quickly everyone has jumped on this “internet kill switch” claim to describe it. What happened in Egypt is important to pay attention to and to learn from, but it doesn’t mean that we should immediately jump to the conclusion that that’s what the US is trying to do. There are serious problems with the bill, and we should discuss those, rather than just calling it an internet kill switch, when that’s not what’s in the bill.

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Comments on “Probably Not The Best Time To Introduce Legislation That Can Be Described As Having An 'Internet Kill Switch'”

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DataShade (profile) says:

True, I’d hate to see overzealous privacy-advocates paint an *inaccurate* portrait of the newest in Senator Lieberman’s long line of anti-populist anti-democracy nonsense. I wonder, tho’, if there hadn’t been a big public outcry, would Lieberman have hired out-of-work Egyptian policemen to dress as rioters and loot the bill? I mean, what’s good for the gooose….

aikiwolfie (profile) says:

Just as the Japanese have an understandable but unhealthy fascination with nuclear apocalyptic holocausts, Americans are totally paranoid about losing their liberty and freedoms for good reason.

Given some of the legislation that has been passed over the years that gives American governments frighting powers of intrusion into peoples lives in contrast with the extreme secrecy under which all American administrations operate it’s not surprising people have reacted the way they have. Especially if there is no good explanation why this bill is needed.

In light of the recent reports of ISPs refusing to host Wikileaks because of intimidation from the US administration it’s very easy to believe that the American government craves a way to turn off the Internet. It was certainly a lot easier to operate in secrete when the Internet wasn’t an issue.

Anonymous Coward says:


Yet, that overwhelming desire for freedom at every turn means that Americans are some of the easier targets for terrorists to hit, because that very freedom keeps all the doors and windows open at all times.

America’s inability to even secure it’s own borders, caught up in a fight of the rights of illegal immigrants (think about the children!) is itself a great symbol. Absolute freedom, like any absolute thing, usually backfires in the long run.

pixelpusher220 (profile) says:

unintended consequences

As NBC reported last night, the shut off of internet and cell phones actually served to ‘focus’ the demonstrations.

Before the shut off there were small demonstrations in many places. Once people were no longer able to communicate/coordinate, they all just went to the one main square – making the protests seem even *bigger* (not to say they are small either).

pixelpusher220 (profile) says:

Hands off...

you mean the ‘free market’ of child labor? Hey, it’s a free country after all, you should be able to do whatever you want right?

How about this definition:
The ‘free market’ is about screwing as many people as possible while giving them the barest minimum you can get away with.

unadulterated capitalism isn’t nearly as pretty as you might imagine. unadulterated gov’t control isn’t good either.

Compromise is how govt’s form and function.

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