Reminding free speech advocates and libertarians that bad bills are like zombies in DC, the “internet kill switch” will be revived in the Senate. Still sponsored by Maine Sen. Collins and Sen. Lieberman, the Sen. Snowe supported bill has been revised and will presented once more.
Cnet reports on the “improved” bill. But first we need a bit of history.
"A draft Senate proposal that CNET obtained in August 2009 authorized the White House to "declare a cybersecurity emergency," and another from Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) would have explicitly given the government the power to "order the disconnection" of certain networks or Web sites. House Democrats have taken a similar approach in their own proposals.”
As The Hill pointed out when this idea was first proposed. Those in support of the bill bawk at calling it a “kill switch” and think its merely a clarification.
“At the heart of the issue is whether the president already has the authority to intervene in private-sector networks in the event of such an emergency. Collins and other supporters of the bill contend the president has had that authority for some time under a little-known provision of the Communications Act passed one month after the December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor."
Some might question this wisdom of the timing of such an idea considering the fact that Egypt has just shut off the internet (and mobile phones) in order to aid in their crackdown on street protests. Tea party and other activists will see this as hint of what could happen here with an over-zealous President. HuffPo reports the following.
“Internet and cell-phone services were disrupted across Egypt starting overnight and throughout the day as authorities used extreme measures to hamper protesters from organizing the mass rallies called after Friday prayers.“
Then again the “kill switch” is not the only attack on the freedom of the internet and social media. As I reported a few months ago on these pages, Obama wants unprecedented and worrying access to your social media.
“In short the Obama administration wants to be able to spy on every communication that you make whether it be via smartphone or via services like Facebook and Twitter. It will require a back door “official hack” so that nothing is ultimately closed to prying government eyes according to Fox News.”
What should be most concerning is that this “kill switch” is being proposed and is backed by two Republican Senators. No doubt freedom and liberty activists country-wide will be melting the phones when this hits the Senate floor again.