Obama Can Shut Down Internet For 4 Months Under New Emergency Powers

Obama Can Shut Down Internet For 4 Months Under New Emergency Powers

June 28th, 2010

Paul Joseph Watson, Prison Planet.com-

Obama Internet

President Obama will be handed the power to shut down the Internet for at least four months without Congressional oversight if the Senate votes for the infamous Internet ‘kill switch’ bill, which was approved by a key Senate committee yesterday and now moves to the floor.

The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, which is being pushed hard by Senator Joe Lieberman, would hand absolute power to the federal government to close down networks, and block incoming Internet traffic from certain countries under a declared national emergency.

Despite the Center for Democracy and Technology and 23 other privacy and technology organizations sending letters to Lieberman and other backers of the bill expressing concerns that the legislation could be used to stifle free speech, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed in the bill in advance of a vote on the Senate floor.

In response to widespread criticism of the bill, language was added that would force the government to seek congressional approval to extend emergency measures beyond 120 days. Still, this would hand Obama the authority to shut down the Internet on a whim without Congressional oversight or approval for a period of no less than four months.

The Senators pushing the bill rejected the claim that the bill was a ‘kill switch’ for the Internet, not by denying that Obama would be given the authority to shut down the Internet as part of this legislation, but by arguing that he already had the power to do so.

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President could get power to turn off Internet

Obama Internet kill switch plan approved by US Senate

President could get power to turn off Internet

By Grant Gross | Published: 11:02 GMT, 25 June 10

A US Senate committee has approved a wide-ranging cybersecurity bill that some critics have suggested would give the US president the authority to shut down parts of the Internet during a cyberattack.

Senator Joe Lieberman and other bill sponsors have refuted the charges that the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act gives the president an Internet “kill switch.” Instead, the bill puts limits on the powers the president already has to cause “the closing of any facility or stations for wire communication” in a time of war, as described in the Communications Act of 1934, they said in a breakdown of the bill published on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee website.

The committee unanimously approved an amended version of the legislation by voice vote Thursday, a committee spokeswoman said. The bill next moves to the Senate floor for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled.

The bill, introduced earlier this month, would establish a White House Office for Cyberspace Policy and a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications, which would work with private US companies to create cybersecurity requirements for the electrical grid, telecommunications networks and other critical infrastructure.

The bill also would allow the US 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. The president would need congressional approval to extend a national cyber-emergency beyond 120 days under an amendment to the legislation approved by the committee.

The legislation would give the US Department of Homeland Security authority that it does not now have to respond to cyber-attacks, Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, said earlier this month.

“Our responsibility for cyber defence goes well beyond the public sector because so much of cyberspace is owned and operated by the private sector,” he said. “The Department of Homeland Security has actually shown that vulnerabilities in key private sector networks like utilities and communications could bring our economy down for a period of time if attacked or commandeered by a foreign power or cyber terrorists.”

Other sponsors of the bill are Senators Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat.

One critic said Thursday that the bill will hurt the nation’s security, not help it. Security products operate in a competitive market that works best without heavy government intervention, said Wayne Crews, vice president for policy and director of technology studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an anti-regulation think tank.

“Policymakers should reject such proposals to centralize cyber security risk management,” Crews said in an e-mail. “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.”

Cybersecurity technologies and services thrive on competition, he added. “The unmistakable tenor of the cybersecurity discussion today is that of government steering while the market rows,” he said. “To be sure, law enforcement has a crucial role in punishing intrusions on private networks and infrastructure. But government must coexist with, rather than crowd out, private sector security technologies.”

On Wednesday, 24 privacy and civil liberties groups sent a letter raising concerns about the legislation to the sponsors. The bill gives the new National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications “significant authority” over critical infrastructure, but doesn’t define what critical infrastructure is covered, the letter said.

Without a definition of critical infrastructure there are concerns that “it includes elements of the Internet that Americans rely on every day to engage in free speech and to access information,” said the letter, signed by the Center for Democracy and Technology, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other groups.

“Changes are needed to ensure that cybersecurity measures do not unnecessarily infringe on free speech, privacy, and other civil liberties interests,” the letter added.

 


http://news.techworld.com/security/3228198/obama-internet-kill-switch-plan-approved-by-us-senate/

Napolitano: Internet Monitoring Needed to Fight Homegrown Terrorism

  – Associated Press

 – June 18, 2010

Napolitano: Internet Monitoring Needed to Fight Homegrown Terrorism

Fighting homegrown terrorism by monitoring Internet communications is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security, the nation’s homeland security chief said Friday. 

WASHINGTON — Fighting homegrown terrorism by monitoring Internet communications is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security, the nation’s homeland security chief said Friday. 

As terrorists increasingly recruit U.S. citizens, the government needs to constantly balance Americans’ civil rights and privacy with the need to keep people safe, said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. 

But finding that balance has become more complex as homegrown terrorists have used the Internet to reach out to extremists abroad for inspiration and training. Those contacts have spurred a recent rash of U.S.-based terror plots and incidents. 

“The First Amendment protects radical opinions, but we need the legal tools to do things like monitor the recruitment of terrorists via the Internet,” Napolitano told a gathering of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. 

Napolitano’s comments suggest an effort by the Obama administration to reach out to its more liberal, Democratic constituencies to assuage fears that terrorist worries will lead to the erosion of civil rights. 

The administration has faced a number of civil liberties and privacy challenges in recent months as it has tried to increase airport security by adding full-body scanners, or track suspected terrorists traveling into the United States from other countries. 

“Her speech is sign of the maturing of the administration on this issue,” said Stewart Baker, former undersecretary for policy with the Department of Homeland Security. “They now appreciate the risks and the trade-offs much more clearly than when they first arrived, and to their credit, they’ve adjusted their preconceptions.” 

Underscoring her comments are a number of recent terror attacks over the past year where legal U.S. residents such as Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad and accused Fort Hood, Texas, shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, are believed to have been inspired by the Internet postings of violent Islamic extremists. 

And the fact that these are U.S. citizens or legal residents raises many legal and constitutional questions. 

Napolitano said it is wrong to believe that if security is embraced, liberty is sacrificed. 

She added, “We can significantly advance security without having a deleterious impact on individual rights in most instances. At the same time, there are situations where trade-offs are inevitable.” 

As an example, she noted the struggle to use full-body scanners at airports caused worries that they would invade people’s privacy. 

The scanners are useful in identifying explosives or other nonmetal weapons that ordinary metal-detectors might miss — such as the explosives that authorities said were successfully brought on board the Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He is accused of trying to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear, but the explosives failed, and only burned Abdulmutallab. 

U.S. officials, said Napolitano, have worked to institute a number of restrictions on the scanners’ use in order to minimize that. The scans cannot be saved or stored on the machines by the operator, and Transportation Security Agency workers can’t have phones or cameras that could capture the scan when near the machine.

New Bill Gives Obama ‘Kill Switch’ To Shut Down The Internet

New Bill Gives Obama ‘Kill Switch’ To Shut Down The Internet

 

           

overnment would have “absolute power” to seize control of the world wide web under Lieberman legislation

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The federal government would have “absolute power” to shut down the Internet under the terms of a new US Senate bill being pushed by Joe Lieberman, legislation which would hand President Obama a figurative “kill switch” to seize control of the world wide web in response to a Homeland Security directive.

Lieberman has been pushing for government regulation of the Internet for years under the guise of cybersecurity, but this new bill goes even further in handing emergency powers over to the feds which could be used to silence free speech under the pretext of a national emergency.

“The legislation says that companies such as broadband providers, search engines or software firms that the US Government selects “shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed” by the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone failing to comply would be fined,” reports ZDNet’s Declan McCullagh.

The 197-page bill (PDF) is entitled Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, or PCNAA.

Technology lobbying group TechAmerica warned that the legislation created “the potential for absolute power,” while the Center for Democracy and Technology worried that the bill’s emergency powers “include authority to shut down or limit internet traffic on private systems.”

The bill has the vehement support of Senator Jay Rockefeller, who last year asked during a congressional hearing, “Would it had been better if we’d have never invented the Internet?” while fearmongering about cyber-terrorists preparing attacks.

The largest Internet-based corporations are seemingly happy with the bill, primarily because it contains language that will give them immunity from civil lawsuits and also reimburse them for any costs incurred if the Internet is shut down for a period of time.

“If there’s an “incident related to a cyber vulnerability” after the President has declared an emergency and the affected company has followed federal standards, plaintiffs’ lawyers cannot collect damages for economic harm. And if the harm is caused by an emergency order from the Feds, not only does the possibility of damages virtually disappear, but the US Treasury will even pick up the private company’s tab,” writes McCullagh.

Tom Gann, McAfee’s vice president for government relations, described the bill as a “very important piece of legislation”.

As we have repeatedly warned for years, the federal government is desperate to seize control of the Internet because the establishment is petrified at the fact that alternative and independent media outlets are now eclipsing corporate media outlets in terms of audience share, trust, and influence.

We witnessed another example of this on Monday when establishment Congressman Bob Etheridge was publicly shamed after he was shown on video assaulting two college students who asked him a question. Two kids with a flip cam and a You Tube account could very well have changed the course of a state election, another startling reminder of the power of the Internet and independent media, and why the establishment is desperate to take that power away.

The government has been searching for any avenue possible through which to regulate free speech on the Internet and strangle alternative media outlets, with the FTC recently proposing a “Drudge Tax” that would force independent media organizations to pay fees that would be used to fund mainstream newspapers.

Similar legislation aimed at imposing Chinese-style censorship of the Internet and giving the state the power to shut down networks has already been passed globally, including in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

We have extensively covered efforts to scrap the internet as we know it and move toward a greatly restricted “internet 2″ system. Handing government the power to control the Internet would only be the first step towards this system, whereby individual ID’s and government permission would be required simply to operate a website.

The Lieberman bill needs to be met with fierce opposition at every level and from across the political spectrum. Regulation of the Internet would not only represent a massive assault on free speech, it would also create new roadblocks for e-commerce and as a consequence further devastate the economy.

“Drudge Tax”: Government Agency Declares War On Conservative Online Journalism

“Drudge Tax”: Government Agency Declares War On Conservative Online Journalism

June 4th, 2010 Posted By Erik Wong.

mattdrudge

The internet is the new Talk Radio, in that it is completely run by Conservatives. This truth is proven in the very name attached to this act of suppression, the “Drudge Tax.” They might as well call it the “Right-Wing Tax,” they are not hiding what this attempt at Totalitarianism is directed towards. The left owns 90% of the MSM, yet they know that much of America is using the internet to see through their bullshit. Their poll numbers are tanking, and this scares them. That is how this “Tax” came into being. That’s what this “Tax” seeks to control.

The Washington Times:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking ways to “reinvent” journalism, and that’s a cause for concern. According to a May 28 draft proposal, the agency thinks government should be at the center of a media overhaul. The bureaucracy sees it as a problem that the Internet has introduced a wealth of information options to consumers, forcing media companies to adapt and experiment to meet changing market needs. FTC’s policy staff fears this new reality.

“There are reasons for concern that experimentation may not produce a robust and sustainable business model for commercial journalism,” the report states. With no faith that the market will work things out for the better, government thinks it must come to the rescue.

The ideas being batted around to save the industry share a common theme: They are designed to empower bureaucrats, not consumers. For instance, one proposal would, “Allow news organizations to agree jointly on a mechanism to require news aggregators and others to pay for the use of online content, perhaps through the use of copyright licenses.”

In other words, government policy would encourage a tax on websites like the Drudge Report, a must-read source for the news links of the day, so that the agency can redistribute the funds collected to various newspapers. Such a tax would hit other news aggregators, such as Digg, Fark and Reddit, which not only gather links, but provide a forum for a lively and entertaining discussion of the issues raised by the stories. Fostering a robust public-policy debate, not saving a particular business model, should be the goal of journalism in the first place.

The report also discusses the possibility of offering tax exemptions to news organizations, establishing an AmeriCorps for reporters and creating a national fund for local news organizations. The money for those benefits would come from a suite of new taxes. A 5 percent tax on consumer electronic devices such as iPads, Kindles and laptops that let consumers read the news could be used to encourage people to keep reading the dead-tree version of the news. Other taxes might be levied on the radio and television spectrum, advertising and cell phones.

The conflict of interest in having the government pay or contribute to a newsman’s salary could not be more obvious. Reporters and columnists would have little incentive to offer critical analyses of tax increases that might mean a boost in the pocketbook. Once Congress has the power to fund the news, it can at any time attach “strings” designed to promote certain viewpoints – in the name of fairness, of course. Each year at budget time, the Fourth Estate would scramble to be worthy in the eyes of Capitol Hill for increased support. It is hardly a surprise that the heavily subsidized National Public Radio frequently presents issues in a way favorable to Washington’s tax-and-spend agenda.

Self-respecting journalists must reject this tempting government bribe as the FTC brings its proposals to a round-table discussion scheduled for June 15. When it comes to the media, consumers lose most when government suppresses innovation in the name of “saving” old business models.

BIG SIS IN CONTROL: Bill would give ‘Homeland Security’ emergency cyber powers…

Bill would give DHS emergency cyber powers

June 3, 2010

Cybersecurity Update – Tune in weekdays at 30 minutes past the hour for the latest cybersecurity news on The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris (6-10 a.m.) and The DorobekInsider with Chris Dorobek (3-7 p.m.). Listen live at FederalNewsRadio.com or on the radio at 1500 and 820 AM in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

 

  • We’re learning more about the cybersecurity package forming in the Senate. Wired.com reports Sen. Joe Lieberman, (I-Conn.) wants to give the federal government the power to take over civilian networks’ security, if there’s an “imminent cyber threat.” It’s part of a draft bill, co-sponsored by Senators Lieberman and Susan Collins, that provides DHS with the authority to ensure that critical infrastructure stays up and running in the face of a looming hack attack. (Stay up to date with all the latest cybersecurity news by clicking here.)  
  • The Senate version of the fiscal 2011 Defense authorization bill scheduled to be released later this week is going to include funding for pilot programs that will explore new ways for Defense Department agencies and contractors to have greater access to cybersecurity tools and services. NextGov cites sources from the Armed Services Committee. Their completed markup of its version of the Defense bill will include funding for projects that require the department to partner with industry to track cyber threats, and speed up the acquisition of cybersecurity products and services. The funding would add to the $10 million in the fiscal 2010 supplemental appropriations bill the Senate passed on May 27 for the Defense and Homeland Security departments to conduct cybersecurity pilots. 
  • Agencies looking to establish super-secure Internet hookups under the Trusted Internet Connection program now have a vendor to turn to. The General Services Administration has issued the first certification for a TIC product to AT&T Government Solutions. The company’s Managed Trusted Internet Protocol Services are available under GSA’s Networx telecommunications contract. A spokesman says AT&T is the first provider to receive authority to activate trusted connections. 

Check out all of Federal News Radio’s coverage of cybersecurity issues here.

Internet Freedom Challenged by Obama FCC

Internet Freedom Challenged by Obama FCC

May 21st, 2010

By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown, ExposeObama

 Obama wants to control the internet like they do in China

House Minority Leader John Boehner recently accused the Obama Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of pursuing a “government takeover of the Internet.”

Specifically, Boehner said that the FCC is engaging in an action that “amounts to a government takeover of the Internet, and yet another government takeover of a large portion of the private sector by the Obama administration.”

The scheme amounts to an online “Fairness Doctrine” but it goes under another equally benign name: “network neutrality.”

Can you imagine what would happen if we were required under penalty of law to “balance” all the information on the Internet? Well that’s exactly what Barack Obama wants.

Recently, the effort suffered a major setback when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals put up a road block to the plan. Fox News’ Phil Kerpen reported: “That effort suffered a major setback when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals emphatically smacked down the FCC’s regulatory proposals in Comcast v. FCC.”

But Obama’s not going to let the court get in his way. He’s going to “go nuclear” and defy the courts.

Kerpen continued: “President Obama and his close friend and FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, however, refuse to back down. Instead they’re escalating to the regulatory equivalent of a nuclear attack on the free-market Internet: Chairman Genachowski will announce today his intention to reclassify broadband Internet as an old-fashioned telephone system as a pretext for pervasive regulatory control.”

The key phrase in Kerpen’s report is “pretext for pervasive regulatory control.” That means, once they have their foot in the door — once they have control — Obama and the FCC will go about instituting their own version of the “Fairness Doctrine” on the Internet.

According Contributing Editor Neil Stevens of RedState.com: “If the FCC is allowed to put the Internet in the U.S. under those powers, then the Obama administration will have total power to tax internet users, regulate content on internet servers, and even institute price controls on internet services.”

Of course, Obama and the FCC don’t really have the authority to do what they are setting out to do, but they don’t really care. The authority over regulation actually rests with Congress, but that means that Congress must act and exert its authority to stop this plan.

Obama’s FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski may be the man who will attempt to implement this plan to take over the internet but there’s more to this story. One of the shadow organizations that is joined-at-the-hip to Genachowski and is driving this plan is a Marxist-run organization ironically called Free Press.

FOX News’ Glenn Beck has already alerted his viewers to the plot saying: “Free Press has [had] three confirmed meetings now with Obama’s FCC to work on new Internet regulations…. The FCC chairman, not to be confused with the diversity ‘czar’ – this is the chairman of the FCC, Julius Genachowski – chose Free Press spokeswoman, Jen Howard, to be his press secretary.”

In another venue, Beck said: “The FCC is being inundated by a special interest group ironically named Free Press, whose goal it is to limit America’s free press and freedom of speech. This special interest group also claims that it’s due to special interest groups that it has become necessary for them to intervene on our behalf.”

Seton Motley, contributing editor of Newsbusters.org, has also addressed what is going on behind the scenes: “The groundwork for government information totalitarianism – favored by people like Hugo Chavez-loving FCC ‘Diversity Czar’ Mark Lloyd and Marxist ‘media reform’-outfit Free Press founder Robert McChesney – is being laid in the (p)lan being crafted by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.”

And just in case you may still doubt the motives of the folks creating this plan, consider these four past statements by the man-behind-the-curtain, Free Press’ founder Robert McChesney:

1.       “Any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself.”

2.       “There is no real answer but to remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles.”

3.       “We need to do whatever we can to limit capitalist propaganda, regulate it, minimalize it and perhaps even eliminate it.”

4.       “At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”

Wow, no need to do more than quote their own statements