Proposed Law

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (PDF link), introduced by Senators John Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), in no April Fool’s joke.  The proposed law would give President Obama have the power to shut down domestic Internet traffic (services, applications and software) during a state of emergency.  The Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will take up this proposed law.

The proposed law would create the Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor, which would be an extension of the executive branch that would have broad power to control and monitor Internet traffic to protect against cybersecurity threats.  Furthermore, the Commerce Department would be given the ability to bypass every existing law regarding privacy, and access any relevant information regarding citizens and businesses use of the Internet while investigating cybersecurity threats (real and perceived).

The proposed law makes no clear indication of what is meant by the phrases “critical information network” or a “cybersecurity emergency,” instead (broadly) leaving that interpretation to the president.  The Secretary of Commerce would have “access to all relevant data concerning [critical] networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access.”

Continue Reading Proposed US Law Would Permit Government to Shut Down the Internet