A new U.S. Senate bill would grant the president far-reaching emergency powers to seize control of or even shut down portions of the Internet.
The legislation announced Thursday says that companies such as broadband providers, search engines, or software firms that the 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.
That emergency authority would allow the federal government to "preserve those networks and assets and our country and protect our people," Joe Lieberman, the primary sponsor of the measure and the chairman of the Homeland Security committee, told reporters on Thursday. Lieberman is an independent senator from Connecticut who caucuses with the Democrats.
Because there are few limits on the president's emergency power, which can be renewed indefinitely, the densely worded 197-page bill (PDF) is likely to encounter stiff opposition.
TechAmerica, probably the largest U.S. technology lobby group, said it was concerned about "unintended consequences that would result from the legislation's regulatory approach" and "the potential for absolute power." And the Center for Democracy and Technology publicly worried that the Lieberman bill's emergency powers "include authority to shut down or limit Internet traffic on private systems."
The idea of an Internet "kill switch" that the president could flip is not new. A draft Senate proposal that CNET obtained in August allowed 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.
Joe Lieberman supports control, not Constitutionality.
Regardless of that A-hole, stick to the subject of the Net Neutrality issue, try not to make political remarks that have no merit or evidence. Otherwise this will just turn into a bash fest!
Now, preform self control in 3...2...
Edited by PDXMark - 6/11/10 at 12:28pm