A sign of things to come:
Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.
They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.
The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.
Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to “direct the national response to the cyber threat” if necessary for “the national defense and security.” The White House is supposed to engage in “periodic mapping” of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies “shall share” requested information with the federal government. (“Cyber” is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)
“The language has changed but it doesn’t contain any real additional limits,” EFF’s Tien says. “It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)…The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There’s no provision for any administrative process or review.
Like those dozens of Czars, that are not subject to Congressional oversight?
That’s where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it.”
Translation: If your company is deemed “critical,” a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network
This is yet another piece of legislation that is being pushed through and foisted upon the unsuspecting public: Reporter Declan McCullagh is waiting for an answer to his question,
The revised version gives the executive branch 180 days to “implement” a “comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy” and 90 days to develop a plan to implement a “dashboard pilot project.” But the mandated legal review won’t be done until 1 year. Why not wait until the legal review is done before implementing a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy?”
In all seriousness: if you were elected President and wanted to transform the U.S. into a third-world banana republic like Venezuela, how would your policies differ from those of Obama?
Indeed, as I have pointed out in the past, the latest Venezuelan Constitution grants Chavez control over the internet.