Obama’s Desktop: Press Any Key to Turn Off Internet

Posted: August 29, 2009 in Security
Tags: , , ,

One moment you’re surfing the Internet – looking up a sports score, a recipe, doing homework – and the next it’s suddenly all gone. How could that happen? As part of the revamped version of the proposed Cybersecurity Act of 2009, President Obama would gain the ability to seize “Emergency Control” of the U.S. Internet and shut it down.

While terminology in the bill has changed since it was first proposed, as it stands the president can declare “a cybersecurity emergency” and exercise “amorphous powers.” Computer professionals are not pleased at what this could mean and companies that rely solely on e-commerce are concerned.

The bill also states that the government would create their own set of standards for security and would license “cybersecurity professionals” who would oversee the new measures. This puts the entire Internet industry in the United States at the mercy of the government.

Questions: What sort of “emergency” would constitute Obama shutting off the Internet in the U.S.? Why does the government feel compelled to take over computer security for private corporations? Given how much private business is now run on computers, isn’t this a bit too much control for the government to have?

From the world of private investigator Chase Michael DeBarlo:

“What’s wrong?”

Rock Rickman didn’t look at me to answer the question, but his grave expression soured further as he continued tapping on the keyboard. “I’ve been trying to dig up more information for you about Baxter for two straight days, but it’s been near impossible with all the latest security crackdowns.”

I frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Whenever some government Poindexter gets it in his craw that there could be some soft security somewhere he shuts down an entire grid. It completely screws up routing and I can’t reach half the country most of the time. If the information I was looking for you was located elsewhere then I might have a shot, but it’s usually not and even if it were it may try to take the same path through all the routers that are down.”

“So what are you telling me, Rock?”

“I’m sorry, but your case is going to take longer than you thought.”

I sighed. “Well, I guess it’s a good thing it’s not for a social studies assignment that’s due tomorrow morning, but my client is going to be pissed.”

  1. Hello there,
    Good post, I just stumbled upon it and I’m already a fan.

  2. […] powers” to do as he wished, such as turn it off. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Obama’s Desktop: Press Any Key to Turn Off InternetSmells Like A Cap-and-Trade LoopholeNet neutrality wins: FCC to vote yes unanimously on open […]

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