New bill strips president’s power to shut off Internet

By Sahil Kapur
Friday, February 18, 2011 11:04 EDT
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WASHINGTON – A bipartisan trio of senators has introduced a new cybersecurity bill that eliminates the president’s authority to switch off the Internet.

The “kill switch,” as it’s known, exists in the 1934 Telecommunications Act, which was amended in 1996. It gives the president powers to shut off all regulated telecommunications if he or she deems it vital to national security interests.

But that’s not going to fly any more, say Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Tom Carper (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

The three senators on Thursday introduced The Cybersecurity Freedom Act of 2011, which would take away the president’s power to shut off the Internet.

The measure states that “neither the president, the director of the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications, nor any other officer or employee of the federal government should have the authority to shut down the Internet.”

Lieberman said part of the purpose was to clear up controversy surrounding cybersecurity legislation he introduced last year, which was mistakenly thought to have created a kill switch but merely limited the president’s ability to use the feature.

“We want to clear the air once and for all,” said Lieberman, the chairman of the Homeland Security committee. “…There is no so-called ‘kill switch’ in our legislation because the very notion is antithetical to our goal of providing precise and targeted authorities to the president.”

“This legislation applies to the most critical infrastructures that Americans rely on in their daily lives — energy transmission, water supply, financial services, for example – to ensure that those assets are protected in case of a potentially crippling cyber attack.”

Collins added that the legislation contains “explicit language prohibiting” a US president from doing what Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak did.

“Our bill contains protections to prevent the president from denying Americans access to the Internet,” she said.

NextGov reports that the bill would also “allow judges to review the government’s designations of so-called covered critical infrastructure, or systems that could cause catastrophes if disrupted.”

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  • Anonymous

    Joe Lieberman doesn’t want the internet shut off for everyone.

    He wants government officials to continue to have internet while DHS orders millions of other people shut off.

    The DHS should NOT be put in charge of the internet.

    Do NOT trust Joe Lieberman.

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    Ah, the market has spoken, too much money to be lost if you throw the “kill switch”. Has to do with those little adds on the right hand side of the page, the subliminal popcorn messages. But thanks guys it’s the thought that counts.

  • Anonymous

    Joe always looking out for whats right Leiberman, what a manipulating shit stain.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IA2XCA7JNM6SPZZG4HURXHEYBY Trippin Mczoink

    Oh, sure! They’ll just destroy any “kill switch” they’ve implemented, just like they stopped the “Total Information Awareness” program after all the backlash over the All-Seeing Eye.

    Freedom is slavery, war is peace, free trade creates jobs, privatizing Social Security contributions strengthens it, and they’re only photographing your teenage daughter’s naked body at airports to fight the terrorists.

  • Guest

    It is clear that the authoritarian strain in this country is endangering basic human rights, including access to information. We need to keep the internet free.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t tell me I have to give this wrinkled up prune face credit for something?

    Ecchhhh…gives me the willies. There’s got to be a catch someplace.

    The only good thing about Gore having the presidency stolen was that Lieberman didn’t come along for the ride and end up VP.

  • Anonymous

    When cell & Internet service are shut off in America along with cable/satellite TV, we will already have descended into chaos (if that happens). I don’t think it is likely. Most Americans are sheep and will stay inside, vote against their own economic interests and watch fantasy fear mongers on Faux.

    Americans are fat & happy and won’t stick together to reclaim civil liberties and rights. This is sad, but Wisconsin will eventually attack or incite violence in the protest crowds. The people will go home and we’ll have no economy in five years whatsoever.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Joe Lieberman is involved in something that sounds great? Where’s the trojan horse?

  • Anonymous

    That’s probably the rub.

  • Anonymous

    I must be hallucinating. Joe Lieberman defending personal liberties?

  • Anonymous

    I’m really divided on this… I don’t want an internet kill switch but if Lieberman doesn’t want it either I must be wrong and must be missing something. He ALWAYS has other motives. A little help? Why would Lieberman want to kill the power of the kill switch? I’m so confused.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t Lieberman quitting? Perhaps he decided to do one decent thing so he will be remembered for it.

  • Anonymous

    For 99% of Internet users during normal times, shutting down domains via either having a nice chat with the hosting company or by taking of the private property known as the domain name is more than sufficient. In other words, this story is moot as the power exists in our government in other forms that do not require law, apparently.

    Let’s also not forget that a blanket “kill” switch as mentioned would be very detrimental to the Corporate Overlords bottom line. When the time comes, only human communications will be cut.

  • Anonymous

    LMAO!! Yeah… errr…, Doubtful!

  • Robert Shaftoe

    While they’re haggling over how far they can go to clamp down on us, why are we cowering in REACTION?

    Why not build-out our own networks which link into the Internet. Sure if they want to kill the part of the Internet THEY control, they will do great damage to commerce, everyone who uses the Internet, and their own reputation (similar to Mubarak). But they can’t keep you from talking over your own networks.

    You can help build the HINTERNET: https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/HInternet

    Basically it’s a WIFI Mesh network where each ‘node’ interconnects with those around it. Packets are routed through to the closest gateway on the network. The more of us there are, the better this works. You can do this with a regular Linksys WRT54G(version2) or WRT54GL(any version) router.

    It won’t be screaming fast and no, you won’t be surfing porn on it. But you’ll be able to communicate even if they take-down our beloved Internet, or parts of it.

    This also has massive utility during emergencies.

    COME ON, stop RE-ACTING and let’s start CREATING!!!

    And, if you are interested in getting set up with your own FM or TV station: http://www.freeradio.org/

  • DesertSun59

    LOL! Once again, is totally impossible to ‘shut off the Internet’. No way. No how.

    This bill is addresses a myth just like the myth of preventing Sharia Law from becoming ‘commonplace in the US’.

  • gypski®

    Looks like Collins is trying to help rehabilitate Liebbie, and like the GOP is against blocking thbe internet. But then, there’s the House. Cluster fucks all around.

  • Anonymous

    By, “government officials”, I assume you mean to include, “members of DHS, Chamber of Commerce, Federal Reserve, Any Corporate Citizen listed on the NYSE or (maybe) NASDAQ, etc.”? ‘Cause let’s face it, the government itself already has it’s own private networks paid for by taxpayers. Corporations on the other hand, have dropped their leased lines in favor of conducting business over the taxpayer funded corporate owned Internet. I doubt many Congress members would remain if office for long if it was their overlord that lost money due to an “Internet” shutdown. What they want to do is stop the spread of news between human citizens. At first they’ll do so with a simple DNS eminant-domain-style seizure of privately owned domains. Once people adapt with an open, distributed replacement, the fascists will up the ante. It’s truly a matter of survival to the Corporate Citizens to grab as much power as possible and this is merely a single tool at their disposal.

  • Anonymous

    No, it has much more to do with the massive amounts of banking, trading, EFT’s, even VOIP and other business needs transmitted over the Public Network by Corporate Citizens that have found a cheap replacement for private leased lines. That part of the Internet will not be touched and so of course there will be no “kill switch”. They have much more elegant and targeted solutions that require no law.

  • Anonymous

    You are dead-on correct. This is merely noise, information released to make us all feel good and assume that because the KILL SWITCH has been stopped, communications between human citizens can now be assumed safe.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a ruse to lure the average american human citizen into believing that communications are safe from [insert 'liberal' or 'republican'] control. As the seizure of domains by DHS/ICE have shown, they don’t need laws to do what they want to accomplish. No laws, no courts, no recourse.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ESATP6LHWIYFRSRDULTBHXTS3Y Gardoglee

    Like all treaties, the Communications Treaty of 1934 (as reflected in the Communications Act of 1934) carries the same weight in law as the constitution. The treaty says the government can control, and even shut off, communications, not just the Internet but radio, television, etc. It will be very tricky crafting a law restricting the President’s authority to do this and not running afoul of the treaty.

  • Anonymous

    Words from a true republican.

    But when we have a republican-democrat hypocrite as Lieberman talking about Obama not censoring or controlling the news , while just about said that Bush as president could do anything he wished.

    Lieberman ,,, With the enormous amount of damage George W. Bush has done to our country, Lieberman’s supposed ability to “work with” the Republicans is not a sign of wonderful bipartisanship that gets good things done – his bipartisanship amounts to his agreeing with a lot of the Republican positions, and not being very forceful when he doesn’t agree. And in terms of the war, he is not a bipartisan supporter, he’s a shill for Bush, and never once held him accountable for the cherry picking of intelligence that was used to rev up the American people to go fight this war.


  • Johnny Warbucks

    Uh, huh. Coulda, shoulda, woulda…

    Who wants to raise me a 100 that will be DOA?

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Ain’t it funny, though, how every once in a while, you actually see something decent happen but only because these dumb bastards do it to spite the other side not realizing exactly what they’re doing? Truly out of ’1984′

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Hey, don’t underestimate the evil of these bastards. If they were able to make toilet paper out of Constitution, they can do anything they set their evil minds to.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    I wouldn’t tell the Egyptians that if I were you.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    They have a reputation?

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Five years? You underestimate the power of the dark forces that running full steam on a collision course with perdition.

  • Anonymous

    With little to know current Law Makers knowing anything about the world of Tech, Obama wont have a problem. Let’s see Rep. Nelson doesn’t know what an ATM machine is, many don’t use cell phones or computers even 5 US Supreme Court Justice know nothing at all about Tech or cell phone and Justice Sotomayor is teaching Justice Ginsberg. Now Chief Justice Roberts was asked what he thought of online bullying, he said he didn’t know because he doesn’t use a computer his staff does. Aqua Buddha Senator Randy Paul is pushing to close the Department of Education to keep as many people as stupid as he is. Weeper Speaker Boehner is just drinking to forget he has a job when all he asked for was the title and the extra money. With the circus clowns of the House/Congress/Senate in charge nothing will get done because of the chaos.

  • https://twitter.com/DrMatthew Dr. Matt

    If the a Nazi Conservative ever gets back in the White House, the teabaggers will reverse this law.

  • Anonymous

    100 percent right.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FPBFO6RC5R2HHIP3VXSFU2RZQA mjj

    Yea right! They just shut down a bunch of porn sites. So they have had the power all along and still have it.

  • Anonymous

    Any time Jew Lieberman has anything to do with anything, you better tread carefully!

  • Anonymous

    Any time Jew LIEberman has anything to do with anything you best be wary!

  • Anonymous

    Any time Jew LIEberman has anything to do with something you best beware!

  • Taleisin

    Great. Laws made in 1934 certainly are up to date with modern infrastructure.

    Personally, I think the power to turn off the internet is too great for the prez.
    It should be left in the hands of the military where it belongs. ;)

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    221 pages. I think they left in some loopholes. I don’t trust them when they say it prevents the POS-POTUS from turning off the internet. Since its Lieberman saying it, I think its probably the exact opposite and there is already some legal brief about how to do it, perhaps a shiny gold button to push too.

  • Jaimie11

    Do you mean Zionist Lieberman?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/GCPX7DXZGK2H2CPNYRR5IS5A64 Turnip Mcgee

    If we were a nation of laws, and integrity, this might matter. As it is, it doesn’t.

    Not to be an absolutist about all of this, but if they can’t perform their duties without constantly lying to the public, and spreading misinformation and propaganda, then the whole of it is rotten.


  • Anonymous

    Easy with the language! Just because Zionism is rampant in the US, you cannot and shall not blame an entire ethnicity or religious group for it. People in other countries know the crimes of the US government, but they restrain themselves blaming every American, for the very reason, that not every American agrees with the government. Zionism also present in the Christian world and I don’t have to go any further than the Evangelists , who want to see all the jews go to Israel to die or convert, when some sort of a Apocalypse comes and the Messiah descends from heaven. The is the ONLY reason Evangelists “support” Israel and Jews and Zionism, and while these sort of people should be already locked away in an Insane Asylum in a normal society, they are heavily influencing the Government and its foreign policy , not to mention the US Military.

  • http://www.booksbyoliver.com/ Cottonman

    Great article!! We do need protection of our Freedom of Speech as quickly as possible.

  • Anonymous

    CALL, WRITE your Senators……they must vote for the The Cybersecurity Freedom Act of 2011. Look what’s happening in the Arab world, look at what’s begining to happen in the US (Wisconsin). DEFEND our right to object to the take-over of our rights.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dominick-Perez/643014204 Dominick Perez

    To all the tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy nutcases posting here, I direct you to the pithy words of one Stewart Gilligan Griffin:

    “Establishment, Establishment, you ALWAYS know what’s best!”

    Think on it lunatics!

  • Anonymous

    Zionist will wind up using their influence in Washington to put this nation into bankruptcy. Overwhelm the system. Create the problem, wait for the reaction and then offer a solution that fits a predefined agenda. There is only one reason I haven’t given up hope for America and that is the Patriot Movement of which the Tea Party is a major part. If this country does not get back to the basics of good government which are embodied in the Constitution and Bill of Rights we will soon look like the failed Soviet Union. All that has come to pass was predicted long ago by Peter Schiff, Ron Paul and others that have consistently been right on the money. It would be next to impossible for the looming disaster to have manifest itself by accident. When one looks back at the bank deregulation, the affordable housing initiative, the community reinvestment act,medicare, medicaid and the rest, a plan emerges that the system was obviously designed to fail. So who really is in control? 40% on the Forbes 400 are Jewish. The Federal Reserve Chairman has since inception invariably been Jewish. 43 Congressmen likewise. The Obama, Bush, Clinton administrations have had most top level cabinet positions also occupied by Jews. Every gay and lesbian rights organization is funded and controlled by Jews. AIPAC is a Jewish organization that lobbies for a foreign power and yet is not required to register as such. Now that is power. Still some don’t see the threat. Israel has more bordellos per capita than any other country on earth, uses banned white phosphorous on civilians, boards aid flotillas and massacres people and yet with their control of main stream media depict themselves as the victim. 96% of all private media outlets in the world are under Jewish control. Every major Hollywood studio is also owned by Jews. Look at the breathtaking moral decline in America. Also this is not an accident. Destroy the family and destruction of the nation is sure to follow. Sure there are a lot of Gentiles that are just as responsible for the state of affairs in the US, but when you want to kill a snake, you cut off the head.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCHLMPBJKYTW3LJBHZEZMO3TXQ What Ever

    http://moviesfoundonline.com/orwell_rolls_in_his_grave.php Just more Lieberman deceptions he doesn’t do anything for nothing.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCHLMPBJKYTW3LJBHZEZMO3TXQ What Ever

    Mesh needs a source some where along the line and the source will will be the shut down point not the nodes. With out access you just have a limited network.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ESQMZ34URJNXQ4XGKHZMOMIW5E Crow

    Only a gullible fool would trust Joe.

    (Republicans trust him)

  • Anonymous

    and democrats

  • Anonymous

    As a lapsed jewish woman, who dislikes Lieberman as much as I hate bush, who feels Israel has too much to say about our affairs in the mid-east, I say, fuck you super anal.

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    Joe Lieberman can’t stop the internet
    Joe Lieberman can’t stop 9/11 Leaks

  • http://voxxrocks.com/blog/ HIStory Indeed

    Mind you, Joe’s just upset that he doesn’t have the little red button under the pillow of his Temper-Pedic, he certainly does want a kill switch.