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Lieberman tells Web users to ‘relax’ about ‘kill switch’

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China has the power to shut down its Internet, so why can’t we?

That’s one of the arguments Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is making about the bill he’s co-authored that would give the president the power to disable parts of the Internet as he deems necessary.

“Right now China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in case of war and we need to have that here too,” Lieberman told CNN’s Candy Crowley on State of the Union Sunday.

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“There’s a lot of people out there who think that what you are granting the president is absolute power to shut down freedom of speech, that this is just over the top,” Crowley said.

“No way and total misinformation,” Lieberman replied. “We need this capacity in a time of war. We need the capacity for the president to say, ‘Internet service provider, we’ve got to disconnect the American Internet from all traffic coming in from another foreign country, or we have to put a patch on this part of it’.”

Lieberman continued: “So I say to my friends on the Internet, relax. Take a look at the bill. And this is something that we need to protect our country.”

Lieberman, along with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), introduced the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act two weeks ago. The bill would allow the President to disconnect Internet networks and force private websites to comply with broad cybersecurity measures. The president’s power to shut down parts of the Web would be renewed indefinitely under the bill.

This video is from CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast June 20, 2010.

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