WASHINGTON - A new bill introduced in the Senate would give the president the equivalent of an Internet "kill switch" if passed. The concept has some communications companies hoping that legislators would rather kill the bill.
The bill is known as the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act. See the proposed legislation [PDF format] .
CNET , a publication that covers computers and the Internet, reported that the bill would give the president emergency powers to seize control of or shut down portions of the Internet.
Broadband providers, search engines, software firms and other similar companies would be required to "immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed" by the Department of Homeland Security. Failing to comply would lead to a fine.
CNET stated that primary sponsor Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security committee, introduced the bill on Thursday.
According to the Huffington Post , it would create a new agency within the Department of Homeland Security named the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications. Any private company reliant on "the Internet, the telephone system or any other component of the U.S. information infrastructure" would be "subject to command" by the agency.
Some would have to share information with the NCCC.
The Escapist Magazine quoted Lieberman as saying the act would let the government "preserve those networks and assets and our country and protect our people."
"For all of its 'user-friendly' allure, the Internet can also be a dangerous place with electronic pipelines that run directly into everything from our personal bank accounts to key infrastructure to government and industrial secrets," the senator said. "Our economic security, national security and public safety are now all at risk from new kinds of enemies - cyber-warriors, cyber-spies, cyber-terrorists and cyber-criminals."
The Huffington Post said that TechAmerica, a technology lobbying group, and other groups are warning of the "potential for absolute power" and "unintended consequences that would result from the legislation's regulatory approach."
ZD Net reported that there is a paragraph in the bill that states the NCCC could not order broadband providers or other companies to "conduct surveillance" of Americans unless there's another way to legally authorize it.Source
Source 2 is opinions. The first source is where info on the bill is. Honestly, I get why they want to do this, security and all that, but the potential for this being abused is far too great.