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Internet 'Kill Switch' Efforts in US on Life Support?


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A plan about 16 months in the making to give the President powers to shut down the Internet may have just died an early death thanks to the events in Egypt. According to supporters of the bill, the purpose was to protect US interests from cyberattacks, although critics say it goes too far and could be a threat to free speech. In Egypt, the Mubarak regime shut down the Internet in the country in an effort to curtail the organization efforts of anti-government protesters. That hasn't worked too well, and Internet connections were restored in the country this morning. The effort seems to have shone new light on "kill switch" efforts here.

Senators behind the bill-Connecticut's Joseph Lieberman, Maine's Susan Collins, and Delaware's Tom Carper-aren't too happy with the Egypt comparisons. "We would never sign on to legislation that authorized the President, or anyone else, to shut down the Internet," they said in a joint statement. "Emergency or no, the exercise of such broad authority would be an affront to our Constitution."

The president already has the authority to shut down radio communications providers, but the laws are vague. The senators argue more specificity is need to prevent abuses of this power. Second, they point out that the president could only authorize such actions in the most extreme of circumstances - while still being mindful the action is not violating free speech rights.

Either way, Mubarak's actions have put the three Senator's efforts in a bad light. While the bill may have good intentions, I don't see the necessity for such action. Plus if worse comes to worse, the government is going to do what it needs to do, law or not.

What are your feelings on giving the government such power? Is it a wise idea to have some type of way to shut things down in an attack, or is a case of government overreach? I'd be interested in hearing from you, and I'm sure there is going to be diversity of opinion on this one.

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You know I keep going to the table o this one and back again... As far as it stands.. right now.. I do not support it.. I have not read this from front to back.. so I am not sure of loopholes and or considerations written into said given authority to do so... This personally is how I stand on the matter..

1. While I may accept one president having the proper discernment in using this authority.. I may not trust another.. nor congress necessarily or the future amendments... that can would occur.. and it would have to be a complete freeze on a powerful tool given to the people who are to make the decisions to insure our future..

2. As mentioned above.. I do not know what it includes, outlines, nor excludes as reasonable points to taking said action to protect not only our government and intellectual properties but yes the citizens of the US..

3. Assumption and faith in something blindly is what allows us to not be protected... not planning nor looking forward for the future... and in something that leaves the questions open.. I vote against it.. Yet is the same reason why yes I think this would be a good thing to have if strictly and explicitly used properly..

4. In the determination of others that may follow, will and/or could this in one way or another be used, in any way.. for the purposes of censorship.. or shaping the outcomes of developments from within our country... in the way of political, financial, and civil areas.. I think this is the most important thing that most worry about.. and while we allow this right and give this power.. where will it stop... to what end...

5. The time for something to be created and a plan of action to be thought about was 10 years ago... maybe even before.. in the effort of defending our country... in the effort of becoming technologically capable ... protections do need to be put into place.. The problem is that filtering... monitoring... protecting and blocking.. all approach a subject that always insights thought.. and fear.. ( not to mention huge expenditures ) ..that anything we do will be monitored and tracked.. in a computer world where do not even like the idea of cookies being enabled.. or ports open to data-mine our information.. going in and coming out.. Not necessarily for sake of getting away with something but more or less in fact that its a violation of our privacy to have someone looking over our shoulder watching us and everything we do... While we put up with some of it to an extent from website developers and marketing... we do not like it.. regardless of what it is used for.. In the pursuit of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness... is there going to be a person who says that yours..w/e it may be... is a violation of their's? ...and where will that play in religiously and on a belief system... to corporations... to the effect that censorship and lack of acknowledgment that anything is being done wrong.. will it come into play? Why would we give that power... without STRICT procurement of who, what, when, why, and how something of this nature should be done... Accountability.. through our democracy and diversity we too can create a situation for ourselves where we deny ourselves the right guaranteed by those who instituted this government..

I think the example of what can happen when this is done... in Egypt speaks for itself.. the entire country has been turned... It was done ( used ) in the wrong manner.. yet it is the only thing of its kind that people have to relate to what is being done here and how or why.. Next to movies and China's censorship of the Internet...Therefore it will be the only thing people are considering.. It was however used in a much different manner.. and by a totalitarian ideal.. A monarchist point of view... a dictatorship... I mean how many of you wake up and your told you will now do this and now do that by your government... not in the US.. yet things do happen and directions are taken that we all actually want as a whole.. while some may make strides to accomplish things that they think we want.. or to be successful in certain areas ( sometimes to get a foothold or break through to the public eye - exposure )... which are a complete flop...some even on the borderline of conspiracy theorist and views... playing ourselves against us... the thing is they are too close to the top - it scares the living crap out of me sometimes to even think this would be repeated .. and said movements would have to be procured by another form of government all together.. in another country... Problem being that it could really be used for the wrong thing..

It should be, in effect; also something to consider when our personal systems are under attack... and we unplug..or a system compensates to disallow the event... Yet most people and users would infect the entire network before they are even aware .... :P But it is something to think about as well as what and how we have security on our own systems.. and why we must have it... Bot Networks for example... not a simple problem.. and there can be many concerns... Some may even say that in the event that there is hacking to free the truth or information.. that we will be silenced... Yet we should not be allowing said thing to even exist within our world.. even when we are not looking... its corrupt if so.. ( some things however are better left unsaid ... ) ..and this effect is an offense against our country itself... You would have to do more than shut down the wires.. We have an interesting problem where we mix business, government and the interpersonal on the same forum/stage.. its called the Internet.. how do we do what we need to do.. without having to sacrifice on one or the other.. and in that how do we keep what we hold precious safe as well...I personally have always simply sacrificed aspects to have better personal security... but none this severe nor implicating...

We are at war with information... it can be crucial.. and precious to us in our simple daily lives.. in what we can hold dear... and near... We are at war with idealism... for many years... ( to me - too long )... We had objectives to improve our education, our standards of living.. were moving in a positive step forward to have a cleaner healthier environment... Policies and funding were created to make these dreams and goals happen.. only to have them burned away, changed, tainted, and defiled in the effort of going after one single terrorist regime... as well as watching laws and corporation take control of these areas and even become completely able to do whatever in the name of oil and profit..We have lost people dear to us.. many of those who fought, now live mangled and handicapped... We have been violated and as well as having to deal with the ability to disallow the ideal of terrorism.. its very heart of what it is... to cause us to mistrust one another.. our government... and even to become dysfunctional in our lives... We are at war with being able to be the free people we are.. to share communicate and work together.. to co-exist.. for us all t be able to prosper.. its what we are all about.. its why we created this country.. to cut out the oppression... to reach for our dreams and something better..

Many people understand these areas and we can see why some things must be done... However .. being used or ignored in that way may take years to gain trust and even see that spark which motivates us to come together and work as a unit to achieve and progress forward..

If they want it to pass.. 300 page book or not.. it must be thrown on the table.. reviewed.. opened to the people in all respects... put it online.. leave it open to disclosure and change to close the vulnerabilities.. like pulling the plug or securing a system...

People have to know what they are behind... We want to smile, we want the confidence.. we want to make progress... but we cannot do that.. f we don't know what it means..

Long gone were the days when we could take a leap of faith and see the light of day again.. with a smile on our face.. happy we did.. for far too long we have been violated.. all too often we look to the ground.. away.. even as though we wanted to ignore the problem and what occurred during many years previous ... I mean I don't believe we did it blindly knowing we are resilient and strong.. enough to exist on rock bottom... and with making poor decisions.. It seemed to be clear what direction it was headed and why... The global economy falling and collapsing the way it did... all of these problems set a stage... the wrong stage in many cases.. for the wrong things to step in and take power.. It is hard to be willing.. and even more ignorant... to not try to cover the bases and do better this time...people are distrustful... for some it seems suspicious yet it was there for literally YEARS.. the numbers.. the results.. the effects.. its simple math.. add and subtract...

I don't want to play the game.. We have to break the cycle.. for anything.. not just this.. to occur.. but we cannot do it blind...I want to make better decisions and do the right thing for everyone.. so we all have a place.. regardless.. It is what we missed... for a very long time..

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A thing concerns me more than anything else. Of course it's because of lack of proper knowledge like your case heath. Does this "Kill Switch" also brings ICANN into the play (it being in US)? Cause if it happens so, domain names all over the world would be doomed. :mellow:

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This is true.. and a good point.. commerce shift for the digital world to areas without this as well... Many services would go offline... business could be lost.. Something decentralized in nature... would be a good idea... The Internet was created in the 50's... I believe.. and while some aspects have changed many others have not.. Truly addressing this issue may come down to huge changes to the physical infrastructure to properly address all concerns...

The country itself and its people are quite international in nature rather some realize it or not.. as well as many of the business.. particularly ones that host services and have international involvement.. in this manner if shut off from the rest of the world re simply left with intra-national.. and from a network at all.. you are talking about sudden stop... for some this could be an uncertain future dependent on the level of activity involved..

There would seem to be a way to provide for this however... and allow services to exist regardless... but it would have to be implicit...

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Yup. When Egypt's internet was down, it was sure a bad moment. Some businesses, etc. would have been hurt a lot. But if US internet goes down, so would the whole world's(indirectly).

Moreover, I believe whole world's internet is guarded by US law or even International Law that would be directly connected with US (please correct me if wrong). So if it's to believe Kill Switch can also bring down the internet everywhere.

In no way should this bill be passed IMO, everything has it's good and bad sides. But the bad side in this case has dreadful consequences.

I don't think the bill is planned to make any exceptions, they wouldn't have named it kill switch if would have wanted to make them. :)

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Yeah I agree.. and technically its the same thing.. when you pull the plug or shut down the ( your own ) network router the objective is to block and kill all traffic.. nothing in nothing out.. nothing... Something like this would need to have those considerations in mind...

I think really too this may just be one of those things that must go back for a broader-scope and more encompassing solution...

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