A proposed Senate cybersecurity bill that would give the President the right to shut down the Internet in the event of a cybersecurity emergency is raising the hackles of Internet Service Providers and civil liberties groups. While a revised draft of the bill, which was initially introduced in April by Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W. Va), has been issued, the bill still would give President Obama and successors the right to provide alerts of cyber attacks and declare a cyber emergency. In addition, the president will have 180 days versus one year to develop a cybersecurity plan when the bill is passed. The Obama administration's drive to develop a cybersecurity effort suffered a major blow earlier this month when acting cybersecurity Chief Melissa Hathaway resigned from the post.
Language in the first draft of the bill that gave the President the ability to shut down the Internet in the event of a major cyberattack has been rewritten. Still, the revised draft is not enough to satisfy critics of the bill who fear that giving the president this power could not only shut down private networks, but also impose government security and technical configurations on these networks. In the revised version, the President would be given the power to regulate "strategic national interests involving compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or networks," but the action must serve to "direct the national response to the cyber threat" in coordination with "relevant industry sectors."
- Network World has this article