Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) wants to grant President Obama the power to shut down the entire Internet. It seems to be getting support from other senators, as Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said he commended the bill, and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) went on record to say “we cannot afford to wait for a cyber 9/11.”
What would be a cyber 9/11? Well, I looked into it, and there are various sources on the matter. There are also various definitions, ranging from high-tech pranks, to disrupting the entire Internet. I still don’t understand what a cyber 9/11 is, but let’s assume it could happen. What really is the worst that could happen? The entire Internet shuts down? So the President would pre-emptively shut the Internet down in order to prevent the Internet from shutting down?
I admit, there’s so much on this matter that I don’t understand. It’s one thing to use scary sounding buzzwords, but I’d be much more receptive to the government not acting like I’m an idiot. I just want to know what it is this bill is supposed to be stopping? We don’t know, and they’re not telling us.
What would this do to Internet businesses?
An article on Kotaku also points out that businesses would be affected adversely. Okay, the article only mentions videogames, but gaming is not the only industry online. Not only would companies lose business while the Internet was off, but there could be panic and distrust. I know that if I thought that the Internet was under attack, I wouldn’t go back online right when it came back. I would need to know nothing would happen to me while I was online. For all I know, the terrorists could be ready to steal my Paypal password and log my credit card numbers. Business would go down and stay down for a long time.
I understand keeping Americans safe online, and I understand a lot of laws that go into that, such as privacy laws and anti-bullying laws. I just don’t know if I get shutting down the entire Internet to prevent a cyber 9/11. The phrasing seems misleading, and the concept is hard to picture. If it really is necessary, and possible, to shut the Internet down, fine. However, just shutting it off and leaving Americans in the dark might actually incite fear. I think that if the government wants us to take this bill seriously, instead of throwing around buzzwords, they should actually explain it.
Declan McCullagh, “Senators propose granting president emergency Internet powers.” CNET.
Kate Finegan, “The President May Get the Authority to Kick Us All Offline.” Kotaku.
Serge Krasavin Ph.D. MBAv, “What is Cyber-terrorism?” Computer Crime Research Center.
David Kim and Michael Gregg, “Why You Need to Conduct Risk Assessment” informIT.
Victoria Baranetsky, “What is cyberterrorism? Even experts can’t agree” Harvard Law Record.