||[Jan. 30th, 2011|06:37 pm]
I'm sure you've been following the Egyptian protests. There's a lot to say on the subject, but for now I'd really just like to concentrate on one aspect. When the protests started to seriously threaten the existing government's continued existence, what was the first thing it did? They shut off the internet. They ordered that turned off along with cell networks in order to prevent the protesters from communicating with each other and forbidding email, Facebook updates, Tweets, and everything else from getting to the rest of the world. |
But hey, it's a borderline Third-world country, right? No way that could happen here.
A controversial bill handing President Obama power over privately owned computer systems during a "national cyberemergency," and prohibiting any review by the court system, will return this year.
It's back. And the same asshats who tried to get it through Congress the last time are at it again.
Internet companies should not be alarmed by the legislation, first introduced last summer by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), a Senate aide said last week. Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
"We’re not trying to mandate any requirements for the entire Internet, the entire Internet backbone," said Brandon Milhorn, Republican staff director and counsel for the committee.
Instead, Milhorn said at a conference in Washington, D.C., the point of the proposal is to assert governmental control only over those "crucial components that form our nation’s critical infrastructure."
Uh huh. Anyone else notice that those are the same "crucial components" that Egypt used to cut its people off from the rest of the world? Yeah, we're supposed to trust our government not to use its power in ways not yet imagined and certainly not wanted.
I don't think so.
Portions of the Lieberman-Collins bill, which was not uniformly well-received when it became public in June 2010, became even more restrictive when a Senate committee approved a modified version on December 15. The full Senate did not act on the measure.
The revised version includes new language saying that the federal government’s designation of vital Internet or other computer systems "shall not be subject to judicial review." Another addition expanded the definition of critical infrastructure to include "provider of information technology," and a third authorized the submission of "classified" reports on security vulnerabilities.
I don't know about you, but given this Administration's overreach in the last two years, I see nothing here that should give anyone a warm fuzzy. And I certainly do not want a bill that supercedes the inherent checks and balances, e.g. powers not subject to judicial review. That is how rights get trampled.
And yes, it's all about protecting you from, er, well, something:
"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," he said.
Hey Joe. I'm a grown man. I can and do take care of myself. Hands off the internet.
But they won't. We all know it. The 'net is here and since it's here, it must be taxed, regulated, and controlled by our betters in the government. Despite the fact that it's worked fine for the last twenty years without any of it.
Here's the initial criteria for the supposed "vital internet or other computer systems":
Under the revised legislation, the definition of critical infrastructure has been tightened. DHS is only supposed to place a computer system (including a server, Web site, router, and so on) on the list if it meets three requirements. First, the disruption of the system could cause "severe economic consequences" or worse. Second, that the system "is a component of the national information infrastructure." Third, that the "national information infrastructure is essential to the reliable operation of the system."
It's been said that the example of computers at a nuclear power plant (which is a retarded example to begin with; I'd assume they're on the same separate, hardened networks used for classified material, not "www.rodcontrolsubsystem.com") is just the start. Senate aides have admitted that "the legislation does not foreclose additional requirements, or additional additions to the list."
Yeah. "Just give us this little bit, we won't use it to justify taking more later." And did I mention that it's not subject to judicial review? Let me stress that again. NONE of this, if passed into law, is reviewable by the judiciary. And, of course, once passed, they won't decide other parts of the infrastructure belong on there, will they? Of course not.
Berin Szoka on TechFreedom said "blocking judical review of this [...] essentially says that the rule of law goes out the window if a major crisis occurs."
Well, duh. And guess who gets to decide what is a "major crisis"? Without judicial review.