Senator Joe Lieberman, former Presidential candidate and active proponent of internet censorship, is co-sponsoring a bill to give the President the same kind of internet kill switch recently made famous as the weapon of first resort in quelling the popular discontent in Egypt.
From the HuffPo:
The authority granted to the government in the bill, known as the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA), has been likened to an Internet “kill switch.”
The bill would require that private companies–such as “broadband providers, search engines, or software firms,” CNET explains–”immediately comply with any emergency measure or action” put in place by the Department of Homeland Security, or else face fines.
And how will this new security measure be administered?
[The law] would also see the creation of a new agency within the Department of Homeland Security, the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC).
Because, if there’s anything that the bloated and largely incompetent Department of Homeland Security needs more of, it’s bureaucracy.
But wait, there’s more! The bill not only subjugates the privately operated internet infrastructure to the government, it also provides for additional violation of your privacy and Fourth Amendment rights.
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 NCCC, and some would be required to engage in “information sharing” with the agency, says CBS4.
As the government learned from the warrantless wiretap fiasco, the government needs a way to assure private corporations that they won’t be held accountable when the government tells them to violate the Constitution.
He added that the bill is necessary for it would reduce the liability of companies that may need to resort to extreme measures in an emergency situation. Companies might have to “do things in a normal business sense you’d be hesitant to do but national security requires you to do,” Lieberman explained, adding “We protect them from that because the action the government is ordering them to take is in national security or economic interest.”
We probably don’t give our “leaders” enough credit for thinking ahead. It’s clear that Lieberman sees that what’s happening in Egypt could happen here. Anyone who remembers the civil rights or Vietnam war protests and riots (as Lieberman certainly does) can attest to that. But, if and when the U.S. has a popular uprising like we’re seeing in Tunisia, Greece, and Egypt, by God our government is going to be ready. They are going to be able to summarily kill the internet and phone service but rather than looking like an oppressive tyrannical response to citizen unrest, it will be all dressed up in the rule of law.
The government has finally found a way to put the internet firmly under the thumb of government as the public silently goes about its business.