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New CyberSecurity Bill Raises Privacy Questions 319

Posted by kdawson
from the picture-future-presidents dept.
Nicolas Dawson points out coverage in Mother Jones of the early stages of a new cybersecurity bill that conveys sweeping powers on the President. Quoting: "The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (PDF) gives the president the ability to 'declare a cybersecurity emergency' and shut down or limit Internet traffic in any 'critical' information network 'in the interest of national security.' The bill does not define a critical information network or a cybersecurity emergency. That definition would be left to the president. The bill ... also grants the Secretary of Commerce 'access to all relevant data concerning [critical] networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access.' This means he or she can monitor or access any data on private or public networks without regard to privacy laws."
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New CyberSecurity Bill Raises Privacy Questions

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  • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:49PM (#27448213) Journal

    "in soviet america..." jokes

  • by johnncyber (1478117) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:51PM (#27448245)
    ...it's just a piece of paper anyways.
  • by notarockstar1979 (1521239) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:58PM (#27448327) Journal
    I want to know who in the unholiest of hells thinks this is a good idea? Even if critical networks and cybersecurity emergency were defined, what the gives them the right? The language scares me to death. The existing laws are there for a purpose. To create a law that circumvents them on a whim, even if it's a whim that has to be defended later, is total bull.

    I have been fighting encrypting everything I do for a while now because I had hopes it wouldn't be necessary. Now I see that there is a chance it might be after all.
  • *big sigh* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nnnich (1454535) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:58PM (#27448333)
    time to learn how to farm and make first person shooters out of sticks...

    honestly, how much more are you willing to take before you walk away from oppression?
  • Re:wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cube Steak (1520237) on Friday April 03, 2009 @12:59PM (#27448361)
    I know. "Change" we can all definitely believe in.
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:00PM (#27448379) Homepage Journal

    access to all relevant data concerning [critical] networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access.

    In other words, it's not illegal when the Secretary of Commerce (a Presidentially appointed position) does it, of course. So they can lock YOU up for accessing data you're not supposed to have, but when the Secretary of Commerce does it, it's just hunky dory.

    Yep. Who needs the Constitution? It's archaic!

    Now I see why so many people become anarchists... ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:05PM (#27448453)

    Shutting down the American network would hinder the whole world. Since a number of the backbones run through the states.
    Further more the government just made the biggest argument against cloud computing I have ever read. Your data lives online the goverment say oh noes cyber attack and shuts every non critical system down for weeks? months? what happens to you google docs homework or business files.

  • by OmegaBlac (752432) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:08PM (#27448515)

    Jeb Bush will be coming along soon to take his place in line, he'll love these extended powers.

    I'm more worried (and you should too) about our current president that could have these "extended powers" very soon than some crazy left-wing fear/theory of another member of the Bush family becoming president four years from now. Democrats and Republicans will both fuck you over and continue to steer this country into irrelevancy. Wake up dammit!

  • by spiffydudex (1458363) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:10PM (#27448553)

    I think we are finally seeing Obama's "Change" he was talking about his entire campaign. I give him credit for running his entire campaign on the word "Change" and not explaing what changes he would make...
    Now America is paying for general stupidity. I find it interesting that the UK, France and Sweden all scorned Obama for all of this bailout money. By dumping all of this money into the economy he is undermining the basis of good business and capitalism.
    With this Bill we find Obama giving more and more power to the federal government. Overriding the bill of rights and bypassing everything that our country stands for.

    I urge you to watch this film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw [youtube.com]
    Please do not watch it as a direct bashing of Obama, this is one of several films that have been produced over the years detailing the "behind the scene" actions of our government.

    I myself did not vote for Obama.

  • America! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:11PM (#27448559)

    Ohh, once so proud, once so free.. Ruled by fear, nothing else.. I feel for the true American people.. if there are any left..

  • by Logical Zebra (1423045) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:13PM (#27448605)

    It is with great reluctance that I have agreed to this calling. I love democracy. I love the Republic. But I am mild by nature, and do not wish to see the destruction of democracy. The power you give me I will lay down when this crisis has abated.

    --Chancellor Palpatine

  • by stevew (4845) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:14PM (#27448617) Journal

    You folks were up in arms about the loss of Privacy when the Bush administration was trying to spy on Terrorists calling into the country? Here you have a Democrat congress and a Democrat President who are going to be snooping into EVERYONE's business - let's have a little more energy - or one might think all the previous belly-aching about privacy was really just partisan nonsense????

  • by notarockstar1979 (1521239) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:15PM (#27448637) Journal

    I believe now is an appropriate time to cue the "in soviet america..." jokes

    If this bill is enacted, what keeps the president from permanently shutting down access to certain "harmful things" just like the great firewall of China?

  • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:15PM (#27448649)

    Well, Presidential appointees don't seem to pay any taxes either and the last time I checked that was also illegal. More of the same 'do as I say, not as do.'

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:16PM (#27448657)

    Just from reading the summary, I'll say this.

    I don't have any real problem with this, except for the non-defined nature of an emergency. I don't know how you would define an emergency (if you know what it is and when it's coming its not much of an emergency) but I would say something along the lines of "a situation which endangers vital communications links, including those needed for power generation, public safety, and military uses".

    If a bot-net rises up that starts disrupting these communication links, extreme measures may be needed to ensure those links stay active. Temporarily closing down nonessential Internet traffic isn't much different from shutting down the freeway when road conditions make driving on it unsafe.

    The problem, as usual, is the potential for abuse. I would give the president authority to shut down the Internet for not more than 48 hours, anything more than that should require congressional approval. Make abuse of this system a felony offense to punish any blatant abuses of the system. Of course, that is supposed to be how declaring war works too and that hasn't been followed since WWII.

  • Re:wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cube Steak (1520237) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:19PM (#27448707)

    anything more than that should require congressional approval.

    Which will be about as worthless as the requirement that Congress is the only body that can declare war. They will just sign over any oversight they have to the president and be a bunch of rubber-stamping pantywaists.

  • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:24PM (#27448831)

    I want to know who in the unholiest of hells thinks this is a good idea? Even if critical companies and financial emergency were defined, what the gives them the right? The language scares me to death. The existing laws are there for a purpose. To create a law that circumvents them on a whim, even if it's a whim that has to be defended later, is total bull.

    Emphasis and replacement mine. This is the EXACT same power they want to give to the treasury secretary to be able to unilaterally, on a whim, take over companies when some undocumented criteria are met.

  • by Chibi Merrow (226057) <mrmerrow@monkeyinfinity . n et> on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:27PM (#27448889) Homepage Journal

    Stop invoking a Bush boogeyman. Everyone is Washington is bad. Bush's alleged abuses are kid's stuff compared to what some previous administrations have pulled off, and probably will be sorely missed after we get through what's coming down the pipe...

  • by needs2bfree (1256494) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:27PM (#27448897)
    Does it not strike anyone as ironic that we should be more afraid of the anti terror legislation advocates than the terrorists? Reminds me of a saying, something along the lines of If you set out to destroy all evil...
  • Re:America! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by halivar (535827) <bfelger@gmail.cERDOSom minus math_god> on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:29PM (#27448919) Homepage

    Real Americans exist, but everyone else is pretty much terrified of them. Rugged individualism and desire for self-determination are concepts that scare the average citizen, especially considering that the guarantors of these principles are scary guns.

  • by russotto (537200) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:29PM (#27448921) Journal

    It is with great reluctance that I have agreed to this calling. I love democracy. I love the Republic. But I am mild by nature, and do not wish to see the destruction of democracy. The power you give me I will lay down when this crisis has abated.

    --Chancellor Palpatine

    Wasn't he paraphrasing Caesar?

  • by Povno (1460131) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:35PM (#27449015)
    ...is that most people don't understand what this kind of thing means in terms of their own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. It's not that they don't understand public or private networks, DNS, TCP/IP, or anything involving computers beyond their own desktop short cut to the family photos... but that they assume it's complicated techno babble and don't want to. They fail to see how it affects them personally; we will be called paranoid as we try to explain these implications. They know what the constitution is but fail to see what it can no longer protect us from in an age where information of any kind can flow freely. This is beyond, what our laws can mandate, because technology moves faster than laws can be passed. This will happen with little opposition. Those of us that see it will scream and yell, but to those up top in that big elliptical office it will be merely just another of societies thankless whispers for them to ignore.
  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by element-o.p. (939033) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:45PM (#27449133) Homepage
    Please tell me you are kidding. Did you miss this line in TFS: "The bill... also grants the Secretary of Commerce 'access to all relevant data concerning [critical] networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access.'"

    "...without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy..."??? This is NSA wiretapping all over again! Our new "Change we can believe in" president has only been in office for ~90 days, and he's already shaping up to be 'Dub' on steriods.
  • Re:Censorship? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:46PM (#27449147)

    The internet won't be routing around anything when the President orders your ISP to sever your shit.

  • Just a bill (Score:2, Insightful)

    by emudoug42 (977380) on Friday April 03, 2009 @01:55PM (#27449261)
    Doesn't anyone remember their schoolhouse rock? This is just a bill. Lots of bills get introduced. Most of them are terrible. This bill is still in committee. Hopefully someone there will be able to identify that this is a terrible idea, and that will be that. If it makes it to vote, you can bet I will be calling up my senators. That is unlikely, however. I'm not quite sure how Obama is getting lumped up in this. Has he come out in favor of this bill? If not, please stop with the ridiculous "Change we can believe in" slogan waving. In closing, outrage that someone would be stupid enough to think this is a good idea is healthy. But let's not act as if this is already been signed into law.
  • by dcroxton (812365) on Friday April 03, 2009 @02:02PM (#27449343) Homepage
    Yeah, people are screaming, but no one is blaming the Democrats. I saw one post that attacked Obama, and it was marked as flamebait. All of the other posts were about how awful this idea is...without mentioning anyone by name, or even any particular parties (such as the one currently in control of White House and Congress).
  • Re:wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday April 03, 2009 @02:04PM (#27449375) Homepage Journal
    "Please tell me you are kidding. Did you miss this line in TFS: "The bill... also grants the Secretary of Commerce 'access to all relevant data concerning [critical] networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access.'"

    I'm sure that the Commerce Sec. will side with the *IAA and declare an emergency quite often when they see too much P2P file sharing traffic.

    Talk about a built in excuse to wield this power and pretty much any given moment.

    I was joking the other day in another thread about how it had to 'kill' governments, including ours, that they were late to the party and had no real control of the internet.

    I guess they read that...and came up with something like this.

    I swear...this administration is punching so many scary things through congress I'm really afraid for what the country is gonna look like very soon, and if any of it can be undone??

    Geez...the overboard spending (without actually doing anything about the main problem being the frozen credit in the banking system), the President talking about capping salaries even on companies that aren't taking bailout money, the Treas. Sec. talking about having the power to intervene in private companies (even those not on bailout money) and take them over in essence to 'save' them if they are looking 'troubled', the Atty General wanting to start up gun bans again, the head of DHS saying we need to crunch down on gun laws due to MX drug gang violence....and the list goes on.

    Now...they was to legislate unlimited tapping of the internet and the ability to just turn off the spigot for very non-specific reasons? Ouch.

    And I thought the previous administrations NSA taps were nefarious. This law has the potential to make that look completely insignificant.

    Seriously....those that voted for "O" and were adament supporters. Is THIS the change you were wanting?

  • by tripdizzle (1386273) on Friday April 03, 2009 @02:06PM (#27449415)

    Agreed, how can we trust these people to take care of things that are this serious when they cant even get a ban on lead done right:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/23/AR2009032301764.html [washingtonpost.com]

    They try to put a law in place to protect children from lead, and end up banning minibikes and used book sales, whose lead content is equal to about a glass of water.

    They mess up a simple lead ban with shitty wording, and we expect them to deal with such things as our privacy laws and national security. We need to get rid of every single sitting senator and house rep next time around, no matter party affiliation, get rid of them all.

  • by blcamp (211756) on Friday April 03, 2009 @02:07PM (#27449421) Homepage

    The very fact that ANYONE is WORKING ON THIS AT ALL, is what frightens the hell out of me.

    Why would such a document, even one in a draft status, exist?

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Friday April 03, 2009 @02:12PM (#27449483)

    It gives the power to the electoral college to do so.

    A President could have every single vote from the people and the electoral college could elect some other schlub. The only thing preventing this is the fact that the electors are appointed by the very people who want to get elected.

    There are rules about the electoral college and the assignment of votes in state constitutions, as well. The point is, the power to elect the president is NOT constitutionally placed with the people, not does it realistically rest with them.

    Votes are bought, elections are gamed, and people like you fail to see that Republican and Democrat politicians are the same fucking liars, the same fucking morons, with the same bullshit year after year.

    But by all means - trot out that "political spectrum" chart you learned about in highschool, and say "fascism is on the RIGHT! It's a FACT!".

    From your OWN shitipedia link:
    "Fascism is a radical, authoritarian nationalist ideology"
    Some would call Obama's jackknifing of the economy radical, his constant "cooperation" with congress and his remarks on dissent ("Look, we won.") authoritariana, and of course Obama is trying to improve America's standing politically and economically.

    "that aims to create a single-party state"
    Which party controls the House? The Senate? The White House? All that's left is for a couple of justices to die off.

    "with a government led by a dictator"
    Obama says it and it happens. He's not crushing anyone under an iron fist, but what he says goes. His popularity is his main weapon. Hell, he just kicked out the CEO of a private company.

    "who seeks national unity"
    Yes we can? It's all about "we". And "change". And "working together". The man has won over the hearts and minds of tons of people. They follow him like groupies follow rock bands.

    "and development"
    I keep hearing about "new jobs" (without the mention that you can't create jobs without creating physical demand, instead, you can only shift jobs/money/debt around), and our "infrastructure". I have no doubt though that this is all bullshit that will never come to fruition because he won't be able to actually create jobs, and because the infrastructure requires real work and we have a serious lack of real workers (we've got a lot of politicians, lawyers, marketers, and other white collar "workers" that we could put to use).

    "by requiring individuals to subordinate self-interest to the collective interest of the nation or race."
    This one's too easy.

    By the criteria listed in your own "evidence", many people could justifiably consider Obama a fascist. Whether or not you agree with them on a whole, or on specific points, is a matter of opinion.

  • by StopKoolaidPoliticsT (1010439) on Friday April 03, 2009 @02:37PM (#27449955)
    See the Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937 [wikipedia.org]. FDR kept trying to ram his legislation through and the SCOTUS kept ruling it Unconstitutional. FDR, along with his Democratic majority in Congress, threatened to keep adding justices to the Supreme Court until they would rule the way he wanted them to.

    The threat was enough and the SCOTUS rolled over shortly thereafter, allowing a single party Congress/Executive to force Unconstitutional legislation through, unabated by the checks of the SCOTUS. Not long after, sitting Justices began to die and/or retire, Roosevelt added his toadies and, well, we've been stuck with the damage done to our country ever since (The Ponzi Social Security system and its impending collapse, Japanese internment, fiat currency, inflation and government debt, the Wagner Act, etc). Many of the abuses in government we see today stem from the decisions made back in the late 30s and early 40s...

    Now we're seeing the threat of socialized medicine being forced onto us through subersive means, deliberately to avoid the process of debate set up in the Constitution, and I have no confidence that the SCOTUS will overturn it, especially not if one of the more constructionalist members should vacate the court for some reason and be replaced by someone more amenable to those types of policies. Lately, we've seen a rise in the court ignoring the Constitution and favoring international standards instead of our own. After 220ish years, the checks and balances are almost gone and the traitors in power on both sides have found out how to subvert the supreme law of the land...
  • by 1800maxim (702377) on Friday April 03, 2009 @02:43PM (#27450073)
    Right, wink, wink. It's a "working draft" with no sponsors until it magically passes with overwhelming support, quietly, with no mass media coverage. In fact, it could be a working draft precisely for people to leave it alone for the time being.

    The patriot act was rammed through.

    The Federal Reserve act of 1913 was rammed through during christmas break.

    I don't know how we still on slashdot manage to squabble over whether there is a bigger agenda, or whether these are all a series of innocently misapplied laws... Once we come to agree, it will be because it's too late.
  • by Briden (1003105) on Friday April 03, 2009 @02:51PM (#27450235)

    cloud data may suck to lose, but it's nothing compared to what else is proposed here.

    if the US is allowed to do this, you could lose:
    your freedom to communicate and voice your opinion
    the data on your own computer
    the connections you have with others

    aren't those more important to you?

    unfortunately, we've already lost some of those freedoms, but at least we had a fighting chance in court. this bill exceeds and overrides all that, giving them carte blanche to pretty much do anything they want.

    the internet used to be free. but they've built it JUST the way they need it to try some smartass bullshit like this.

    and it's going to happen anyway :(

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by godefroi (52421) on Friday April 03, 2009 @03:12PM (#27450595)

    So, he's going to veto it then? Oh? No? Huh.

    Well, I guess we really DO get change then. This time, it's going to be LEGAL when the president does it. That's a definite change!

  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cube Steak (1520237) on Friday April 03, 2009 @03:45PM (#27451099)

    Exactly. Why is Obama once again getting blamed for something Congress is trying to do?

    Because it's naive to think that the president has zero influence on the proposing of bills in Congress? Secondly, do you think that he's actually going to veto this? HAHAHAHAHA, yeah right.

  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Friday April 03, 2009 @06:03PM (#27452583) Journal

    Does anyone honestly believe this bill would have been vetoed by the other guy?

    No, but this guy ran on a platform consisting almost entirely of "I'm different from the other guy", so those who voted for this guy might be a little let down by stuff like this.

    Hey, don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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