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Senate Trying To Slip Internet Kill Switch Past Us 461

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the your-govt-at-work dept.
sanermind writes "Sensing Senators don't have the stomach to try and pass a stand-alone bill in broad daylight that would give the President the power to shut down the Internet in a national emergency, the Senate is considering attaching the Internet Kill Switch bill as a rider to other legislation that would have bi-partisan support."
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Senate Trying To Slip Internet Kill Switch Past Us

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  • Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @03:16PM (#33439584) Homepage

    This is basically covered under martial law anyway, which would presumably be imposed in the event of an attack. The government already has the power to do anything it wants in such an event, so specifically enumerating an "internet kill switch" is basically moot.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @03:23PM (#33439722)
    ...Iran has at least somewhat of internet access for its people, and hence we haven't invaded them. Yeah, we've been exchanging harsh words but thats it. We aren't going to invade Iran like we invaded Iraq. Yeah, their nuclear reactor might "mysteriously" stop working, but that will be the end of it.

    Most people support the Iranian people because they have internet, remember the election protests last year that pretty much the entire internet stood up in support of the Iranian people?

    We aren't invading Iran for particularly that reason, it would be a PR nightmare. Yes, I know, some people want to nuke Iran, China, India, and I'm sure if you gave them the change they'd nuke Canada, Mexico and most of Europe.
  • by deathtopaulw (1032050) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @03:24PM (#33439730) Homepage
    The internet is the only thing that will keep communications up and SAVE us in the event of a national emergency. When the fuck would we EVER need to shut it down?
  • Riders (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @03:26PM (#33439782) Homepage

    Can somebody from the USA please explain why riders are legal?
    It's such an obviously malevolent concept that it surprises me every time. It serves no other purpose than to sneak in bills (regardless of whether you consider them good or evil) which would have no chance on their own. Well, I guess it can also be used to torpedo bills which would have made it through otherwise. It just completely undermines the democratic process.
    Most civilized countries would (and already have) prohibited riders by law after it happened a few times, but it seems in the USA it happens all the time.

  • Re:Governmental Fail (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nschubach (922175) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @04:02PM (#33440390) Journal

    And since the power plants/company likely had to lay/string power lines... is it so hard to include a fiber run with it?

  • Re:Riders (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @04:16PM (#33440628)

    Riders are legal due to a simple quirk of the Constitution. Bills cannot be amended in any way. There's no functionality built into the Constitution giving either house that privilege.

    So how do committees and amendments work? They do an end run. Committees work up their bills, decide on their amendments, and then resubmit the bill as technically new legislation. In fact, in the House, there exists an entity called the Committee of the Whole, which consists of every single member, which exists to allow the House to operate under relaxed quorum (and other) rules and to make 'amendments' as a group.

    Since there's essentially no legal distinction between an amended bill and a completely fresh bill, how do you get rid of riders without putting very uncomfortable restrictions on what Congressmen and Senators can propose in the very first place, or amending the Constitution?

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara DOT huds ... a-hudson DOT com> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @04:22PM (#33440702) Journal

    There is no way they have diesel generators at each cell tower, nor is there any provision for refueling them.

    Sure they do. I've seen hushed diesel genset that are so quiet they make your window AC sound loud. And I'm not talking a one-person portable, but the ones built on their own trailers. Cities are now now requiring them for urban construction sites when you have to keep 100,000 watts of lights on and the power hasn't been connected. You can also get gensets that run on natural gas - no need to have a bottle or a delivery truck. Also, stationary gensets run on #2 diesel year-round if they're indoors, and that's just heating oil - and since it's not being used for automotive transport, they can actually legally use heating oil. A couple of 200-gallon tanks, same as a house, will do them just fine for quite a while. So you don't even need special fuel transports - just have the heating oil guy top it off.

    And yes, here in Quebec we had a month-long outage during the killer ice storm, and the region's cell towers stayed up. Maybe you're slackers in the US, but that was over a decade ago, so it's not like it's a new practice.

  • by Glendale2x (210533) <<slashdot> <at> <ninjamonkey.us>> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @04:37PM (#33440914) Homepage

    The internet we the people use was never designed to survive a nuclear attack. Further to that, all of the old long lines microwave stations that actually were hardened against attack (Cold War days and all) are now offline, replaced by fiber based infrastructure that is frequently damaged by backhoes and people in the hills with rifles.

  • Re:Wait a second... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdotNO@SPAMspad.co.uk> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @04:44PM (#33440998) Homepage

    As an interested foreign observer of US politics, I get the impression that right now if the president had a bill tabled that offered the Republicans full control of the House and Senate for all eternity, they'd still vote against it just because it was proposed by Obama.

    You can't have a functioning political system when nearly half of the participants come out in protest against legislation before they even know what it does.

  • Re:Governmental Fail (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @05:29PM (#33441660)

    Actually, my power professor used to say that the companies with the most bandwidth were power companies since they typically put fiber optics inside the "neutral" wire that was strung above the 3 phase power poles. (I realize that the neutral wasn't all that big or necessary but they are still strung above the other 3)

  • Re:Governmental Fail (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@nosPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @05:31PM (#33441684)
    If the alternative is a 3 hour flight to the nearest qualified surgeon you might be prepared to reconsider.
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara DOT huds ... a-hudson DOT com> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @05:50PM (#33442048) Journal

    You got the date right :-)

    Our communications infrastructure stayed up the whole time (though they had do do some "interesting" jury-rigging, like taking a couple of diesel-electric locomotives, derailing them, and having them drive down main street so they could be used as in-sutu emergency generators. Wrecked the asphalt, but everyone had power pic [cnlines.ca] because it [cnlines.ca] did happen [haya.qc.ca]).

  • Re:A poison pill? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @06:18PM (#33442406) Journal

    In politics, it is called Horse Trading, and it is how things get done. I attach rider (A) to your Bill (1), you don't like (A) and I don't like (1) but we agree that our dislike for (A) or (1) is less than our desire for (1) or (A) .Therefore we both can vote to block specifics of the bill ("I voted against the bill before I voted for the bill").

    The Constitution specifically prohibits this, but that provision has been ignored for so long (like many other provisions) that it is meaningless.

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