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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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  • Governmental Fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:08PM (#33439476)

    CNN a few years ago ran a special were they told the story of a possible an IT attack and had former government officials try to figure out how to save the day.

    The story was that people had downloaded a March Madness smartphone app that delivered scores and such in March, but now its April and it's sending out large amounts data, and making useless calls, that's overwhelming the cellular networks and running up people's bills. Round two was that this unknown data was actually waking up a bot net, and now the Internet's overloaded. Round 3... an explosion at a power station has downed power on the East Coast. However, nobody knows where the problem is to fix it, because their smartphones are dead and so is the Internet and phone systems.

    The governmental instinctive reaction is to shut it all down... but you don't need to shut down the Internet, this could have been solved in round one by asking Apple, Google, even Cydia and the other responsible app stores to kill the app. What is needed is a granular control (that the app stores already have) to say when an app is causing trouble, we'll pull it off the smartphones that have it. If there's a server running a botnet, kill it, not the entire Internet.

    The panel lost the game, and was punished with a postgame interview by Wolf Blitzer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by IICV (652597)

      What! This cannot be! Surely the country's most handsome politicians wouldn't fail so thoroughly at a test of practical skill?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jgagnon (1663075)

        What! This cannot be! Surely the country's most handsome politicians wouldn't fail so thoroughly at a test of practical skill?

        Why not? They fail so thoroughly at everything else! :p

      • Re:Governmental Fail (Score:4, Informative)

        by severoon (536737) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @03:54PM (#33441152) Journal

        I most definitely want an Internet kill switch, and I would love it if the USG did this for us. This kind of project is too big and too costly to get done any other way...it requires government to get involved, and if we're going to be able to shut down the entire web with a single event, it has to be done this way because of the distributed nature of the web and it's inherent design to route around damage. My only fear is that if the USG were to take this on as a task, they might not succeed on time and within budget, and we need it to succeed.

        (By the way, just to be clear, I'm a terrorist...as are all of us here, right? Think how awesome it would be to get control of a single point of failure created for the web! Key step to turning converting North America into a caliphate am I right guys?)

        :-)

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:18PM (#33439630)
      Round 1.

      Don't design fucking critical infrastructure to communicate with the internet. Life support, power plants, hospitals, water treatment plants can use very secure computers and use local networking. BUT DON'T PUT THEM ON THE FUCKING INTERNET.

      Round 2.

      Don't consolidate the internet into a monopoly or duopoly. Yeah, some major thing might kill AT&T, but T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint should still be active. Its a lot harder to "destroy" the internet when everything is spread out.

      Round 3.

      Take steps to protect yourself from DoS attacks.
      • The Internet is the cheapest available method to move bits from one place to another. Is there a another network that does the job well enough to be considered a competitor?
        • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:26PM (#33439774)
          Um, yes its called sneakernet and it can be 100% confidential. It has insanely high bandwidth, but a bit of latency issues.

          If you want to update programs in your power plant, do it with physical media or take in a laptop and sync it that way.
          • by lowrydr310 (830514) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:35PM (#33439952)
            There's also IPoAC [wikipedia.org], IP over Avian Carriers.

            IPoAC has been successfully implemented, but for only nine packets of data, with a packet loss ratio of 55% (due to user error[1]), and a response time ranging from 3000 seconds(~54 minutes) to over 6000 seconds(~1.77 hours). Thus, this technology suffers from poor latency. Nevertheless, for large transfers avian carriers are capable of high average throughput when carrying flash memory devices.

            Bird is the word!

          • by NevarMore (248971)

            If you want to update programs in your power plant, do it with physical media or take in a laptop and sync it that way.

            What if the laptop was compromised? It then infects a critical system and you lose CPU cycles while it thrashes around trying to get out and time to cleanup the damage. Worst case is targeted espionage where there is a virus waiting to jump the air gap.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              You missed the other rule: Don't run Windows on your critical infrastructure computers! That's why we had the cascade failure at Black Mesa; all that sorrow would have been avoided had Gordon simply shown them how to install a hardened *NIX derivative.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Bitmanhome (254112)

                No, Black Mesa was sabotage. I know we love to blame Windows for these sorts of things, but that event was carefully implemented by an organization we have yet to meet.

            • by Stradivarius (7490) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @03:43PM (#33440976)

              There is no perfectly secure approach if any communication into the power plant systems is required. (Getting data out you could do securely by radio transmission, but data in is problematic).

              But I would argue it's easier to secure that laptop than to protect an online control system.

              First, the laptop need not be connected 24/7 - you can connect it only for brief periods to the Internet (i.e. only while downloading the laptop's regular software/AV patches and whatever data you need to transfer to the power plant). That reduces the exposure considerably.

              Second, in this scenario it is impossible for the control system to communicate directly with a potential attacker. Any attacker instructions would have to go through the laptop sneakernet. This is more difficult to make work for the attacker. It also places a latency penalty on attacks. That enables things like auditing the laptop before it's allowed to connect to the control system, thus giving the defenders a chance at discovering the attack before it can do any harm. You can't do that if the control system is on the Internet.

              Third, even when on the Internet, a laptop is not easily identifiable as a piece of critical infrastructure to an attacker who has infiltrated your corporate network from the Internet. A power company LAN may have many, many PCs and laptops. It has far fewer routers, such as those used to control access to the control systems. Forcing the attacker to find the needle in the haystack (which may even be offline at the time) adds some level of security.

              Being offline gives you a far better chance against attacks than being online. It's just inconvenient and more costly. Since the utilities face little market or governmental pressure to be secure, cheap and convenient wins over security.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by omglolbah (731566)

            Yup, but then you get management at central locations -demanding- to have access to realtime data from various plants.

            The budget does not allow for dedicated links so a compromise is chosen... Heavily firewalled tunnels, but over the public internet.

            Then a few years later, someone in management demands more functionality... Like being able to remotely do troubleshooting at the plant to save money on travel... This is implemented, throwing away the "Read Only" nature of the old system... again the internet i

        • by Lennie (16154)

          A seperate network.

          Is it really that hard to seperate 2 networks ?

          If you are in charge of powerplats, maybe some dedicated fiber in the ground, if communication is that important for you, wouldn't be a luxery.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by nschubach (922175)

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

          • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @05:29PM (#33442562)

            You're defending from the wrong threat. There was no IT attack on the power grid, there were conventional bombs along the power grid which is usually a simple problem to solve, but nobody knew where it happened because the government had activated the kill switches on public communication.

            Downing the entire Internet just makes a bad situation worse.

        • by sco08y (615665)

          The Internet is the cheapest available method to move bits from one place to another. Is there a another network that does the job well enough to be considered a competitor?

          SIPRNET, JWICS, etc.

        • by cgenman (325138)

          Internet-based networking technology is the cheapest available method to move bits from one place to another. That doesn't mean that networking system needs to be on "the" internet.

          Lots of companies, the military, etc has private networking that isn't part of the internet. You just run some T1 lines around, which you'd have to do anyway to get on the internet, and make some basic configuration changes. Everything behaves the same as before, just with a separate network.

      • by jgagnon (1663075)

        Take steps to protect yourself from DoS attacks.

        What about Dispensing of Stupidity attacks?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cdrguru (88047)

        Sorry, but the Internet is the cheapest and most effective way of implementing any sort of WAN today. The idea of having your own fiber is gone - there is no point to it and the companies that were offering it have stopped. I don't think you can buy a dedicated fiber connection from New York to Chicago today at any price. Packet-switched on existing fiber? Sure, you can get that. It's called the Internet.

    • Seriously, if you can take out the power for the entire East coast ... why not just do it? Why worry about the Internet?

      • Basically, the way to solve a power outage is to send people out looking for the problem, then swarming around the problem to fix it. It's a rather simple process when cell phones are up... but what do they do when there's not only no power, but no cell phone network too?

        • by jgagnon (1663075)

          Twitter, of course!

        • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:29PM (#33439852) Journal

          The cell phone towers all have gensets. Even the ones with the antennas mounted on the roof of an apartment building. They'll either mount it on the roof, or as part of the leasing for the roof space, also lease a small apartment, completely soundproof it, and leave it very anonymous. Found this out while on jury duty listening to the cell company's expert witness explain the set-up of each antenna as they were able to track several user's locations while they were driving around.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by cdrguru (88047)

            Maybe a few do for short-term outages, but do you understand what is required to keep a generator running for more than a couple of hours? There are no gasoline powered generators designed for that application. There are two types - some recent natural gas/propane ones and big diesel ones. There is no way they have diesel generators at each cell tower, nor is there any provision for refueling them.

            Natural gas is a possibility, but I doubt it. Cell phones do not have the same requirements for staying fun

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by tomhudson (43916)

              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

        • Basically, the way to solve a power outage is to send people out looking for the problem, then swarming around the problem to fix it. It's a rather simple process when cell phones are up... but what do they do when there's not only no power, but no cell phone network too?

          Probably whatever we did before we had cellphones? Insane, I know.

    • If they want to "tie up" the internet without actually shutting it down, just set up a bunch of servers, and when it's time to swing into action, release all that gubbiment pr0n that the employees have been collecting on your dime.

      Nothing clogs up the inner00bs like free porn.

    • by Anon-Admin (443764) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:32PM (#33439894) Homepage Journal

      LostCluster, you have false assumption in your argument. You start with the assumption that the ability "Internet Kill Switch" is being called for based on the reason they stated. We all know that the reason stated by the government has little to do with the real reason.

    • I don't see how terrorist or whatever else could pose a bigger threat to the Internet than getting it all shut down.

      • by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @03:23PM (#33440726)
        You miss the point. There is NO actual threat. If an individual system is connected to the Internet and controls critical things then it is the problem. The trumped threat here is about the same as the Y2K claims. Sure a few systems might crash, but we won't have nuclear weapons launching and power plants exploding. The ability to shut down the Internet, or parts of it, is not about an actual threat, it's about control. Both sides of the political aisle see the Internet as an uncontrolled medium for freedom of speech, and on both sides there are those that see it as something that must be controlled. I used to be strongly for public decency standards on the internet, such as preventing porn from getting to minors, but now I've come to realize that you have to get the good with the bad or just the bad because those that play by the rules are the only one's subjected to the rules.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mellon (7048)

          Actually, it's not the same as Y2K claims, because Y2K claims were credible. This supposed threat is not at all credible. Only someone who has no technical understanding of how networking works would think that having a kill switch for the Internet could help in some way. What a kill switch for the internet does is provide a handy switch for an attacker to throw that will shut down the entire country.

          On the plus side, there's a good chance that after the switch is installed, its first use will be by a

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:13PM (#33439552)
    The internet is the only thread uniting mankind to the point where a conventional war won't happen easily. Of course, this isn't going to stop nukes or wars in third world countries, but the internet allows people of the country that "we're" bombing to communicate back to us so people push pressure on the government.

    Imagine if Iraq or Afghanistan had common internet access, something tells me we wouldn't invade because public opinion would be very much against it. The internet lets you break down all the previous things that held countries in conflict, language, culture, and reporting hindrances no longer exist to countries with internet access.
    • Imagine if Iraq or Afghanistan had common internet access

      How about Iran?

      The problem is, the current governments don't WANT common internet access for the common people... because then we'd probably be hearing about a variety of inhumane treatment and human rights issues that those countries don't want us to know about.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        ...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 invadi
        • I agree it'd be a PR nightmare, but isn't Iranian internet access pretty severely censored? As well as any government protests, etc?
          • Its censored, yes, but Iranian people are rather highly educated while the Iranian government isn't, which makes it possible to break through the censors. Granted, doing so basically puts a mark on your head, but it has been done.

            Plus, the moment US tanks start driving across the Iranian border, you can bet that Iran will start letting bloggers show how inhumane the US occupation is (all the while censoring the many Iranian human rights abuses)
        • This is very insightful. An important part of getting public support for a war is convincing people that the "enemy" is very different from them, somehow less than human, and maybe even evil. When most citizens see that the people being killed really are people too with the same hopes, dreams, and ambitions as them with all the same things to lose, they don't see it as war anymore, they see it as murder.
    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:41PM (#33440034) Homepage

      but the internet allows people of the country that "we're" bombing to communicate back to us so people push pressure on the government.

      Or, it allows the people "we're" bombing to craft a careful astroturf campaign designed to appeal to the prejudices of some portion of 'our' fellow citizens so that they then rage on Twitter, Facebook, Slashdot, etc... etc... The effects on the government are questionable at best because that 'some portion' of 'our fellow citizens' are deluded as to the actual effectiveness of said 'rage' and notably incompetent at questioning the validity and value of information that matches their prejudices.
       

      Imagine if Iraq or Afghanistan had common internet access, something tells me we wouldn't invade because public opinion would be very much against it.

      Which is a consequence of our current system of government by soundbite and opinion poll, not a consequence of the existence of the 'net.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Iraq had widespread Internet access before the invasion, you ignorant twat. Global public opinion was absolutely against it, even public opinion the United States was evenly divided after a year-long scare campaign. Fat lot of good that did.

    • by Minwee (522556)

      Imagine if Iraq or Afghanistan had common internet access

      And then imagine yet another series of unfortunate accidents involving undersea cables [bbc.co.uk].

      Alexander the Great's solution to unsolvable problems is just as effective today as it was in Gordium two thousand years ago.

  • Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:16PM (#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.

    • Well put. But I believe the process isn't about enumeration. It's about establishing capacity, that is, building the "switch" which the president's could flip.

    • Yes, the leaders have the power, because they have the biggest guns. The government does not have the authority. If the leaders declare martial law, they have taken over the government to attack the people. If we give the government the authority, it can be done legitimately.

      If the leaders want to attack the people, we should keep it perfectly clear that the leaders have overthrown the government and it is civil war, not government policing.

  • Truly sad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by forkfail (228161) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:21PM (#33439676)

    ... that the nation that provided the infrastructure for the twitter based reports during the Iran uprisings now wants to make absolutely sure that sort of news can't get out, should things go truly bad here.

  • "the Senate is considering attaching the Internet Kill Switch bill as a rider to other legislation that would have bi-partisan support"

    Bipartisan support? What's that?

    • Bipartisan support? What's that?

      Bipartisan support is what happens when both parties feel that the particular bill being voted on should pass because it would be politically advantageous to themselves and financially advantageous to the corporations that fund their campaigns.
    • by bsDaemon (87307)

      Typically, it either means a non-binding resolution on something uncontroversial, such as "the senate condemns murder"... or something which is no good for anyone, like the Patriot Act, or this "kill switch" crap.

    • the kind of support they get when they are giving themselves a raise.

    • by NevarMore (248971)

      It means you're about to get screwed by two things at the same time.

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

      by Spad (470073) <slashdot@noSpam.spad.co.uk> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @03:44PM (#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.

  • A poison pill? (Score:5, Informative)

    by RobinEggs (1453925) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:23PM (#33439726)

    attaching the Internet Kill Switch bill as a rider

    It's also possible that certain Senators are pretending to like this provision because they know its inclusion could kill the entire bill, a bill they despise secretly but cannot dislike openly. It's called a poison pill in parliamentary terms; an addition which, by design, makes a bill less attractive to its original supporters and may not be favored even of the person submitting it.

  • 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?
  • Reminds me of the BBC TV show "The IT Crowd"....

    "Here Mr. President, this is the Internet!" snickers

    Hands President a suspiciously shoebox sized box with a flashing light on the top and a big red button.

    "Just don't press the button, unless you have dire need, as this will shutdown the Internet!" more repressed snickers...

  • I'm organizing a network of individuals with backbone access who will provid.... $&/%/())==(/&/8(NO CARRIER)
  • Riders (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:26PM (#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:Riders (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:32PM (#33439888)
      Because the politicians in the US don't give a fuck about ethics, legality, etc. and most people don't either. Our constitution has been shitted on just about every election year with people actually promising in their election ads to tear down pillars of human rights when it comes to "undesirable" people ("terrorists", illegal aliens, "sex" offenders, etc)

      But here in the US we have a 2 party system with no real differences between them other than on a few "hot" meaningless issues. For example, should the words "Under God" be on our currency? Despite the fact we have no real debate on actually reforming our currency to be backed by anything. Debates on whether abortion should be legal all the while few debates on privacy issues, etc.

      Until we either have an awakening of the masses, or an electoral system like proportional voting, it will remain this way.
    • Re:Riders (Score:5, Informative)

      by tophermeyer (1573841) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @03:25PM (#33440754)

      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.

      Unfortunately it is sometimes the only way to get something done. At times it is the only way to get certain legislation passed when powerful individuals or committees are opposed to it. Senators cannot openly vote on the item if it stood alone, but they can feel free to vote for a combined bill that includes the item and retain plausible deniability that they ever supported it.

      It is undemocratic and foul. But then, so is our Congress. Senators can't simply vote for the things their constituents want. They need to trade support like currency in the hope of growing their own individual influence. The idea is that in the end the constituents receive fair representation, but if anyone actually believes that then I think they might be interested in some lakefront property for sale in Pakistan. (too soon?)

      In theory we have procedures in place to determine which items get applied to which bill. IMO it is these parliamentary procedures that are abused, not the concept of riders itself. Instead of openly drafting meaningful legislation, parliamentary tricks are played to poison bills or to sneak items through into law. Our recent passing of our Healthcare bills sickened me. I'm not going to comment on where I stand on the concept, but the process and manipulations we went through before it passed was embarrasing.

  • Internet is worldwide now, is a network of networks, is not your thing to have a killswitch. A killswich for internet is like mining all buildings on all countrys in the world "just in case", In case what? In case a real terrorist get his hands on the killswitch? is moronic.

    • A lot of traffic DOES go through it however, and could prove to be extremely problematic to go around for the rest of the world. If my ability to reach certain websites from Canada goes down just because a single line somewhere in Boston went out, imagine what the entire COUNTRY getting shut down would do at that point.
  • Did we learn nothing from Ken Basin's $475,000 mistake on Millionaire? LBJ installed four buttons to order soft drinks in his desk. (And despite using the same desk, Bush wasn't sure what they were for.)

  • The President would have to declare a state of national emergency.

    Get serious. How often does that happen?

    • by treeves (963993)
      Lacking tags, I can only assume *you* were serious, and say "it only has to happen once".
  • Rider bills (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Antony T Curtis (89990) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:30PM (#33439868) Homepage Journal

    The ability to attach unrelated rider bills to other bills is nonsense and should not be allowed.

    I would vote for anyone who would fight to end that nonsense. Unfortunately, I have no voice as I am a legal alien in America and therefore cannot vote. It seems that politicians only want to listen to voters: US citizens and undocumented aliens, apparently.

    I was thinking of having protest signs printed with the words "No taxation without representation" at the last election but I doubt if anyone would get the reference.

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      Who says you can't vote? In the US if you have a driver's license every state is required by law to register you to vote upon presentation of your driver's license. Period. No exceptions.

      Now are you legally entitled to vote? No. But as you apparently have figured out, there is a reason for letting in as many undocumented workers as possible in the next couple of years. It will be a group that will vote for whomever will give them the most and, for them, there are no other considerations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by istartedi (132515)

      Unfortunately, I have no voice as I am a legal alien in America and therefore cannot vote

      Unfortunately, I have no voice as I am merely a citizen by birth in America and therefore cannot make corporate-sized campaign contributions.

      Welcome to my world.

  • by jmerlin (1010641) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:30PM (#33439870)
    "... this is a matter of national security. A cyber attack on America can do as much or more damage today by incapacitating our banks, our communications, our finance, our transportation as a conventional war attack and the president in catastrophic cases, he's not going to do it every day, not going to take it over, so I say to my friends in the internet relax, take a look at the bill, and this is something we need to protect our country. Right now China — the government — can disconnect parts of its Internet in a case of war. We need to have the ability to do that, too."

    Wh.. w.... wha... what!? Are you fucking kidding me? NO. "Cyber war" is wholly driven by bullshit and FUD in news agencies, these people have NO IDEA what they're talking about when they talk about cyber security. Further, in that CNN interview, check this out:

    1. Most of these systems are HIGHLY ISOLATED and secured already by way of private networks, firewalls, DMZs, etc. In this way, an attack as described would be incredibly difficult if not impossible. We have no evidence to show that this is even a slight concern. None.
    2. An internet attack can be fixed. It doesn't DESTROY equipment, it doesn't level a building, it doesn't kill people, and IT people CAN SHUT OFF EXTERNAL ACCESS TO A SYSTEM if it's being targeted by an attack. I trust the judgement of these professional IT persons that know their own systems intimately far above that of our technilogically incompetent and ignorant president.
    3. I've looked at the bill -- nothing in it is even remotely "good." We're good in the IT world. You might not understand that our IT departments are like little units of a larger army. If we get attacked, we can defend ourselves. We don't need you shutting down essential access to patches, communication, support lines, just because you think something might be happening.
    4. In China this capability is reserved to kill the movement of information to restrict communication and the spread of anti-government "propaganda" via the internet. I argue that shutting off our networks for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER is a very blatant violation of constitutional rights. Power like this can only be abused, and as I've pointed out, there is NO well-intentioned or well-informed use case where this wouldn't be much more damaging than an actual cyber attack.

    This sounds like the squaking of a moron with no clue on national TV. He speaks of how damaging shutting down these systems would be.. and that a cyber attack could easily do that (it can't, not easily), but then proposes we give the president the ability to shut them down forcefully here? Really? Killing our networks to stop our networks from being attacked. Do you not see how downtime is downtime no matter what causes it? At least with our current setups, we can mitigate an attack, if the ISP is forced to SHUT OFF the network, we can't, we're fucked, we're down and we just have to go home and hope the all powerful almighty president decides in his infinite wisdom that it's OK to turn it back on later.

    It's simple. This level of micro-management is best left to the ISPs and the companies. Stay the fuck out.
  • Looks like they've already used it against the article host! That's government efficiency!

  • ...provided that the national emergency in question is that the machines have become self-aware and have decided to kill all humans. Under those conditions, a kill switch would be very, very useful.

    On the other hand, if the "national emergency" is defined by the same people who define "breaking news" on 24-hour cable newsertainment networks, then this could be a problem.
  • It might be the only thing that can stop a DDOS attack!
  • Welcome, Comrades!
    Welcome to the Glorious Union of Soviet Corporatist Republics!
  • by wbav (223901)
    "I've said it before and I'll say it again: Democracy simply doesn't work"
    -Kent Brockman [wikia.com]
  • Senator McCain has indicated that he will do anything he can to block and obstruct the Defense Authorization bill with other republicans since it also contains the repeal of DADT and they just can't stand to see gay people being treated equally.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuWrMaLFdao [youtube.com]
  • Given the internet in the US isn't exactly centralized how would you shut it down? Build a remote kill command into all routers? Sounds like something a hacker would love to find. You could start pulling backbone routers but that won't work if you route around... sure you've caused me to take the long way to Google but I'll just be irritated by 50ms vs 200ms latency. Anything that could be implemented to do so ether won't work or would expose everyone to some unauthorized person pulling the plug just for
  • November's Coming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:52PM (#33440194) Homepage Journal
    The November Congressional Elections are just around the corner. If you are tired of the collective douchebaggery and antics of our elected politicians, then campaign, vigorously, in your local community to vote for anyone other than interest-sponsored Democrats and Republicans. Every time politics come up for discussion around my community, I flame both parties equally. Until we convince the rest of the voter base the both party's candidates are corrupt, pandering, unhelpful morons, these kinds of disingenuous shenanigans will continue to run our country.

    We, the citizens of the United States, can't take back control of our government until we collectively declare, in a very clear manner, "Enough is enough!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      What you're accomplishing, if anything, is turning people away from interest in their government, making it even more susceptible to special interests. We can't take back control of our government (if we ever had it more than we do now) until we collectively get interested and involved. At that point, our representatives will have to pay attention to what we want and need, be they Democrat or Republican or other.

      To have any positive effect, you need to be for something, not against something. In polit

  • Isn't a "national emergency" when we (including the government) will need the Internet the most? Intentionally shutting it down will cripple the organizations (government and otherwise) who are trying to handle the emergency.

    We had an example of this back during the Katrina and Haiti disasters, when trucks full of electronics were used to provide wireless phone and internet access to the affected areas.

    There was a funnier example back during Gulf Way I, when the military still had the "feature" in the GPS

  • Nuke the economy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Necron69 (35644) <jscott,farrow&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @03:34PM (#33440870)

    I honestly fail to see how any kind of "cyberwar" could do more damage than "shutting down" the Internet. Exactly how do these morons in Washington think most business is conducted these days? Do they really believe that we could all easily go back to doing business solely by phone, catalog order and the USPS?

    You might as well label the kill switch with "Subtract 90% from GDP!".

    Sheesh....

    Necron69

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