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Is an Internet Kill Switch Feasible In the US? 339

wiredmikey writes "The 'Kill Switch' bill will introduce legislation that would give the US government power to limit Internet traffic in the event of cyber-security emergency. To recap recent events in Egypt, public political protests reached critical mass on January 25th and on January 27th, Internet connectivity and access across the region began plummeting ultimately leading to a five-day blackout. The question remains: could the same approach be taken in the US?"
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Is an Internet Kill Switch Feasible In the US?

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  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @12:53PM (#35151672)

    Where do you draw the line between the a large network and the Internet as a whole?

    You draw the line exactly where it actually exists: where the people running that large network make peering arrangements to allow traffic to come and go through other networks and carriers. There is no internet. There are a bunch of networks that have very complex agreements allowing traffic to pass between and through them.

    And of course, it's worth repeating for the thousandth time on this "kill switch" topic: what the administration wants isn't some button to push, but the legal authority to tell various players (service providers, carriers, software/service operators, etc) that they must immediately honor requests to change what they're doing in an emergency. Say we get hard intel that sometime later that day, someone will be using Twitter or Gmail to issue timing commands to a bunch of people ready to drop off backpack bombs on metro trains in half a dozen large cities around the country. The "kill switch" mechanism doesn't shut down the internet. It allows the counter terror people to ask the administration to use that legal power to get on the phone with Twitter and tell them what needs to happen to prevent such use.

  • by morgauxo ( 974071 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @02:08PM (#35152678)
    I'm not sure exactly what this bill would allow the government to do for good or bad but how is the GP's example anything like what happened in Egypt? Telling Twitter to block an account which is going to be used to synchronize a terrorist attack or even shutting down Twitter altogether isn't exactly the same as completely removing all internet access (or trying to anyway) for the whole country.

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