An anonymous reader writes "President Obama has issued a new executive order: 'Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions.' EPIC reports: 'The Executive Order grants new powers to the Department of Homeland Security, including the ability to collect certain public communications information. Under the Executive Order the White House has also granted the Department the authority to seize private facilities when necessary, effectively shutting down or limiting civilian communications.' A few key excerpts from the exec order: 'The views of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public must inform the development of national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) [National Security/Emergency Preparedness] communications policies, programs, and capabilities. ... Sec. 5.2. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall: (a) oversee the development, testing, implementation, and sustainment of NS/EP communications, including: communications that support Continuity of Government; Federal, State, local, territorial, and tribal emergency preparedness and response communications; non-military executive branch communications systems; critical infrastructure protection networks; and non-military communications networks, particularly with respect to prioritization and restoration; .... (e) satisfy priority communications requirements through the use of commercial, Government, and privately owned communications resources, when appropriate."