Internet 'kill switch' proposed  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The SMH reports that crazed American Senator Joe Liebermann (always on the lookout for new ways to control people) is trying to legislate for a formal mechanism for the US to crash the internet - Internet 'kill switch' proposed.

US President Barack Obama would be granted powers to seize control of and even shut down the internet under a new bill that describes the global internet as a US "national asset".

Local lobby groups and academics have rounded on the plan, saying that, rather than combat terrorists, it would actually do them "the biggest favour ever" by terrorising the rest of the world, which is now heavily reliant on cyberspace.

The proposed legislation, introduced into the US Senate by independent senator Joe Lieberman, who is chairman of the US Homeland Security committee, seeks to grant the President broad emergency powers over the internet in times of national emergency.

Titled "Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act", the bill stipulates any internet firms and providers must "immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed" by a new section of the US Department of Homeland Security, dubbed the "National Centre for Cybersecurity and Communications".

Lobby group TechAmerica told ZDNet it worried that the bill would give the US "absolute power" over the internet and create "unintended consequences".

One of Australia's top communications experts, University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt, railed against the idea, saying shutting down the internet would "inflict an enormous damage on the entire world".

He said it would be like giving a single country "the right to poison the atmosphere, or poison the ocean".

"All our financial systems, all our security systems ... we're so reliant on the internet that if you shut it down there's a question of whether society will continue to operate normally anywhere in the Western world," Landfeldt said in a phone interview.

"By doing this they would do the terrorists the biggest favour ever because they would terrorise the rest of the world".

Landfeldt said the US would be the only country in the world with the ability to shut down the internet. He said such a move would be extremely difficult for the US to justify to other nations.

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