By William Jackson
Jul 05, 2010
Let's all get a grip on ourselves and forget about the supposed "kill
switch" in the cybersecurity legislation introduced last month by Sen.
Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and look at the reality instead.
There has been a lot of outrage expressed in recent weeks, much of it by
unquestioning bloggers, about national emergency provisions that would
empower the president to turn off the Internet -- whatever that means.
From what I can see, there is no such provision in the bill. And there
doesn't need to be. The president of the United States, as commander in
chief of the armed forces and the executive in charge in any emergency,
already has broad powers that could be construed to allow control of
vital resources without any help from Sen. Lieberman or his bill.
The present concerns have more to do with politics and business than
with cybersecurity and the sanctity of the Internet.
Present cybersecurity strategies call for the National Security Agency
to protect military and intelligence IT systems, puts the Homeland
Security Department in charge of securing the .gov domain, and depends
on the private sector to defend its resources. They are all supposed to
cooperate, but just how is not spelled out, and what we have now is a
fragmented and largely dysfunctional system.