Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

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#1 atraub  Icon User is offline

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Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Post icon  Posted 01 February 2011 - 03:51 PM

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Currently there is a bill floating around that would attempt to give President Obama a kill switch for the internet in the US.

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A draft Senate proposal that CNET obtained in August 2009 authorized the White House to "declare a cybersecurity emergency," and another from Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) would have explicitly given the government the power to "order the disconnection" of certain networks or Web sites. House Democrats have taken a similar approach in their own proposals.
Read more: http://news.cnet.com...l#ixzz1CkXiPqZz


Am I the only one who found the problems in Egypt to be particularly well-timed? The government effectively closed off the internet there, and the USA is trying to justify having the same ability.

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Legendary technology columnist John C. Dvorak warned that such a proposal "gives the president the power to literally kill the Internet." Investor's Business Daily noted the emergency procedures would be overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, "the same people who think enhanced pat-downs and groping our junk are necessary evils." Canada's National Post concluded, with mild understatement, the timing was "awkward."
Read more: http://news.cnet.com...l#ixzz1CkYqXabN


What do you guys think? Should President Obama have the ability to shut down certain websites in the event of a National "cyberemergency"?

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Replies To: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

#2 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 01 February 2011 - 03:58 PM

I still can't see a reason why citizens should go without internet. What is an emergency that would require no one internet access?

& if they can kill the internet, why can't they kill spammers & scammers that spread malicious software?
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#3 calebjonasson  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 01 February 2011 - 03:59 PM

In my opinion that is way to much power to give someone. What if the next president in office is power hungry. In my head I think of the internet in the same way I think of free speech. This should never be limited or stopped for whatever reason.
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#4 atraub  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 01 February 2011 - 04:00 PM

I'll admit, the idea of cutting off our internet truly scares me. To me it feels like an attempt to prevent us from seeking help.
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#5 Sethro117  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 01 February 2011 - 04:00 PM

The bill has been floating around long before the Egypt protests.
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#6 atraub  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 01 February 2011 - 04:02 PM

Be that as it may, the Egypt protests do show us how such power could be used.
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#7 xTorvos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 01 February 2011 - 04:14 PM

I've been talking about this idea in my security classes for a while now.

@no2pencil, it's not about limiting traffic really, it's an on-or-off scenario. This is why they wouldn't be able to just stop scammers/spammers.

The idea behind this bill is in the event of a cyber attack on the USA, they would be able to prevent it from doing disastrous things by shutting off access to the Internet in parts of the USA. An example of a disastrous thing would be to crack a SCADA system and then have some other country have access to things like power grids, nuclear reactors, etc. The government is hoping that this Internet Kill Switch would be able to stop Chernobyl from occurring in our country.

Also, Egypt has little to do with this. Events like Estonia and Georgia are what brought this idea around. That and the fact that USA sucks at cyber war.

It's not for the purpose of stopping US citizens from seeing the latest Slashdot article or posting on Facebook, it's about keeping USA critical infrastructure intact and operational.

This post has been edited by xTorvos: 01 February 2011 - 04:16 PM

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#8 atraub  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 01 February 2011 - 04:14 PM

That's the good purpose of the bill, but there doesn't seem to be very clear limits on which systems can be shut down. This is understandable from the perspective of, "What if someone turned all the smartphones into a botnet, then we'd need to restrict their internet protect our country!"

I think Benjamin Franklin said it best, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." I would only add, "and will likely lose both."

This post has been edited by atraub: 01 February 2011 - 04:15 PM

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#9 calebjonasson  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 01 February 2011 - 04:17 PM

Why doesn't the US government just close their systems such as the power grid off from the rest of the world rather than have everyone go down.
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#10 xTorvos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 01 February 2011 - 04:19 PM

I'm not saying that I agree with it. I think that it's a good idea to be able to cut access from certain parts of the Internet. What I mean by this is if the government had a kill switch that cut off all government and critical infrastructure networks from the Internet.

I don't think that they should have the ability to cut me off from the Internet when all it will do is inconvenience me and I see no good reason to cut off non-critical networks from the Internet.

Edit: Beat me to it.

This post has been edited by xTorvos: 01 February 2011 - 04:20 PM

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#11 Dogstopper  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 01 February 2011 - 04:57 PM

Honestly, I don't think the President should yield that power. If the government needs a kill switch, I'm all for it. That's the purpose of secure networks - you should be able to totally isolate it in times of war. However, preventing people from Internet access is wrong. IMO, this government is controlling the people too much as it is and we don't need more control just sitting around.

Again, isolate gov't network = fine by me
prevent Internet access = not ok.
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#12 shammancer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 01 February 2011 - 09:43 PM

If the US would pull a kill switch the internet for 3/4 of the world would be down because the USA is the central nerve system for the internet.One thing is for sure if the US' internet goes down so does Canada's and that is no fair.
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#13 biggerB  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 02 February 2011 - 02:00 AM

Hmmm.. Sounds like the US Govt. are scared of hackers..

Maybe he's watched one too many hacker movies..
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#14 atraub  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 02 February 2011 - 07:04 AM

Well there's an update on the Egypt side of things. Their internet is back!

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Egyptian authorities have restored Internet service to the country after anti-government protests last week led to a five-day Net blackout.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com...l#ixzz1CoIl5hsU

Posted Image

This post has been edited by atraub: 02 February 2011 - 07:04 AM

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#15 ShakesSpears  Icon User is offline

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Re: Internet Kill Switch and the Problems in Egypt

Posted 02 February 2011 - 08:04 AM

@xTorvos being able to control such things such as nuclear power plans remotely is already an issue. No one can reasonably expect any defense will be 100% effective. While someone breaking encryption and setting a nuclear power plant to explode would be bad but being able to shut off the internet would only help if you caught the attack before it finished. A power plant has local workers who's job it is to prevent such things.

The only real way to be safe is to not be connected (e.g. The pentagon has lots of computers that are not hooked up to the internet because they don't want to bother with the possibility of hackers).
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