|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Egypt Flips Internet Kill Switch. Will the U.S.? by Dan Costa, PC Magazine
The legislation was first introduced last summer by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and the former has promised to bring it to the floor again in 2011. It isn't called anything as obvious as the Internet Kill Switch, of course. It is called the "Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act." Who could be against that? Anyone who's watching the news on TV today, that's who.
The proposal calls for the Department of Homeland Security to establish and maintain a list of systems or assets that constitute critical cyber-infrastructure. The President would be able to be able to control those systems. He or she would have ability to turn them off. The kicker: none of this would be subject to judicial review. This is just a proposal, mind you, but it certainly warrants concern. Particularly given the heavy-handed example being provided by Egypt.
Reports of Egypt's grand disconnection came first from James Cowie of Renesys, a New Hampshire-based firm that tracks Internet Traffic. As he watched Egypt drop off the grid, Cowie wrote:
"Every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world."
Keeping citizens off the Internet is becoming standard operating procedure during civil unrest. The Iranian government slowed Internet access to a crawl during last year's civil unrest, but the country online. Myanmar has a little more success blocking its citizens. Egypt's move, however, is unprecedented in its scope.