Friday, February 4, 2011

The Internet Kill Switch

In this video, a professor explains how easy it was for the Egyptian government to shut off the Internet, just by telling ISPs to stop carrying traffic. There is a bill to give our own government this ability. We should not allow this to happen. This bill will make all of us vulnerable to a cyber attack by a corrupt government.
kill switchWith reports of Egypt's government completing shutting down the Internet in the country, talk about an "Internet kill switch" bill in the U.S. has reemerged. Could it happen here?

The bill in question is the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, a cyber-security measure introduced in June by Sen. Joseph Lieberman. It was an over-arching cyber-security measure that, among other things, would create an office of cyberspace policy within the White House and a new cyber-security center within the Homeland Security Department.

A provision that got the most attention, however, was one that gave the president the power to "authorize emergency measures to protect the nation's most critical infrastructure if a cyber vulnerability is being exploited or is about to be exploited."

Some interpreted that to mean that the president would have the authority to shut off the Internet at random. ...

via PCMag

A bill to provide a so-called Internet "kill switch" just won't die. It should.The bill is being floated again by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), even though a previous version died in committee. The new bill has bipartisan support; it wouldn't enable to actually kill the internet but merely shut down "critical infrastructure" in case of "a true cyber emergency," Wired was told.

It still sounds like a terrible idea. Predictably, civil liberties groups oppose the bill and we have to agree. ...


Patrick said...

I posted before asking if it's not possible to set up "Pirate Internet."
Is the answer in your ISP post?
What are the challenges in setting something like a pirate internet signal up?
Isn't wifi the same thing, essentially, as a radio signal? Except with a huge difference in signal strength? I'm totally out of my element with these guesses but I'd love to hear someone lay it out clearly.

Xeno said...

If you and I have houses next to each other, we can run Ethernet cable ( up to a max length, then you need a hub to boost the signal) or we could set up wifi if the signals were strong enough given the distance between our houses. Then each of us could connect to one other person and we would have a four person intranet. By definition, you aren't on the Internet until one person in your network connects you all to the global network using TCP/IP and that is where the backbone is needed. You and I don't have the resources to connect different cities using fast fiber optic cable, nor to lay cables under the ocean. So, there you have it, in an oversimplified nut shell.

Patrick said...

Okay, so if the gov't does shut down the internet, we have no way of getting on through our own wits? That seems odd. What we need is some billionaire civil rights activist to launch their own satellite that we can all uplink to for unregulated internet.
But of course it would probably be shot down.

Xeno said...

Hmmm. Can you actually get decent Internet speeds via satellite? Seems like you'd be at the whim of clouds.