Senate Cybersecurity Act of 2009 Could Shut Down the Internet

Denise Clay's picture

The Iranian and Chinese governments are known for controlling the internet use of their citizens. This could not happen in the US, could it? The Senate is considering such a bill to create control of the US cyberspace. The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 could possibly give the President of the United States the ability to turn off the internet for public use in the case of an emergency.

The original version of the bill was first written by Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and presented in April 2009. The original Cybersecurity Act of 2009 stated that the President could turn off the internet in the event of a cyber-emergency, but it does not say what constitutes a cyber-emergency.

The new version of the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 changes the wording to allow the President to "declare a cybersecurity emergency." As with the original bill, the revised bill does not explain what a cyber security emergency is.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 is designed to protect critical infrastructures if the country is under attack. Critical infrastructures such as the nation's power, water and traffic lights are just a few. These could possibly be key targets by the US enemies.

Another component of the Cybersecurity Act would require the development of a set of standards for cyberspace security measures. This would create a single standard that all of the internet would have to work within. There is some concern that a single standard would actually create more of a threat. If those attacking the US could break through the single standard rather than the various ones that exist now, then the US would be a great risk.

It is hard to say just what the final version of the act to help protect the US cyberspace will end up looking like. The goals that the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 are important to the US security. Before it will be accepted by the general public, the Senate needs to clarify some of the wording in the bill. Just what is a cybersecurity emergency? The Act as it is currently written does give the potential for the US government to control the internet in the US like Iran and China does, but there will be many changes to it before it will be passed.

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