Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Internet 'Kill Switch' Bill -- What Is This, Egypt?

Posted By on Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 4:39 PM

You can find Uma on the internet, too...
  • You can find Uma on the internet, too...

Looking back at the momentous goings on in Egypt of late, there are plenty of takeaways to go around. Here's one: Should the government have the power to sever society from the Internet? 

U.S. lawmakers are considering another attempt to push through a previously failed internet security bill that would essentially give the president an internet kill switch.

The discussion is an eerie reminder of what happened in Egypt a few weeks ago when former president Hosni Mubarak nixed major Internet service providers, keeping citizens from accessing the web and disrupting cell service for days. Already, free speech advocates across the nation -- which means here in San Francisco, naturally -- are criticizing the national efforts.


The controversial topic is sure to come up during the RSA conference this week in San Francisco. The event will draw thousands of leaders within the IT and computer security industry who will almost certainly opine on the subject.

Last year, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn) introduced the legislation, which was quickly dubbed by the media and critics as the "Kill Switch Bill." His intent, as he has stated, was to defend the U.S. from cyberterrorist attacks by giving the president blanket authority to effectively shut down the Internet in the event of an emergency. The bill died in January when the new Congress was seated.

Critics slammed the legislation, saying it was too dangerous to give the executive branch that much power over the flow of information.

"Considering these networks are our modern printing presses, it indicates serious First Amendment right concerns," said Kevin Bankston, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based organization that defends digital rights. "The hope is that with the Egypt situation and the scrutiny, it will result in a much better bill."

Follow us on Twitter at @SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF
 

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Bio:
Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"