Kill Switch Beta: Government Blocks 84,000 Websites
Under the banner of fighting child pornography, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice knocked out 84,000 websites last week. The websites did not host or link to child pornography as the government claims.
“As part of ‘Operation Save Our Children‘ ICE’s Cyber Crimes Center has again seized several domain names, but not without making a huge error. Last Friday, thousands of site owners were surprised by a rather worrying banner that was placed on their domain,” reports TorrentFreak, a tech site.
IranContraScumDid911 | June 20, 2010 |The fascist co-creator of the Department of Homeland Security which rewrote the US Constitution June 18, 2000. Napolitano: Internet Monitoring Needed to Fight Homegrown Terrorism. Fighting homegrown terrorism by monitoring Internet communications is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security, the nation's homeland security chief said Friday.
As terrorists increasingly recruit U.S. citizens, the government needs to constantly balance Americans' civil rights and privacy with the need to keep people safe, said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
SAN FRANCISCO — A raging debate over new legislation, and its impact on the
Internet, has tongues wagging and fingers pointing from Silicon Valley to Washington, D.C.
Just as the Egyptian government recently forced the Internet to go dark, U.S. officials could flip the switch if the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset legislation becomes law, say its critics.
Proponents of the bill, which is expected to be reintroduced in the current session of Congress, dismiss the detractors as ill-informed — even naive.
The ominously nicknamed Kill Switch bill is sure to be a flashpoint of discussion at the RSA Conference, the nation's largest gathering of computer-security experts that takes place here this week.
The bill — crafted by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Tom Carper, D-Del. — aims to defend the economic infrastructure from a cyberterrorist attack. But it has free-speech advocates and privacy experts howling over the prospect of a government agency quelling the communication of hundreds of millions of people.
"This is all about control, an attempt to control every aspect of our existence," says Christopher Feudo, a cybersecurity expert who is chairman of SecurityFusion Solutions. "I consider it an attack on our personal right of free speech. Look what recently occurred in Egypt."
Its critics immediately dubbed it Kill Switch, suffusing it with Big Brother-tinged foreboding. "Unfortunately, it got this label, which is analogous to death panels (during the health care debates)," says Mark Kagan, director of research at Keane Federal Systems, an information-technology contractor for the government.
The disruption to communications and economic activity "could be catastrophic," says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
Computer-security expert Ira Winkler, a staunch advocate of the legislation, counters, "The fact that people are complaining about this fact is grossly ignorant of the real world. The fact critical infrastructure elements are even accessible to the Internet is the worst part to begin with."
The overheated debate takes place against the backdrop of revolution in the Middle East and a recent breach of Nasdaq's computer system. Both underline the power of the Internet, its vulnerability and the importance of cybersecurity.
It also underscores the delicate balance between protecting the Internet — the largest communications device — and unfettered free speech.
The autocratic government of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak ordered the shutdown of four major Internet service providers, effectively shuttering the Internet in Egypt for several days. Could that happen in the U.S. if the bill becomes law?
In the U.S., there are 2,000 to 4,000 Internet providers, many of whom virulently oppose government interference that would put a clamp-down on their businesses.
"When it comes to practicalities, I would be surprised if anything comes to (a kill switch)," says Reputation.com CEO Michael Fertik, a lawyer with expertise in constitutional law and Internet privacy law. "If (the bill and president) strays too far, it would be extremely unpopular."