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United States Government Security

Bill Gives Feds "Emergency" Powers To Secure Civilian Nets 505

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-your-nets-are-belong-to-us dept.
ziani writes "Joe Lieberman wants to give the federal government the power to take over civilian networks' security if there's an 'imminent cyber threat.' From the article: 'Lieberman and Collins' solution is one of the more far-reaching proposals. In the Senators' draft bill, "the President may issue a declaration of an imminent cyber threat to covered critical infrastructure." Once such a declaration is made, the director of a DHS National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications is supposed to "develop and coordinate emergency measures or actions necessary to preserve the reliable operation, and mitigate or remediate the consequences of the potential disruption, of covered critical infrastructure."'"
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Bill Gives Feds "Emergency" Powers To Secure Civilian Nets

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  • by WCMI92 (592436) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @07:59AM (#32442912) Homepage

    First off it's private property, and private property rights are covered in the Constitution.

    Obama can have my root passwords only from my cold, dead, brain.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:13AM (#32443042) Homepage

      Well, during normal peace time a lot of things like water pipes, electricity, phone lines etc. basically what you call critical infrastructure is a civilian matter. In a real emergency or military conflict the military can send an engineer corps to fix it, and I doubt any civilian has the authority to stop them. This sounds like something fairly similar for cybersecurity. If they need to plug in some extra cryptoboxes or firewall rules or armed guards at interconnects to secure the network infrastructure, they can and will. I'm just saying that depending on what exactly this means, it might be quite similar to what's already happening for other infrastructure.

      • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:28AM (#32443162)

        I don't have a problem with this. This is worded in such a way that they can't just quietly come in and take control of the infrastructure. It would require a presidential declaration to start this in motion. Hardly something you can hide. It will also protect the rest of the internet that we control in the event of a cyberattack. I agree with the parent. This is a logical step to secure critical infrastructure in the event of an attack. Not some paranoid bill that will allow big brother to sneak in unaware and monitor/control every aspect of the internet. It is very specific in it's target and implementation trigger.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It could probably be secure if it was handled by intelligent people. The Federals have consistently displayed to me the inability and negligence to handle anything "security" related. When we start rolling out our own nets by god they better not touch that otherwise they will have a piece of cold steel up their ass.

        • by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:56AM (#32443410)

          Please consider that the bill comes from an anti-civil libertarian, a war 'hawk', and a post-9/11 buddy of the bunch in Congress that gave you the Patriot Act, and so on. Yeah, hurricanes, oil spills, and Internet threats-- perfect candidates for federal government emergency work.

        • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:06AM (#32443512)

          It is very specific in it's target and implementation trigger.

          You forgot one thing: there's always an "imminent cyberattack", for the same reasons we still have spam.

          Basically this gives the president the power to declare computing martial law whenever he feels like it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          So was my social security number and it was never going to be used for ANYTHING except the delivery of my social security benefits. That didn't work out quite the way they promised either.

        • by DeadPixels (1391907) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:45AM (#32443892)

          It is very specific in it's target and implementation trigger.

          Unfortunately, that's not enough to reassure me. How many times have we seen laws "creatively interpreted" to allow someone to do something that might otherwise be considered illegal?

        • by jittles (1613415) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:52AM (#32443956)
          I haven't reviewed this most recent iteration but they had a bill like this in committee about a month or two ago that only required the president to notify a single committee of the senate. There was no rule requiring public announcement. This could be different, I don't know.
        • by Proteus Child (535173) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:53AM (#32443974) Homepage

          I don't have a problem with this. This is worded in such a way that they can't just quietly come in and take control of the infrastructure. It would require a presidential declaration to start this in motion. Hardly something you can hide.

          Whether or not the takeover is hidden is not the point. Whether or not they'll give it back is the point.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DJRumpy (1345787)

            All of this concern is valid, but is being stretched quite a bit given the posts in this thread. From what I recall, we still have a form of Democratic government. This doesn't allow them to simply toss all consequence out the window regardless of what the alarmist posts in this group are implying. Our government is still answerable to the citizens they serve. If the times comes when our government is no longer answerable to it's citizens, then this bill is rather irrelevant in the larger scheme of things a

      • by stonewallred (1465497) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:56AM (#32443400)
        Doubt any civilian has the means to stop them. Most real authority comes from the barrel of a gun. And even though the USA is almost totally made their once respected police officers into para-military goons, with balaclavas, blacked out badges and no name tags, armed with fully automatic weapons in many cases, with an arsenal of armored vehicles, grenades, sniper teams and trained tactical response units, they still are not the match of a average military combat unit. The police still get a minor amount of instruction and training in holding their fire and less than deadly responses.
        • by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday June 03, 2010 @10:25AM (#32444388) Journal

          And even though the USA is almost totally made their once respected police officers into para-military goons

          Blame the War on Drugs for this. Two generations ago the local police were rarely armed with anything heavier than a revolver and the occasional shotgun. Now they have armored vehicles, fully automatic weapons, flashbangs, etc. Mind you, that's because the criminals got more firepower too, but that's also attributable to the War on Drugs. The last time we tried prohibition it started an arms race between the criminals and the police. Too bad we didn't learn any lessons from that experience.

      • by Borealis (84417) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:19AM (#32443624) Homepage

        Do you remember Katrina? Do you really want the feds fucking with your network? It is far more plausible to believe that civilian networks will rebound faster from a cyber attack without federal interference because most civilian networks are run by people who do that sort of thing for a living, with their networks, configured properly for their use. Do you really think some random fed network guy is going to be able to reconfigure your network from afar without prior knowledge of how you have it configured? How will they know your user names? How will they access your backups? How will they know which entries on your administrator list are valid administrators and which ones are planted by cyber attackers?

        • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @10:01AM (#32444060) Homepage Journal
          It is far more plausible to believe that civilian networks will rebound faster from a cyber attack without federal interference because most civilian networks are run by people who do that sort of thing for a living,

          Agreed. Just look at what a great job the civilian oil industry has done in stopping the flow of oil from the broken well in the Gulf by the people who do that sort of thing for a living when the government hasn't interfered.

          I'm not saying you're wrong, just giving a counter-example to the mantra that private companies are better at doing things than the government. Government, on the whole, can martial resources more quickly and get them to where they are needed faster than can civilian institutions. However, that requires that both parties not be at each other's throats during the process. The process should be:

          1) Government gets the resources and delivers them to pre-position points
          2) Civilian organizations then distribute/use those resources as they know what needs to be done

          To use Haiti as an example, it should have been the government, in the form of the military, who got to the airport first, then using engineers, cleared a path from the airport to the city. During that time, basic resources should have been collected and prepared for delivery with civilian organizations working with the government on what aid was really needed.

          Once a path was cleared, the resources were delivered along with the civilians who would be distributing the resources, using the paths cleared by the engineers.

          This is a very basic overview of what needed to be done, but you get the point. A partnership of government and civilian organizations is what is needed in emergencies. Not one or the other.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by omglolbah (731566)

            Actually, the amusing part of the example you've used is that the oil company is doing exactly what they know work :-p

            Where your argument breaks down is when you attack the efforts of the people "doing it for a living" with regard to the oil leak.

            These people know what works. The problem is that the solution that works is too slow and we're all paying the price for that.
            The same could be said for networking where the solutions that work are known. And with regard to networking it is fast!

            I seriously doubt t

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Borealis (84417)

            BP is probably not a good analogy to this as there is to my knowledge no evidence that federal involvement from the initial blow out would have made any difference. The feds don't have a solution to capping the well either (and in fact failed rather disastrously in keeping BP in compliance with existing government overseen safety regulations).

            I concur that both feds and civilians would work better in concert than opposition, but for civilian networks you are dealing with an area in which the feds have abso

    • by PerformanceDude (1798324) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:35AM (#32443210)
      Hmm - let's for a minute imagine that you are the person in charge of an essential utility (say an electrical retailer with the new "smart meters" installed) and you are under attack. You are not coping, your countermeasures are not working. Bit by bit, your network fall under the control of your attacker and people are slowly but surely getting their power turned off.

      Lets add to that scenario that it is the middle of winter in one of the northern states, so people are starting to freeze to death.

      In that equation, would you still not hand over your root password to safe lives? Just because it is "private property"?

      I'm not saying that you are incompentent as a sys-admin - but I'm saying that there may be incompetent sys-admins out there in very critical private companies (in fact - I'm sure there is - at least incompetent when it comes to fighting a competent blackhat).

      I'm not sure of the details of this bill - but as in the above scenario I can certainly think of situations where intervention by specialist government experts may be needed for the greater good or to save lives.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by brian0918 (638904)

        In that equation, would you still not hand over your root password to safe lives? Just because it is "private property"?

        Correct. The fact that you consider my services "essential" does not grant you the right to my services. I am not your slave.

        • by Broken scope (973885) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:28AM (#32443736) Homepage

          If your company directly uses the government granted right of way that allows your people to drive through my cornfield twice a year to get a power pole, generally knocking down a 350 square foot patch of corn in the process, and has a government granted monopoly on providing a utility to my area, you don't get argue private property.

          You are infrastructure and you need to suck it up, there are already laws that prevent you from killing someone by cutting their power in the winter, if this law passes, you can bitch all you want, but you will give up the passwords cause your company only exists and profits by the grace of the government. You don't like it? Then don't use government right of way, build the lines by negotiating with every property owner who has land you need to cross.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gnieboer (1272482)

          Wow. So "your" failure to secure your network is killing people (given the scenario above), and you would still refuse to hand over the password to people trying to stop the attack and therefore save lives??

          If your stance is that extreme even in the face of an example that extreme, then you may have just changed my mind on this legislation. Clearly we need it. I would have thought anyone out there, when faced with something beyond their capability, would ask for help if it was really important. Guess no

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        Lets add to that scenario that it is the middle of winter in one of the northern states, so people are starting to freeze to death.

        The likelihood of a cyber attack is about as close to zero as you can get -- it hasn't happened yet. OTOH, we get ice storms that cut power for weeks.

        The week containing March 12, 2006 saw rain storms, snow storms, ice storms, hail, sleet, and tornados here in Springfield. If Osama Bin Laded saw the destruction the tornados caused, he'd give up. [slashdot.org] There's no way short of detonatin

    • by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:38AM (#32443242) Homepage

      Obama can have my root passwords only from my cold, dead, brain.

      Read the freakin' summary, at the very least. It's Lieberman the Toad that wants to do this, not Obama. (Although, given the chance, Obama likely would...but still, this is about Lieberman.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Did you RTFA? It says that the bill covers "critical infrastructure." Not all private networks will fall under this category. The fine article says:

      But the staffers say that the emergency powers will only apply to a relatively small number of companies, and only in the most extreme cases — when an electronic exploit might cause “catastrophic regional or national damage” resulting in “thousands of lives or billions of dollars” lost.

      In fact, the article even points out that th

      • by camg188 (932324)
        Politicians love to be vague.
        Does the bill define exactly what "critical infrastructure" is? Exactly how would a network attack result in the loss of "thousands of lives"?
    • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:58AM (#32443430) Homepage

      You are pretty wrong about that.

      First of all, they wouldn't be interested in internal/private networks. They would be interested in the public internet. To that end, nearly all of the pieces of the public internet are privately owned but are granted "right of way" by governing agencies. This "right of way" is how their cables and devices are protected under law. But in order to get this right of way, they have to agree to be governed under certain rules. This is no different from the FCC leasing radio band ranges and then controlling what can be done with them or how they are used. In fact, participation in the public internet comes with rules of its own. Which governing agency is a subject of controversy but you know all about that I'm sure.

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:58AM (#32443432) Homepage Journal

      Obama can have my root passwords only from my cold, dead, brain.

      Yeah, I need more coffee this morning, too.

    • Why are you laying this at the President's feet? The bill is sponsored by Susan Collins, a Republican, and Joe Lieberman, independent (and former Democrat in name only). Obama has done plenty that I disagree with, but he's not responsible for everything that's wrong in Washington.
  • I think someone has read too many cyberpunk novels.

    • It sounds like the plot to Terminator 3. If they did implement back doors or security protocols to allow handover of control to an external source, then it would just make any "cyber threat" even more imminent than it is already.

  • WTF? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Parker Lewis (999165)
    I think this senator (John Lieberman) don't have any idea about the computational impact of this bill (almost impossible). As the majority of the politicans, he's making laws to raise credibility over the non tech people.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OhPlz (168413) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:04AM (#32442960)

      I think this senator (John Lieberman) don't have any idea about the computational impact of this bill (almost impossible).

      Nor the irony. Perhaps they ought to try securing our borders first.

    • by wjousts (1529427)
      And since you can't get Joe Lieberman's name right, it seems that you know as much about politics as he does about the internet. I mean he was only the Democrat's VP candidate in 2000.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxwell demon (590494)

      What is impossible about a group of armed officers coming to the building and saying "give us your passwords, or else"?

  • Strange name (Score:4, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel DOT hedblom AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:01AM (#32442934) Homepage Journal

    Strange name for a bill thats made for limiting and controlling the flow of information in case of, well just about anything. War on drugs, immigrants, terrorists, citizens?

    If there was any real concern about cyber security, Windows would be outright banned on the spot.

    • Strange name for a bill thats made for limiting and controlling the flow of information in case of, well just about anything. War on drugs, immigrants, terrorists, citizens?

      ...or in case of breaking news stories via places like the wikileaks channel [twitter.com], or other reporting of recent world events [fair.org] not in line with the Fed/Corporate interests...

  • Wager time! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:02AM (#32442942)

    If this passes. (and it will, in some form) I bet we will have a 'threat' within 5 years.

    And they just won't give back control of the net.

    Hope i'm wrong. but... that doesn't happen often.

  • by LatencyKills (1213908) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:02AM (#32442944)
    And how long before "imminent cyberthreat" is software piracy, child pornography, or any number of other crimes du jour? Thanks but no thanks - we'll take care of our own tubes.
    • the slippery slope implies that there is no rational thinking people in the room

      its the same argument used by those who stand against gay's right to marry: "if we let gays marry, then people will be marrying sheep! polygamy will be legal too!" bullshit. people understand that homosexual marriage is not bestiality or multiple wives

      or howabout: "if they legalize marijuana they will legalize meth and heroin too!" no. meth is not marijuana. heroin is not marijuana. everyone understands the radical differences between these drugs

      if you can understand that those who use the bullshit tactic of the slippery slope against gay marriage or marijuana legalization are trafficking in fear and hysteria, then maybe you can see that in your own words, is the exact same fear and hysteria

      so, just so you clearly understand... no: a cyberattack is not piracy. a cyberattack is not pedophilia. common sense attempts to secure a network is not going to be confused with efforts against piracy. or pedophilia

      really. we all understand the difference. really

      people, please: shut up with the bullshit slippery slope arguments. whenever you find yourself arguing in terms of the slippery slope, you have lost your grasp on rationality and reason and are simply fearful, hysterical, and confused. there is no such thing as a slippery slope. repeat: there is no such thing as a slippery slope

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Karl Rove? Is that you? You don't work there anymore!
      • by VShael (62735) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:20AM (#32443104) Journal

        If you can give me ONE example, where a set of laws were introduced (like the Patriot Act) with the promise they wouldn't go down slippery slope, AND THEY KEPT THAT PROMISE, then I'll shut up about the slippery slope.

        Okay?

        • by WCMI92 (592436) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:51AM (#32443354) Homepage

          I am a conservative who opposed (and still opposes) the PATRIOT act just for this reason. I am against giving the government ANY additional power or control over citizens. Especially ones with such huge possibility for misuse. I didn't want Bush to have the PATRIOT act because I knew that someday there'd be someone like Obama come along to also use it. What has this guy taken over so far? 2/3rds of the US auto industry, the entire banking industry, and now the healthcare system. Yeah, do we want to allow them to take over the private network infrastructure too?

          They can't even get unemployment back under 9%.

          History has proven that whenever you give government power that CAN be abused, it WILL be abused.

          • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:27AM (#32443720) Journal

            You do realize that propping up those industries likely prevented a 1930s style collapse? And that the safeguards which were removed (and safeguards which were not put into place) occurred during the 14 years that the Republicans controlled both houses of congress? And that it was President Bush who bought out the banking industry?

            The problem with this particular law is that we don't need it. The president has this power in the event of an immanent attack or war anyway. IMHO, this is posturing - and counterproductive.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Shakrai (717556) *

              You do realize that propping up those industries likely prevented a 1930s style collapse?

              It's too early to draw that conclusion. A lot of smart economists think that we've just delayed the inevitable and made the eventual crash that much worse. Time will tell of course -- but capitalism without creative destruction is no longer capitalism. All of the resources being used to prop up those failing companies are resources that can't be used by smaller and more nimble enterprises.

              And that the safeguards which were removed (and safeguards which were not put into place) occurred during the 14 years that the Republicans controlled both houses of congress?

              What are you, some sort of Democratic partisan? The repeal of Glass-Steagall was signed into law by Bill Clinton.

              • by FreeUser (11483) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:38AM (#32445390)

                What are you, some sort of Democratic partisan? The repeal of Glass-Steagall was signed into law by Bill Clinton.

                What are you, a Republican partisan? A republican controlled congress introduced the legislation and passed it with a veto-proof majority. Of course Clinton signed the bill. To do otherwise was to ensure he suffered a humiliating veto, and paint him as the odd-one out in a time when most powerful lobbies, media organisations, and parties were hell-bent on deregulating everything.

                That said, I blame the democrats just us much. Not for the current crisis, which was by and large a natural consequence of conservative "deregulate everything and let the market decide" thinking, but for not having the backbone to oppose this shit on principle even when it was in vogue, and for not pointing the finger more loudly at those responsible: Republicans and so-called "blue dog" democrats that have spent the last 20 years dismantling the regulatory structures put into place after the last depression, which were largely responsible for the economic stability we enjoyed throughout most of the 20th century, and for doing so in the wake of the Savings and Loan scandals which had already amply demonstrated exactly why the banking industry shouldn't be deregulated in this way.

                There's plenty of bad governance on all sides, but this economic collapse was a direct result of the policies that stemmed from right-wing "get the government out of business" knee-jerk deregulation, of which the republican repeal of Glass-Steagall (with the "bipartisan" help of conservative blue-dog democrats-only-in-name and a centrist democratic president who, frankly, behaved more like a republican than most republicans after his health-care reform failed) was but one part of the problem.

                And please don't start claiming this was driven by liberal requirements for fair-lending practices...there was never a mandate to lend to people who couldn't pay back their loans. That particular Republican talking point has been debunked more times than anyone can count. CDSes and exotics required debt to be underwritten, and it was pure profit motive for more debt, to sell more exotics, to line the pockets of greedy inside-traders with more money, that required more lending, far and away beyond anything required or encouraged by the US government. This was deregulated markets in action, "greed is good" in an environment of historically low interset rates kept low for political purposes by the Bush administration, leading to a very natural and predictable result.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Nugoo (1794744)
        When was the last time you saw someone react rationally to child porn? I give it 8 years, long enough that people are used the bill, before they start overraeching with it.
      • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:22AM (#32443118)

        the slippery slope implies that there is no rational thinking people in the room

        And the "there is no slippery slope" argument implies that everyone in the room shares your opinions on everything that matters.

        Note that we're talking about government here. The government's objectives at any given time are not necessarily the same as your objectives. They're not even necessarily similar to your objectives.

        Do remember all the screaming about the PATRIOT Act. And then look back over the last eight years and see how much of that has actually happened...

        As to the question of legalizing Gay Marriage...personally, I'm pretty much indifferent to the question, but I hate to break it to you, but the arguments used to justify gay marriage work quite well to justify polygamy/polyandry/polygyny. If I were a Mormon, I'd already be planning my ad campaign for the 2020 election season....

        • As to the question of legalizing Gay Marriage...personally, I'm pretty much indifferent to the question, but I hate to break it to you, but the arguments used to justify gay marriage work quite well to justify polygamy/polyandry/polygyny. If I were a Mormon, I'd already be planning my ad campaign for the 2020 election season....

          Nobody wants to prevent polygamy except the utterly undesirable who will be unable to attract a mate if they have other options. I'm sure most women would rather be the "second wife" to someone attractive, kind, or both than to be the first one to most of these fat old fucks making laws and whipping religious conservatives into a froth of voting fervor. It's not like making such unions illegal prevents them from forming, it just means that the participants lack legal rights, which is what this is all about, anyway. Giving rights to married couples is a violation of constitutional rights preventing laws which respect an establishment of religion, but we can't even get "In God We Trust" off the money after the Supremes ruled that it refers specifically to Jehovah.

          • Nobody wants to prevent polygamy except the utterly undesirable who will be unable to attract a mate if they have other options.

            Spoken like someone who has never read any of the history on the subject.

            Actually, pretty much everyone in the Western World opposes the idea. Because if they didn't, it would've been legal centuries ago....

            • by Calinous (985536)

              Polygamy is a forbidden subject with an (european) history of almost two millennia, and America is (in many ways) not different at all from the Europe (especially in those old forbidden subjects).

          • a bunch of rich men (its about money, not love) taking up a bunch of women represents an equal sized population of poorer men who are now without a mate, through no fault of their own

            so now you have a bunch of angry rootless loveless men in your society without any hopes for their future and nothing to lose. use your boundless imagination as to the effects of that

          • by VoidCrow (836595)

            > I'm sure most women would rather be the "second wife" to someone attractive, kind, or both

            It's nice that you feel you have the confidence to speak for myself and my friends. Your powers of perception must be quite legendary.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              It's nice that you feel you have the confidence to speak for myself and my friends. Your powers of perception must be quite legendary.

              Your anecdotally taking exception to my comment is as meaningful as my comment itself, which is to say, fucking useless. Even you don't know how you would react given such a chance and you certainly don't know how your friends would do. You are a product of your environment, in which ten corporations control over 95% of all media in this country and over 50% of all media in the world. Or in short, you have been brainwashed, and your reactionary response demonstrates this fact nicely.

              Personally, I use the ma

        • by swillden (191260)

          If I were a Mormon, I'd already be planning my ad campaign for the 2020 election season....

          FYI, Mormons who practice polygamy are excommunicated, and that wouldn't change if the practice were legalized.

      • Get some pepto. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:37AM (#32443236)

        ts the same argument used by those who stand against gay's right to marry: "if we let gays marry, then people will be marrying sheep! polygamy will be legal too!" bullshit. people understand that homosexual marriage is not bestiality or multiple wives

        I had no problem with folks wanting to marry a sheep, cat, goat, or whatever - what they do behind closed doesn't affect me or my liberties.

        the slippery slope implies that there is no rational thinking people in the room

        It's no the people in the room I'm concerned about. It's the people making policy.

        Border patrol. They are there to secure our borders from illegal immigrants and protect the borders from invaders, but yet, they're searching citizen's laptops for child porn. What has child porn have to do with securing our borders? Or drugs for that matter. A citizen sniffing a line of coke won't jeopardize our security or our freedom, but yet, the increased powers of the border guards has limited some of our freedom - Fourth Amendment.

        Gun laws are on this continuous pendulum of restriction and liberation but the net effect over time has been more restrictions on law abiding citizens and our Second Amendment right is withering away . In the meantime, the criminals are shooting away without restriction.

        Tax laws - IRS - the Mother of all slipper slopes. The income tax was put in place to pay for a war that has long been over and paid off and yet, the laws become ever more complex and violate our rights more every year.

        No. The slippery slope argument exists because it's true. Sure there is a bit a hyperbole occasionally but it doesn't make it not true.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Honestly, what else would you expect from Senator Palpatine [theforce.net]?

      Joe Lieberman has yet to see a policy to expand government power that he didn't like, usually in the name of fighting terrorism. He's more-or-less the civil liberties antithesis of Russ "No on PATRIOT Act" Feingold. If the Democrats had any cajones, they would have booted him from his committee posts a long time ago.

      Now, what makes him different from Republicans is that he tends to support expanding government regulations on business as well as on

    • After all, how many national emergencies have happened in our lifetimes and how long have they lasted?
  • by lseltzer (311306) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:10AM (#32443014)

    Right, because the Federal Government knows better how to secure a network than private industry.

    • by WCMI92 (592436)

      Federal government or government in general pretty much knows less about how to do ANYTHING (excepting the military) than anyone else. Look at how they dealt with Katrina, and the keystone kop operation going on in the gulf right now with the oil spill. If you depend on the government instead of yourself to save you from disaster or from starving or from cyber attack, guess what, they can't.

      Also, having dealt with government IT people back when I still worked for a service provider, I can say from experie

      • Well, give them credit for the highly successful Wars on Poverty, Racism, Drugs and Terror. Look, an America with no poor people, no racism, no drugs and no terror. See how well it works?
  • by VShael (62735) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:18AM (#32443078) Journal

    But somehow, at some point in time, the US Government will cross the line into controlling the internet just as much as any dictatorship would. (see China)

    The only question is whether they will do it gradually enough for the people to notice, or not.

  • It's called cutting the power at power stations that control the power to the internet providers.

  • Bill? (Score:5, Funny)

    by RivenAleem (1590553) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:27AM (#32443146)

    Who is Bill, and how can he give this kind of power to the Feds?

  • by Jawnn (445279) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:30AM (#32443180)
    The ironic part is that even if the bill passes, is signed, and the law eventually invoked, it will be "the feds" riding to the rescue of the net. Yeah, right.
    Look, I'm am no "all government intervention is bad" arm flapper. Far from it, but I'm sorry. There are clearly better hands for this task. They're running the net every day and repelling attacks every day. So what "threat", pray tell, would be so dire that only ham-fisted government cowboys could save us?
  • by B5_geek (638928) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:36AM (#32443226)

    Umm, excuse me Government there is a secret I think you should know:

    If your 'Critical infrastructure' is connected to a PUBLICLY accessible Internet, then you are doing something wrong.

  • Does anyone know if similar powers exist to take over things like power-stations, water supplies etc in the event of some attack/emergency?

    The Wired article keeps talking about "covered critical infrastructure" without actually defining exactly what that means.

    The described intent (for arguments sake lets assume they are being honest for a change) is to secure critical infrastructure. This could include things like the phone network (essential for the emergency services and governemt to function), the powe

  • It's called "Martial Law," and should only be invoked during times of dire emergency, if at all.

    Not being able to check Facebook does not qualify as a dire emergency.

  • ...of any technology issue? Or any issue? And by "right" I mean "correct". As someone who is not a fan of the two parties (nor partisanship), it amazes me that anyone in Connecticut wants their state associated with this man.

  • by jonwil (467024) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:52AM (#32443356)

    From reading TFA, this is about the government needing the power to take over critical infrastructure in the advent of a threat to Americas national security. So for example this allows them to take over control of (and security of) electronic control networks running things like the electricity grid if the spooks get wind of an immanent cyber attack.

    Just like the feds used their power to shut down US airspace after 9/11, the feds need the power to take over, disconnect, shut down, secure or control computer systems and networks controlling critical infrastructure in the advent of a "Cyber 9/11" attack (a threat that is not just the stuff of movies like Die Hard 4.0)

    Per the proposal, "Critical Infrastructure" does NOT mean Google or Facebook or Slashdot or whatever, it means things like power grids, gas plants, water systems, hospitals, emergency services, oil refineries etc.

  • by aarongreenlee (1489699) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:52AM (#32443368)
    Terror, fear and threats are too easy to manufacture. With laws like this, a few people can seize powers and rule above the people. Then, traffic gets filtered or blocked and no one learns who really did 9/11 or the 'internet attack of 2015' or whatever it will be.

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