From: World Net Daily
A pair of bills introduced in the U.S. Senate would grant the White House sweeping new powers to access private online data, regulate the cybersecurity industry and even shut down Internet traffic during a declared “cyber emergency.”
Senate bills No. 773 and 778, introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., are both part of what’s being called the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, which would create a new Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor, reportable directly to the president and charged with defending the country from cyber attack.
A working draft of the legislation obtained by an Internet privacy group also spells out plans to grant the Secretary of Commerce access to all privately owned information networks deemed to be critical to the nation’s infrastructure “without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access.”
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Privacy advocates and Internet experts have been quick to sound the alarm over the act’s broadly drawn government powers.
“The cybersecurity threat is real,” says Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, which obtained the draft of S.773, “but such a drastic federal intervention in private communications technology and networks could harm both security and privacy.”
“The whole thing smells bad to me,” writes Larry Seltzer in eWeek, an Internet and print news source on technology issues. “I don’t like the chances of the government improving this situation by taking it over generally, and I definitely don’t like the idea of politicizing this authority by putting it in the direct control of the president.”