The US Government Has an Internet Killswitch — and It’s None of Your Business

internet-killswitchBy Derrick Broze

On Monday the Supreme Court declined to hear a petition from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) that sought to force the Department of Homeland Security to release details of a secret “killswitch” protocol to shut down cellphone and Internet service during emergencies.

EPIC has been fighting since 2011 to release the details of the program, which is known as Standard Operating Procedure 303. EPIC writes, “On March 9, 2006, the National Communications System (‘NCS’) approved SOP 303, however it was never released to the public. This secret document codifies a ‘shutdown and restoration process for use by commercial and private wireless networks during national crisis.’”


EPIC continues, “In a 2006-2007 Report, the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (‘NSTAC’) indicated that SOP 303 would be implemented under the coordination of the National Coordinating Center (‘NCC’) of the NSTAC, while the decision to shut down service would be made by state Homeland Security Advisors or individuals at DHS. The report indicates that NCC will determine if a shutdown is necessary based on a ‘series of questions.’”

Despite EPIC’s defeat at the hands of the Supreme Court, the four-year court battle yielded a heavily redacted copy of Standard Operating Procedure 303.

The fight for transparency regarding SOP 303 began shortly after a Bay Area Rapid Transit (“BART”) officer in San Francisco shot and killed a homeless man named Charles Hill on July 3, 2011. The shooting sparked massive protests against BART throughout July and August 2011. During one of these protests, BART officials cut off cell phone service inside four transit stations for three hours. This kept anyone on the station platform from sending or receiving phone calls, messages, or other data.

In July 2012, EPIC submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the DHS seeking the full text of Standard Operating Procedure 303; the full text of the predetermined “series of questions” that determines if a shutdown is necessary; and any executing protocols related to the implementation of Standard Operating Procedure 303, distributed to DHS, other federal agencies, or private companies.

After the DHS fought the FOIA releases, a district court in Washington, D.C. ruled in EPIC’s favor, but that ruling was later overturned by the court of appeals. The appeals court told EPIC the government was free to withhold details of the plan under the Freedom of Information Act because the information might “endanger” the public.  In 2015, the digital rights group asked the Supreme Court to review the ruling by the federal appeals court.

With the Supreme Court’s refusal to address EPIC’s petition, the issue seems to have reached a dead-end. The American people are (once again) left in the dark regarding the inner-workings of another dangerous and intrusive government program. It is only through the hard work of activists and groups like EPIC that we are at least aware of the existence of this program — but knowing bits and pieces about the protocol is not enough. In order to combat such heavy-handed measures, we need to have access to the government’s own documents. Hopefully, there is already a whistleblower preparing to release these details.

What we do with the information we do have is up to each of us as individuals. We can sit back and watch the United States further devolve into a militarized police and surveillance state — or we can spread this information, get involved locally, and create new systems outside of the current paradigm of control and exploitation.

This article (The US Government Has an Internet Killswitch — and It’s None of Your Business) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Derrick Broze and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Tmthetom. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

  • Fungus

    In the event of an Internet and/or bank holiday, prepare to defend yourselves.

    • Warfighter

      You got that right! The BEST defense is a WELL PLANNED, WELL EXECUTED, and OVERWHELMINGLY EFFECTIVE OFFENSE!! Folks..the TRUTH of the matter is simple…THESE GLOBALIST, LIBTARD @$$HOLES HAVE EVERY INTENTION TO DO ONE OF TWO THINGS TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF Y’ALL…EITHER SYSTEMATICALLY SUBJUGATE OR MURDER Y’ALL. THOSE will be the ONLY CHOICES given whenever they unveil their NEW WORLD ORDER. At that point, IT WILL BE TOO LATE. We here in The Sovereign Republic of Texas HAVE NO PLAN TO PARTICIPATE in their NEW WORLD ORDER! WE WILL make Gen. Sam Houston’s words come true..to wit..TEXAS WILL AGAIN LIFT ITS HEAD AND STAND AMONG THE NATIONS!! We will do so as a FREE, SOVEREIGN, INDEPENDENT, CHRISTIAN CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC!!

      God Bless, Protect and Restore Our Sovereign Republic of Texas!

      • Fungus

        Ready Supply Foods is worth the investment.

  • Smokey

    Somebody better have a kill switch on that ISP bill too.

  • Spacemadman

    I’ve known about that for sometime and if anyone wants to verify it, check Barry’s Executive Orders. There is one that he signed to take over all non military communications during a time of crisis or emergency. My cell phone, hand held radio, computer are all 1st Amendment devices and should never be quieted by our government. Especially in a time of crisis or emergency when they would be needed the most by the citizens of this country to communicate with their families and loved ones.

    • Bandit

      I take it you are probably a ham operator as I am, funny thing about the old type radios they just keep on going as long as the battery holds out. And yes I have to agree with what you had to say there.

      • Mark

        amrron dot com

      • Spacemadman

        I’ve accumulated mobile equipment and have it all put away in safe containers in the event of a CME or EMP. Licence lapsed a decade ago and when I have to bring it out, Uncle Love me will be too busy to bother with my station.

        • Bandit

          I have have equipment stowed away as well, in safe containers too. A pair HF radios as well as some high band gear.

    • Paul Mitchell

      “Especially in a time of crisis or emergency when they would be needed the most by the citizens…”

      How utterly sensible and important what you say!

    • Jim

      I haven’t CQ’d for a long time, but I still have my equipment.

  • abobinmn

    And Obama works hard to disarm America while letting terrorist into the country.

  • SonsofAnarchy5768

    How does it feel with the enemy in control?

  • rivahmitch

    The “DHS” has nothing to do with “securing” the safety of the “homeland” or it’s citizens. It’s purpose is to insure the security of the government gangsters in DC and elsewhere. That’s a part of the “fundamental change” from America to Amerika that’s currently well underway.

    • Alan

      Govt. of, by, and for the thugs.

    • B. Zerker

      Correct rivahmitch! Meet the modern GESTAPO y’all!

  • Patriotic USVeteran1776

    This is more about “Big Government” having the edge over “We The People” just in case we revolt against a tyrannical government, that will look to cutting of our communications. Among other things big government spend time with in preparation to control the populace. We have lost many rights and freedoms since 911, when we allowed the “Patriot Act” that is more against Americans, than any of our enemies.

  • charlie baker

    Think about this: There can be only one reason on earth why our own government would suddenly want to kill our internet and cell phone service in an “emergency”…A revolution, or what they perceive is the threat of one. This of course means they fear us, and that it a good thing. What they probably don’t understand, though, is that if they were to implement such a drastic measure they just might trigger that very thing they fear most: A massive armed response. And guess what? We could and would manage just fine with CB and Short Wave radios. We will survive. We will prevail. Death to Tyrants and Traitors.

    • Sam Turner

      Well said my friend let’s stay ready

  • Warfighter

    Only TYRANTS, DESPOTS, AND CRIMINALS SEEK TO CUT COMMUNICATIONS IN TIMES OF CRISIS!! Think about it and PREPARE TO ENFORCE YOUR LIBERTY, FREEDOM, AND SOVEREIGNTY as God-Created Natural Persons!! Remember this…The Civil Common Law clearly states that the HIGHEST form of Life on Planet Earth IS the God-created Natural Person. Therefore YOU have EVERY RIGHT to ENFORCE your FREEDOM, and YOUR SOVEREIGNTY.

  • CUZIN ERN

    Knowing enough about Militay Como, I’d have to report a security break thru isis or similar undertakings are in place now!! Only time will tell when this Kenyon shows his real intent!!

  • MARCOS

    TOTAL CONTROL OF THE POPULATION IS THE MAIN GOAL IMPERIALISM POLICY.

  • william g munson

    I thought Obama said this would be the most transparent Administration ever was he talking about black and cover up Maybe he don,t know what the word meant? and i thought that the Sumpreme Court work for the people and not the government too I guess I was wrong too on that Whaaaaaaaaaaaat

  • watcher12

    time to look for some low expense shortwave radio options. In an emergency the gov has little to say about it and I don’t live in DC or the territories anyway so it’s out of their jurisdiction (as well as their SCOTUS and Congress – all territorial). It is good to remember, even if you believe they have jurisdiction – the constitution is limiting Washington, not the American people.

  • Benjamin Michel

    I have some old CB I hope that they will work if this happens

  • As widespread as this document has to be I am disappointed it has not already been leaked in its entirety.

  • Taking care of business!

    Howz about a kill-switch for the Federal Government?–and every conservative has one.

  • rj

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

    Thomas Jefferson

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