A bill giving the president an Internet “kill switch” during times of emergency that failed to pass Congress last year will return this year, but with a revision that has many civil liberties advocates concerned: It will give the president the ability to shut down parts of the Internet without any court oversight.
The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act was introduced last year by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in an effort to combat cyber-crime and the threat of online warfare and terrorism.
Critics said the bill would allow the president to disconnect Internet networks and force private websites to comply with broad cybersecurity measures. Future US presidents would have those powers renewed indefinitely.
According to a report Monday at CNET News, the bill will be back on the Senate agenda in the new year. But a revision introduced into the bill in December would exempt the law from judicial oversight. According to critics, this change would open the law to politically-motivated abuse by any administration, no matter how narrowly the law is interpreted.