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New Bill Could Give Obama the Power to Shut Down the Internet

A new bill, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, could give the President of the United States the power to shut down the Internet. Section 18(2) of the bill reads:

[the president] may declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network

As VentureBeat points out, while it may sound like this power would only be used to secure government systems, the definition of “critical infrastructure” is not defined. This bill would grant vast powers to the President, powers that the Electronic Frontier Foundation believes should remain with the private sector. Both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology have come out against this bill due to the unprecedented power that it grants to the Federal Government over the Internet.

President Obama has yet to officially support the bill.

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