Until now, the Internet has been a mostly unregulated, user-created technology; giving rise to an unprecedented expansion of free speech. However, that may soon be changing.
According to a Washington Post article on Wednesday, the federal government is looking for ways to regulate both federal and private industry in an effort to increase cyber security.
Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) are drafting legislation to protect the nation from a massive cyber security attack. Rockefeller described such an attack as an “enormous threat” and justified the controversial legislation.
“Too much is at stake for us to pretend that today’s outdated cybersecurity policies are up to the task of protecting our nation and economic infrastructure,” Rockefeller said. “We have to do better and that means it will take a level of coordination and sophistication to outmatch our adversaries.”
According to an article in The Hill, the power to regulate and, if need be, control the Internet would be vested in one man, the President of the United States:
“The president would then have the ability to initiate those network contingency plans to ensure key federal or private services did not go offline during a cyberattack of unprecedented scope”
The threat posed by cyber attacks is real. Google recently fell victim to an attack it claims originated in China. Even the Joplin Globe blogs, including Redheaded Politics, were shut down in January 2009 by hackers opposed to U.S. and Israeli policy in Gaza.
But the threat of giving the executive branch sweeping powers of regulation and “protection” in case of a national emergency are far more unsettling. If the federal government wishes to increase the security of its own networks let it do so. The ramifications of it controlling and monitoring the private sector, aka me and you, could be dreadful.