Paul Joseph Watson
The Senate is attempting to sneak through the infamous Internet kill switch cybersecurity bill by attaching it to another piece of legislation that is almost guaranteed to pass – the defense authorization bill – in an underhanded ploy to avoid the difficult task of passing cybersecurity on its own.
“It’s hard to get a measure like cybersecurity legislation passed on its own,” Democratic Senator Thomas Carper, who is co-chair of a Senate subcommittee with cybersecurity oversight, told Government Information Security.
That’s why lawmakers pushing cybersecurity have resolved to introduce the legislation as a “rider” to a Senate defense bill that is likely to be easily passed before the midterm elections.
Senators are still working to merge two different versions of the cybersecurity bill, one sponsored by Senator Joe Lieberman and another sponsored by Democrat Jay Rockefeller, into a single omnibus package, in preparation for a final vote when the Senate returns to session in mid-September.
“We’re very close to where we need to be in developing a joint proposal,” said Carper.
Lawmakers are in a race to pass cybersecurity before the midterms because if they wait until Congress returns after the November 2nd vote, the chances of getting the bill through “would significantly dim should the Republicans pick up a significant number of seats”. That leaves a four week window from the middle of September to the start of election campaigning for Senators to sneak through the legislation.
Lieberman’s version of the cybersecurity bill includes language that would hand President Obama the power to shut down parts of the world wide web for at least four months with no congressional oversight in the event of a cyber attack on critical infrastructure systems in the U.S.
Senators argue that they will be able to attach the Internet kill switch bill to the Defense Authorization Act because cybersecurity is a component of national security. However, the primary justifications behind treating “cybersecurity” as a national security matter are completely overblown and erroneous.
Proponents of cybersecurity have constantly argued that government needs to have more power over the Internet because cyber-terrorists could hack in and dismantle the entire U.S. power grid, large industrial plants, and the national water supply. This is a complete misnomer because, as a recent Wired News article highlighted, power grid and drinking water systems, “Are rarely connected directly to the public internet. And that makes gaining access to grid-controlling networks a challenge for all but the most dedicated, motivated and skilled — nation-states, in other words.”
As we documented in our piece on the issue, the threat from cyber-terrorists to the U.S. power grid or water supply is minimal. The perpetrators of an attack on such infrastructure would have to have direct physical access to the systems that operate these plants to cause any damage. Any perceived threat from the public Internet to these systems is therefore completely contrived and strips bare the real agenda behind cybersecurity – to enable the government to regulate free speech on the Internet.
This was revealed when Senator Lieberman told CNN’s Candy Crowley that the real motivation behind cybersecurity was to mimic the Communist Chinese system of Internet policing.
“Right now China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in case of war and we need to have that here too,” said Lieberman.
As we have documented, the Communist Chinese government does not disconnect parts of the Internet because of genuine security concerns, it habitually does so only to oppress and silence victims of government abuse and atrocities, and to strangle dissent against the state.
The decision to try and sneak through the Internet kill switch bill as part of another package of legislation is undoubtedly a reaction to increasing awareness about how the terms of the bill would completely undermine the foundations of the Internet as an outlet of truly unregulated free speech.