created over 3 years ago | Tagged:
[Critics of the earlier bill are] not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency. The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.
A few things to keep in mind. One: the president already has the authority to shut down parts of the Internet in emergencies.
Maybe the White House should have this power in extreme emergencies, but it had better be clear about what those emergencies entail, and it had better accept accountability if it oversteps its authority. There is, aside from the obvious definitional issues, an inherent trade-off in codifying this power, and it's going to be tough to find a balance that satisfies everyone. So far most of what I'm seeing in the way of online discussion around this *draft* bill (it's not yet law, guys) involves meta debates around authoritarianism and "is Obama Hitler," plus a lot of rehashing of boilerplate Libertarian and Republican talking points. I'm less interested in those thread-wars, and more interested in better understanding the murky technical details under discussion. I'll be reading what I can find over the weekend, but welcome your thoughts in the comments. No sirens plz.