Seeking Power, or making America safe?

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by ShiningStar, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. ShiningStar

    ShiningStar Well-Known Member

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    Senate Proposal Could Put Heavy Restrictions on Internet Freedoms

    A proposed bill that would give the president widespread power to shut down the Internet in the event of a cyberattack could have sweeping implications on civil liberties.

    By James Osborne

    The days of an open, largely unregulated Internet may soon come to an end.
    A bill making its way through Congress proposes to give the U.S. government authority over all networks considered part of the nation's critical infrastructure. Under the proposed Cybersecurity Act of 2009, the president would have the authority to shut down Internet traffic to protect national security.
    The government also would have access to digital data from a vast array of industries including banking, telecommunications and energy. A second bill, meanwhile, would create a national cybersecurity adviser -- commonly referred to as the cybersecurity czar -- within the White House to coordinate strategy with a wide range of federal agencies involved.
    The need for greater cybersecurity is obvious:
    -- Canadian researchers recently discovered that computers in 103 countries, including those in facilities such as embassies and news media offices, were infected with software designed to steal network data.
    -- A Seattle security analyst warned last month that the advancement of digital communication within the electrical grid, as promoted under President Obama's stimulus plan, would leave the nation's electrical supply dangerously vulnerable to hackers.
    -- And on Tuesday the Wall Street Journal reported that computer spies had broken into the Pentagon's $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter project and had breached the Air Force's air-traffic-control system.
    Nonetheless, the proposal to give the U.S. government the authority to regulate the Internet is sounding alarms among critics who say it's another case of big government getting bigger and more intrusive.
    Silicon Valley executives are calling the bill vague and overly intrusive, and they are rebelling at the thought of increased and costly government regulations amid the global economic crisis.
    Others are concerned about the potential erosion of civil liberties. "I'm scared of it," said Lee Tien, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based group.
    "It's really broad, and there are plenty of laws right now designed to prevent the government getting access to that kind of data. It's the same stuff we've been fighting on the warrantless wiretapping."
    Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va, who introduced the bill earlier this month with bipartisan support, is casting the legislation as critical to protecting everything from our water and electricity to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records.
    "I know the threats we face." Rockefeller said in a prepared statement when the legislation was introduced. "Our enemies are real. They are sophisticated, they are determined and they will not rest."
    The bill would allow the government to create a detailed set of standards for cybersecurity, as well as take over the process of certifying IT technicians. But many in the technology sector say the government is simply ill-equipped to get involved at the technical level, said Franck Journoud, a policy analyst with the Business Software Alliance.
    "Simply put, who has the expertise?" he said. "It's the industry, not the government. We have a responsibility to increase and improve security. That responsibility cannot be captured in a government standard."
    A spokeswoman from Rockefeller's office said neither he nor the two senators who co-sponsored the bill, Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., will answer questions on cybersecurity until a later date.
    Obama, meanwhile, is considering his own strategy on cybersecurity. On Friday, the White House completed a lengthy review of the nation's computer networks and their vulnerability to attack. An announcement is expected as early as this week.
    "I kind of view [the Rockefeller bill] as an opening shot," said Tien. "The concept is cybersecurity. There's this 60-day review underway, and some people wanted to get in there and make their mark on the White House policy development."
    IT leaders hope the president will consider their argument that their business is not only incredibly complex and static, but that it also spreads over the entire globe.
    If the United States was to set its own standard for cybersecurity, they say, it would create a host of logistical challenges for technology companies, virtually all of which operate internationally.
    "Any standards have to be set at an international level and be industry led," said Dale Curtis, a spokesman for the Business Software Alliance. "This industry moves so fast, and government just doesn't move that fast."
    Many Silicon Valley executives remain hopeful that the White House's recommendations will be more industry-friendly, following what Journoud said was a good dialogue with former Bush administration official Melissa Hathaway, who is leading the White House review and is considered a likely candidate for cybersecurity czar.
  2. ShiningStar

    ShiningStar Well-Known Member

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    And yet another Czar will be created.
  3. sbark

    sbark Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Obama has now 18 Sen. Byrd states--are they under anyones control except Obama's? congressional oversight, outside the checks and balances of the USA Constitution......?

    But some lawmakers and outside experts fear that Obama is setting up a system that is not subject to congressional oversight and creates the potential for conflict among his many advisors.

    Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) became concerned enough to send a cautionary letter to Obama last week. At times, he said, past White House staffers have assumed duties that should be the responsibility of officials cleared through the Senate confirmation process. He cited President Bush's naming of homeland security czar Tom Ridge as an example.

    "They rarely testify before congressional committees and often shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege," Byrd wrote of past czars and White House staffers in similar positions. At times, he said, one outcome has been to "inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability."

    "The rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can threaten the constitutional system of checks and balances," Byrd said.

    Foreign Policy magazine composed a list of 18 Obama administration czars, including Carl Browner, who is the energy czar, and Gil Kerlikowske, who is the drug czar. But almost immediately, typical Washington quibbling began over who is and who is not a czar.If there is a public outcry over the czar mania, it's entirely possible, knowing Washington, that the Obama administration will appoint a super czar to resolve the issue lets say GOP retakes even 1 house of Congress in 2010..........are these czars with their embedded beuracracies under them, only answerable to Obama.....and not subject to any scrutiny by Congress?

    and ya ya......the left will say GW appointed the 1st one as a pat answer excuse.....

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