Free Markets, Free People


More Extensive Executive Power Proposed By Congress

Al Gore may have ‘invented’ it, but the Congress may give Obama control of it. The report is from Mother Jones:

Should President Obama have the power to shut down domestic Internet traffic during a state of emergency?

Senators John Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) think so. On Wednesday they introduced a bill to establish the Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor—an arm of the executive branch that would have vast power to monitor and control Internet traffic to protect against threats to critical cyber infrastructure. That broad power is rattling some civil libertarians.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (PDF) gives the president the ability to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” and shut down or limit Internet traffic in any “critical” information network “in the interest of national security.” The bill does not define a critical information network or a cybersecurity emergency. That definition would be left to the president.

The bill does not only add to the power of the president. It also grants the Secretary of Commerce “access to all relevant data concerning [critical] networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access.” This means he or she can monitor or access any data on private or public networks without regard to privacy laws.

So you have an unelected Secretary of Commerce able to access all of the data on the private or public networks without regard to privacy laws – yeah, no possibility of abuse there, huh?

The bill could undermine the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), says CDT senior counsel Greg Nojeim. That law, enacted in the mid ’80s, requires law enforcement seek a warrant before tapping in to data transmissions between computers.

“It’s an incredibly broad authority,” Nojeim says, pointing out that existing privacy laws “could fall to this authority.”

It will be interesting to see if we hear the same sort of outcry from the left pertaining to warrants as we heard about FISA if this passes.

“We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs—from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records—the list goes on,” Rockefeller said in a statement. Snowe echoed her colleague, saying, “if we fail to take swift action, we, regrettably, risk a cyber-Katrina.”

And apparently the possibility of a “cyber-Katrina” means that any Constitutional right you may have to privacy can be waived.

Comforting, no?

~McQ

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14 Responses to More Extensive Executive Power Proposed By Congress

  • “We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs—from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records—the list goes on,” Rockefeller said in a statement. Snowe echoed her colleague, saying, “if we fail to take swift action, we, regrettably, risk a cyber-Katrina.”

    Of course, and we must do it quickly because the security of the nation is at risk…

  • It will be interesting to see if we hear the same sort of outcry from the left pertaining to warrants as we heard about FISA if this passes.

    Of course it won’t. For that to happen you’d have to assume that the FISA outcry was actually based on a real principle as opposed to cheap shotting in order to regain power at any cost.

  • McQ: Maybe it’s just me….but given all the financial turmoil, why isn’t The One focused like a laser beam on getting things settled down in that arena first? At the risk of sounding like one of the Tin-foil Hat Brigade, could it be he has a master plan oriented around fomenting as much uncertainty and fear as possible? After all…what better way to get the majority to sign up for “more government“?

    As far as I am concerned, this is yet another example of numerous diversions (e.g., AIG, North Korea, ‘reforming’ health care, etc.)  created by our own government and designed to create “engragement fatique” about the direction he is pushing the entire country. Of course, the goal is the populace will be so exhausted in dealing with the constasnt stream of BS, we will miss or simply resign ourselves to the coming “change” that 50+% of the morons voted for because they refused to see what was in front of thier faces because…ya know…”Hope” and “Change” is what this country needs!

    My question for all the Obamanoids: So, how’s that hopey, changey thing working for ya?

  • “[H]ow many Americans have heard that the government has recently tasked Google to track most government data, as well as the online political-related activities of citizens to profile them?”

    Details of that and more here:  http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2009/03/brought-to-you-by-google.html

    By the way, once they take over the internet, I hope that either Obama or the Secretary of Commerce will do something about this FUBARed comment formatting and submission situation here at the new QandO. 

  • You can bet that the ACLU and EFF will oppose it.   What has your side ever done for free speech other than suppress it?

    • I’ll take that bet.  When has the ACLU ever opposed the expansion of executive power under a Democrat?

    • Not banned you and Erb, for starters.

    • What has your side ever done for free speech other than suppress it?

      Gotten rid of the Fairness Doctrine, for one.

    • so this is obviously ok with you, but nice how you turned an actual threat to liberty into a vague tu quoque

  • So, TomD, when the ACLU doesn’t oppose it, will you admit you’re wrong?

  • wrong as usual senor bruce, we will all be some kind of ticked off if this ever became law.  you should at least credit the bush administration for opening these doors in the first place.

    • Yeah, sure, next best thing to “the other kids are doing it too dad!”

      If you can’t BLAME bush for Obama’s actions, at least link him and and convince yourself that the only reason Obama is doing it is because Bush started down that road.  

      Heh heh heh – what happened to hope there Peed-row?  Wasn’t it all supposed to be different under the Annointed One?  And your excuse for him is to point out that Bush opened the door Obama stomped in through with his brand of authoritarianism? 

      Very funny, very funny.

  • Check out the budget allocations in the table about half-way down this post…I wondered why the Commerce budget was increased by nearly 50%…  Guess now we know.

    http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2009/04/most-despicable-crime.html