In the hours just before dawn on Friday, the Egyptian government told the nation’s internet service providers to pull the the plug. In just six minutes, 93% of the nation’s internet access went down.

While various media outlets have discussed the practicality of such an internet shutdown in the United States, there’s not much mention of Senate Bill 3480, the bullshit named Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 (PCNAA). PCNAA was introduced by Joseph Lieberman (of course) and cosponsored by Susan Collins and Tom Carper.

In short, PCNAA would allow President Obama to shut down privately owned computer systems during a “national cyberemergency” without judicial review. I know many don’t have much confidence in the judiciary, but the fact that this would be done without judicial review is even more disconcerting.

Note to self: I need to get a home phone line with an international plan.


5 Responses to Internet Kill Switch

  1. Eldora says:

    Thanks for taking the time to describe the terminlogy for the inexperienced persons!

  2. EGaluszka says:

    I really hope this trend of adding cyber to the beginning of every word dies soon.

  3. Jen B. says:

    Declan McCullagh may be a hack and a fool, but that doesn’t mean that a) there aren’t real concerns (which you placed at the very end of your comment); or, b) that “internet kill switch” isn’t a good phrase even though there’s no actual switch.

  4. Drew says:

    Feh. The person who labeled this bill an “internet kill switch”, Declan McCullagh, is the Glenn Beck of technology reporting.

    “Declan McCullagh is an American journalist and columnist for He specializes in computer security and privacy issues. He is notable, among other things, for his early involvement with the media interpretation of U.S. presidential candidate Al Gore’s statement that he ‘took the initiative in creating the Internet.’ McCullagh himself once claimed that ‘If it’s true that Al Gore created the Internet, then I created the Al Gore created the Internet story.’

    McCullagh has recently turned his journalistic focus to climate change skepticism.

    In an article in The Register, McCullagh was once described by fellow technical journalist Andrew Orlowski as a, ‘draw by crayon libertarian,’ and has written in defense of libertarianism frequently. He began writing weekly columns for on economic commentary entitled Other People’s Money upon CBS Corporation’s acquisition of CNET Networks. In August 2009, McCullagh renamed his column to Taking Liberties, which focuses on ‘individual rights and liberties, including both civil and economic liberties.'”

    He’s a hack and a fool.

    That said, while I dismissed this as hysteria when I first read of it – after all, why shouldn’t the government have the same authority to protect the internet-as-infrastructure as it would to protect the power grid-as-infrastructure – it seems that the EFF, at least, is concerned: