Aug 31, 2009 | 5
Could President Obama, in the event of a massive cyber attack against government computers, be given the power to bring Internet traffic to a stop?
That's the big question being asked in cyber security circles today. The answer is no, at least not based on the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 that Sen. Jay Rockefeller first (D–W.V.) proposed in April nor on an excerpt of the revised bill that's been floating around the Web since late last week.
The confusion arises from some of the language in the bill's original version, which proposes to give the president authority to declare a cyber security emergency and "order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network." By critical infrastructure, we're talking about the computers that run utilities, banks, hospitals and government agencies—the institutions that society relies on to function normally. The first draft of the bill also seeks to give the president the ability to "order the disconnection of any Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information systems or networks in the interest of national security."
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