April 2, 2009
US senators have drafted legislation that would give the federal government unprecedented authority over the nation’s critical infrastructure, including the power to shut down or limit traffic on private networks during emergencies.
[efoods]The bill would also establish a broad set of cybersecurity standards that would be imposed on the government and the private sector, including companies that provide software, IT work or other services to networks that are deemed to be critical infrastructure. It would also mandate licenses for all individuals administering to strategically important networks.
The bill, which is being co-sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Rockefeller IV and Senator Olympia Snowe, was expected to be referred to a senate committee on Wednesday. Shortly after a working draft of the legislation began circulating, some industry groups lined up to criticize it for giving the government too much control over the internet and the private companies that make it possible.
“This gives the president too much power and there’s too little oversight, if there’s any at all,” said Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “It gives him the power to act in the interest of national security, a vague term that has been broadly defined.”