Kill The Internet ‘Kill Switch’

February 1, 2011 18:29

Virtually the first thing an authoritative Egyptian government did to quell dissent was to shut down its Internet. So why are we debating a bill to give our government the same power?

IBD Editorials


In George Orwell’s classic “1984,” the control of information and its flow was critical to Big Brother’s maintaining his grip on the people and manipulating their passions. Authoritarian governments and dictators worldwide know that lesson well.

Which is why we are concerned about the resurrection of a bill that would give our government the ability to shut down part or all of American cyberspace in what the government would declare a “cyber-emergency.”

The president would be granted the power to “authorize emergency measures to protect the nation’s most critical infrastructure if a cybervulnerability is being exploited, or about to be exploited.” How the president would know that, or what these “emergency” measures might be, is unclear.

This is an administration that has orchestrated the virtual seizure of banks, insurance companies and the car industry. It routinely bypasses the will of Congress and the people, from mandating the purchase of health insurance to letting the Environmental Protection Agency govern us down to our lawn mower via regulation.

It is also an administration that believes that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, as former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel once put it. Would a “cyber-emergency” also be a terrible thing to waste? Putting the nation’s Internet under the control of the folks who run the Transportation Security Administration gives us pause.


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