Archive for March 31, 2010

“S.773, The Cybersecurity Act of 2010” or “WTF DEMS SRSLY”

Good day to you all, and welcome to another fun-filled edition of techSPOUT! Oh man, that was dripping in sarcasm, wasn’t it?

Ok, Senate Bill 773 for 2010. It’s the Cybersecurity Act. Written by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-Who cares where he’s from at this point, he’s a freaking Rockefeller) and Olympia Snowe (R-From somewhere in the land of flannel and lumberjacks and counties named Aroostook), it’s not a bad looking piece of legislation. That is, until you dig out the gem laying buried in §201(b)(2)(B)…I’ll include the whole of §201 below and bold the part I am talking about.

S.773 of 111th Congress (2010)
“Cybersecurity Act of 2010”
The President–
(1) shall, in collaboration with owners and operators of United States critical infrastructure information systems, sector coordinating councils and relevant governmental agencies, regulatory entities, and nongovernmental organizations, develop and rehearse detailed response and restoration plans that clarify
specific roles, responsibilities, and authorities of government and private sector actors during cybersecurity emergencies, and that identify the types of events
and incidents that would constitute a cybersecurity emergency;
(2) may, in the event of an immediate threat to strategic national interests involving compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information systems—
(A) declare a cybersecurity emergency; and
(B) implement the collaborative emergency
response and restoration plans developed under
paragraph (1);

(3) shall, in the event of a declaration of a cybersecurity emergency—
(A) within 48 hours submit to Congress a
report in writing setting forth—
(i) the circumstances necessitating the
emergency declaration; and
(ii) the estimated scope and duration
of the emergency; and
(B) so long as the cybersecurity emergency
declaration remains in effect, report to the Congress periodically, but in
no event less frequently than once every 30 days, on the status of
emergency as well as on the scope and duration of the emergency.
(c) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—This section does not
authorize, and shall not be construed to authorize, an ex-
pansion of existing Presidential authorities.

Did you get it? Well, if it seems like more legalese and jargon, you’re right. Here’s the gist: President declares “national cybersecurity emergency”, President shut off internet. Yes, it IS that simple. Now, let’s use the attacks on New York, DC, and PA as an example, and we’ll sketch out a short timeline of what happened and what would happen under this bill.

What Happened
8:46:26AM: First Plane into North Tower WTC
8:47AM: TV networks begin to break into coverage with WTC story
8:48AM: People flood net with “Did you hear/ZOMG!!1!” IMs/Emails/Msgs
8:50-8:55AM: People begin tapping into streaming video/audio for news
9:02:54AM: Second Plane into South Tower WTC
9:03:24AM: Collective gasp ends, exponential increase in traffic, both streaming and messaging as well as standard web site views
9:37AM: Pentagon Plane Impact
10:06AM: Shanksville, PA Plane Impact
Next 5 days: Internet helps find people, console people and satisfies data need for people.

What Would Have Happened with Kill Switch Activation
8:46:26AM: First Plane into North Tower WTC
8:47AM: TV networks begin to break into coverage with WTC story
8:48AM: People flood net with “Did you hear/ZOMG!!1!” IMs/Emails/Msgs
8:50-8:55AM: People begin tapping into streaming video/audio for news
9:02:54AM: Second Plane into South Tower WTC
9:03:14AM: President orders internet turned off “in case of it’s use as a mechanism to help carry out these now evident attacks”
9:03:24AM: Collective gasp ends, people attempt to reach out to others or to the web for news and information and find “server not found” messages for every site and service, panic begins as people, without information, believe the outage is part of the attack
9:10AM: President addresses nation, tells them of cybersecurity activation.
9:37AM: Pentagon Plane Impact, but no one finds out for nearly half an hour because the wire services work via internet now and all news is being filtered and delivered via telephone and fax
10:06AM: Shanksville, PA Plane Impact, no one finds out about this one for 2 hours due to seclusion of crash site in southwest Pennsylvania
Next 30 days: Internet stays shut off until President delivers report to Congress, in meantime, much data and information cannot be verified quickly by news services due to lack of connectivity, many hoaxes and false panics cause population to stay home, afraid of more attacks, stock market plummets worse than originally anticipated, production of essentials comes to a near grinding halt, economy collapses amid lack of spending and commerce during the second half of September

Extreme? Maybe only a little. The above illustrates the problems with “shutting off the internet due to crisis” in 2001. Think about how this would affect us now, with VoIP being a primary form of communication and the internet being even more entrenched in our lives as an immediate information source. It strikes fear into me to think this COULD happen.

Here is what I want you to do about this bill: Kill it. How can you do this? Contact your senators (find them at and tell them if this bill comes to a vote on the senate floor and they vote yes, then they have lost your vote in the general election. Your best bet to reach your senator is to CALL THEIR OFFICES! Email and fax are tied for second best and postal mail is right out, don’t even consider it if you can help it. Also, while you are at it, call DEMOCRATIC Senator Rockefeller’s office and thank him for turning his back on true information freedom with this bill.


March 31, 2010 at 15:00 1 comment

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