A new US Senate bill would grant the president far-reaching emergency powers to seize control of or even shut down portions of the internet.
The legislation announced on Thursday says that companies such as broadband providers, search engines or software firms that the government selects “shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed” by the Department of Homeland Security. Any company failing to comply would be fined.
The idea of an internet “kill switch” that the president could flip is not new. A draft Senate proposal that ZDNet UK’s sister site CNET News obtained in August allowed the White House to “declare a cybersecurity emergency”, and another from senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe would have explicitly given the government the power to “order the disconnection” of certain networks or websites.
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