Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Lieberman-Collins Cybersecurity Bill

Stewart Baker is busy wearing himself out pushing the bill through to law. In the process, he assures us that we may dispense with calling it a “kill-switch.” Previously, many thought there was to be a giant master-switch lurking in a closet in the White House which could be pulled to disable the entirety of the internet. This, he assures us, is definitely not the case. No such device is either operative or planned. You may now relax and continue playing video poker or checking on the latest utterance from Glen Reynolds and Instapundit without fear of interruption.

Well, almost; there is in the bill, a provision to terminate—as necessary of course—that portion of the internet system which demonstrates special vulnerability to attack. This contingency would present you with the “blue screen of death” indicating the cessation of your service. Since you will be reasonably certain that you paid your bill with the provider you may then assume that the nation is under some sort of cyber attack. Therefore, for safety concerns, the net has shut down to protect it from the intrusion of all the nastiness to which, the cyber world is host. Do not even think of calling this a “kill switch.”

This invaluable legislation would, by enabling the cessation of cyber traffic, probably efficiently enable commerce, entertainment, information sharing, messaging, to all come to a sudden halt. Tens of thousands of geeks, cooped up in their mom’s basement, upon this occurrence, would likely immediately soil their jammies in despair. This would not be a pretty sight.

If your idea of security is turning everything over to the government for efficient management then you will love this legislation. As a mish-mash of loosely defined terms and indistinct wording with executive discretion being the controlling factor, this is a prime example. It is clear that an ambiguously identified threat exists. It would appear to make more sense to turn the solution over to a bunch of IT geeks who really do know what their doing and keep the congress out of it. It does remain though, that if one were able to pull the plug on the internet, it would cut down on a great deal of criticism.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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