A bill before the U.S. Senate would give the president power to declare a “national cyber emergency.” Apparently, such an emergency would require that the “owner or operator of covered critical infrastructure…immediately comply with any emergency measure or action.”
The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act is currently before the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
It would establish an Office of Cyber Policy inside the Department of Homeland Security. This new office would have expansive powers for developing “a national strategy to increase the security and resiliency of cyberspace, that includes goals and objectives relating to computer network operations…information assurance, protection of critical infrastructure and key resources, research and development priorities, law enforcement, diplomacy, homeland security and military and intelligence activities.”
It is worth considering that the powers in the bill might not be used to keep America safe, but to keep the government safe from the press. The feds have already tried to destroy wikileaks.org, even before the site released a military video of U.S. troops maiming Iraqi civilians and a photographer.
We think this legislation should be thrown in the trash. The U.S. government already has enough tools to curb speech.