Three senators have introduced a revised cybersecurity reform bill that “explicitly” prohibits the president of the Unites States from shutting down the Internet during an emergency or digital attack.
The latest iteration of the controversial legislation – introduced by Sens. Joe Lieberman, Tom Carper and Susan Collins – also allows “critical infrastructure” owners to appeal any Homeland Security decision in a federal court.
“We want to clear the air once and for all,” said Lieberman.
“There is no so-called ‘kill switch’ in our legislation because the very notion is antithetical to our goal of providing precise and targeted authorities to the president.”
To be sure, Collins emphasized that the new bill – dubbed Cybersecurity Freedom Act of 2011 – included “explicit language” prohibiting the president from emulating what Hosni Mubarak did in Egypt during an extended period of unrest.
“Our bill contains protections to prevent the president from denying Americans access to the Internet,” she explained.
“It provides clear and unambiguous direction to ensure that those most critical systems and assets that rely on the Internet are protected.”
Meanwhile, Internet Security Alliance president Larry Clinton opined that the death of the “kill switch” was definitely a positive step in the right direction.
“The whole ‘kill switch’ debate has the potential to undermine all the other stuff people are trying to do in various bills… [Really], the whole idea is an unfortunate distraction.”