Probably Not The Best Time To Introduce Legislation That Can Be Described As Having An ‘Internet Kill Switch’

We’ve already discussed how, contrary to the claims of some, there really isn’t an attempt to create “an internet kill switch” in the US. There is a (admittedly bad) proposal concerning how the US would respond in the event of some sort of “cyber attack.” The proposal itself would allow the government to mandate how certain “critical infrastructure” pieces of the internet should respond in the event of such an attack. What isn’t explained is why such a legal mandate is really needed. If you’re running the Hoover Dam, say, (and stupidly have important infrastructure connected to the internet) and the feds point out a way to avoid or minimize an ongoing hack attack, are you really going to say no?

That said, since the bill has falsely been described as having an internet kill switch, it seems like particularly bad timing to re-introduce it now, just after Egypt actually did pull out its own version of an internet kill switch.

While it may be a good thing that this bill gets killed off no matter what (since it is a bad piece of legislation), I’m a bit worried by how quickly everyone has jumped on this “internet kill switch” claim to describe it. What happened in Egypt is important to pay attention to and to learn from, but it doesn’t mean that we should immediately jump to the conclusion that that’s what the US is trying to do. There are serious problems with the bill, and we should discuss those, rather than just calling it an internet kill switch, when that’s not what’s in the bill.

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