Boing Boing has a great article today on the dangers of the proposed internet “Kill Switch.”
On Thursday Jan 27th at 22:34 UTC the Egyptian Government effectively removed Egypt from the internet. Nearly all inbound and outbound connections to the web were shut down. The internet intelligence authority Renesys explains it here and confirms that “virtually all of Egypt’s Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide.” This has never happened before in the entire history of the internet, with a nation of this size. A block of this scale is completely unheard of, and Senator Joe Lieberman wants to be able to do the same thing in the US.
Sponsors of the infamous legislation argue that the kill switch is necessary for security reasons – but in Egypt we hiave a very clear example of the unintended consequences (or perhaps intended) these kinds of regulations have. Just as it is in Egypt, the kill switch could be used to suppress the speech and freedom of assembly of the very people the Kill Switch legislation supposedly protects.
And while you might have thought this issue was going away after the end of the last Congress, just this week, it was announced the push was back on to give this enormous amount of power to the president. Boing Boing sums up the situation:
This is something Americans should be paying very close attention to. Think about your daily life and how big a role the internet plays in it. Now think about what it would be like if one person had the authority to turn that off completely. If you can’t imagine what that would be like you aren’t alone. A week ago this was a hypothetical scenario. Now, you can just ask an Egyptian citizen what that feels like. Pay close attention to what happens with this bill.