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Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

Posted February 27, 2011 7:00 AM

Despite Egypt's sophisticated Internet infrastructure, the government was able to shut down online communications rather swiftly. Could the same be done here in the U.S.? Is it legal for the federal government to take such action? Several bills are already working their way through Congress that would give the president "kill switch" control over the Internet during a "national cyber-emergency." And with only a limited number of cables leading out of the U.S. to other parts of the world, physically cutting them would create "an air gap," preventing network traffic from crossing the empty air between the cable's severed ends. Do you think a lock down is possible and should the U.S. government have that power?

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#1

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/27/2011 12:27 PM

I've been waiting for an opportunity to ask a few questions.

The question posed would seem to provoke nothing but a political discussion. (Even if I'm wrong about that, what if it does provoke a political discussion.)

I thought political discussion is against the CR4 rules?

Another question I was going to ask is, if political discussion is against the rules on CR4, can anyone suggest a forum where political discussion can be carried on rationally, with respect and logic?

If political discussion is allowed, what are the rules? (I've read the FAQ)

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 12:14 AM

For rational discussion, eurotrib.com For snarky but very technical discussion, slashdot.org For political, but cliquey discussion, dailykos.com For energy discussion, theoildrum.com

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#11
In reply to #5

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 9:06 AM

Thank you! I used to read slashdot quite a bit--I'll look for a political section and I'll look at the other 3 sites.

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#2

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/27/2011 3:57 PM

"And with only a limited number of cables leading out of the U.S. to other parts of the world, physically cutting them would create "an air gap," preventing network traffic from crossing the empty air between the cable's severed ends."

What about all of those satellites and related space based communications relay equipment that is owned by international corporations and other private groups?

What "cyber emergency" could possibly be of such a magnitude to warrant a full internet shutdown? Government and political F ups don't cause shutdowns, major cooperation F ups don't cause shutdowns, the worst possible virus and cyberspace attacks can only target a limited amount of points in the overall system so they cant cause a full shut down.

Alien invaders perhaps?

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#3

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/27/2011 9:17 PM

Should the government have this power? NO.

Lets face it, Egypt had a "national cyber emergency". Could it happen in the US or Canada? Absolutely. And if it ever comes to that, no the government should NOT have the power to shut it down.

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#4
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Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/27/2011 11:14 PM

Remember Trudeau in 1970?

What do you think Pierre would have said about that under martial law?

Chris

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#9
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Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 7:08 AM

I'm sure it would have been an easy call. But in that case, of course, martial law was invoked because of terrorist violence. Whereas the 'threat' posed by the internet is that politicians are held to account because they cannot hide their crooked ways, not by violence but by organized protest.

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#15
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Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 1:19 PM

"The State has no business in the blogrooms of the nation"?

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#21
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Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 6:53 PM

Cheers. In fact, there are questions to be raised about the hypocrisy shown by our government, with respect to the violent suppression of peaceful protests at the G20 summit last year. Given the power, who doubts that a politician like Harper would shut down the internet if he was worried about protest? He already shuts down parliament at the drop of a hat... because he can.

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#6

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 12:34 AM

It is like a dangerous disease. If one country is allowed to do it,others will allow. UN should stop it and remove membership if they donot listen.It violates basic human rights. Politicians,Police and armed forces and those who benefit by these organisations only will accept banning internet and foreign news like BBC,CNN,Aljazeera etc

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#7

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 12:57 AM

If it can be turned on it can be turned off. What a simpleton way of seeing things, I know. Anything can be shut down at any time anywhere by anyone. It would take a strong will to have such a shutdown enforced. Who ever is boss cocky on the day will find a way and have support for such an action.

Personally I would not be surprised if such a drastic measure could happen in the first world. Not for the buffs maybe but for the mug punter, like me. I could be cut off and have no choice but to get my jungle congas out. Funny they shut the phones down on the same day.

Is it going to happen in my lifetime? Absolutely yes! (and I am getting to the end bit). If it can be thought of, Murphy reigns supreme and in the end he'll call the shots anyawy, Ky.

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#8

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 3:52 AM

Should they be allowed to do it : Absolutely No.

Could they do it: Absolutely Yes.

Thankfully the US is not like China but see how easy the Chinese limit/ remove internet access. I suppose the difference being that the US is a first world country.

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#13
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Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 11:36 AM

US is worst that Chine....

China is open about their censorship.

US hides behind their media & "values".

The US has and will always be a magician using misdirection to follow their own agenda. From Panama to Cambodia to WWII Europe to Middle east. America has never made a decision that wasn't calculated, through out, and planned. Ever.

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#10

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 7:11 AM

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

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#12

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 9:40 AM

The government should be collaborating with private enterprise to keep computer networks that pertain to our infrastructure and networks that pertain to national security, secure.

The internet belongs to the people. They do not need a kill switch.

If such a switch existed, and was ever used, it would serve the same purpose as the one in Egypt....................to shut us up.

I could go on, but it would be considered political rant.

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#16
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Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 1:30 PM

"the internet belongs to the people"? What hogwash.

The internet belongs to many many people but not all of us. It belongs to the people who own the sattelites, servers, cables etc. Convince (or order) them to shut down if you can and you control the net.

"The people" do not own the phone network or the televison broadcasting system, why should they feel they own the internet.

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#17
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Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 2:16 PM

Come to think of it, that is hogwash.........my bad.

I still don't want the government to have a kill switch for the entire thing.

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#14

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 12:24 PM

I don't believe any government should have the power to close down the Internet, freedom of speach is a very serious matter, and we think of dictators and tyrants as the only people to close down the Internet, so if our government here in the UK was to close down the Internet, we would then think that we live in a police state!

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#20
In reply to #14

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 6:26 PM

I think what the US has is technically called "Freedom of the Press"... not sure about freedom of speech or if the internet is considered "Press"? anyone?

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#18

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 5:01 PM

Only in a crisis situation. Otherwise, no one, especially not the government, would shut down one of the best ways to know as much about each individual in our country as possible. The surest way to prevent an insurrection!

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#19
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Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

02/28/2011 6:02 PM

Only in a crisis situation.

Who determines what and when that is? For some a "crisis" is an opportunity to enforce whatever needs enforcing. If that doesn't work multiple rape charges could be laid to silence the indicators of abuse of power. We aint seen nothing yet and being aware of that does not make me a wise guy.

The writing is on the wall, just the wall has changed. This has been a long time coming and predictions are just that. When I speak to the "Dudes" of this world, the ones that have the means to interrupt, they just laugh at my naivety, lack of intricate knowledge of the system.

Any young persons orientation needs adjustment because the mature members of our civilization need the same. The history of the world is not governed by a compass anymore. We know exactly were we stand but are in denial of the potentially drastic consequences of our distrust of each others motives.

Whoever makes the decision to turn her off will not be popular and the reasons for that person to do so will be enormously informed and supported by the makers and shakers, not us. When we started printing the first High school rag (Germany 1967) the people in charge thought it would all end in anarchy.

It didn't but took the paranoia of the establishment partly out of the equation. It is the same paranoia that influences both sides nowadays. The song remains the same. Maybe our parents were right to tell us not to listen to Elvis? Funny thought.

The day the gloves come off is not something I am looking forward to. The destructive force of shut down, effecting all realms of live, will be something to avoid in the future. There will be a life after the hole in the bucket is fixed, oh Henry oh Henry.

She'll be right, Ky.

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#22

Re: Could the Internet Ever be Shut Down in America?

03/15/2011 9:54 AM

Could a foriegn country or multinational corporation with satellites use that technology to override a US govt. shutdown if they desired to? And then wouldn't the govt. need to block or scramble the satellite signals to maintain a shutdown? I don't know. I just remember a cyberpunk novel from the 90's, I believe written by William Gibson, where satellite signals were basically hijacked. Sci-Fi of course back then. Maybe by now the Mexican drug smugglers have their own landlines under the Rio Grande. It just seems that a country that can't keep illegal drugs out of prisons could possibly cover all the bases to implement a complete shutdown of the internet. Americans can be very adept at utilizing illegal means of getting around govt. restrictions. Our Founding Fathers were among the best smugglers/tax evaders/bootleggers etc. of their time. I'm sure our best criminal masterminds are working on ways to get around a govt. shutdown of the internet.

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