Cybersecurity Bill Grants President Obama Emergency Control of Internet

While you may think that the government is attempting to take charge of everything from the automotive industry to healthcare, there is another battle that could lie in the hands of our government in the cyberworld when it comes to cybersecurity.

Surprisingly, according to CNET, the president of the United States, President Barak Obama, could seize temporary control of private sector networks in the case of a cybersecurity emergency. In such an "emergency" or attack, the president would be able to appoint the national defense and security to take needed action for the restoration of the affected infrastructure or network.

The president's ability to control affected networks in the case of an emergency is made possible due to a bill, worked on by West Virginia's Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller. Within the bill, it states, "In the event of an immediate threat to strategic national interests involving compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network - may declare a cybersecurity emergency; and may, if the President finds it necessary for the national defense and security, and in coordination with relevant industry sectors, direct the national response to the cyber threat and the timely restoration of the affected critical infrastructure information system or network."

Some experts have already expressed a concern about the government having control of so much lately, and giving them control over private-sector networks in the case of an emergency only adds to the confusion. It is a scary situation when all of the details of the bill, allowing such control, are not fully known.

There is a much needed concern from senior White House officials especially when it comes to the risks of unintended harm to civilians if and when an attack on computer networks takes place. An example of a risk that involves resolving a major cyber attack is likelihood of harming viable networks such as hospitals, which could be sharing a network with other organizations that are adversely effected by a cyberattack.

History will tell us that in war there are casualties and the unfortunate harm to civilians in some cases. A cyber war is not clearly defined in the confided laws of war and only draws the question of what type of cyberattack counts as force against one entity? Where do we draw the line of whether or not to take force in the event of a cyber emergency or attack? Should the government have total control over attacked networks, private or not, in an attempt to resolve conflict?

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