By Barbara Sowell
This October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, or didn’t you know? A better title would have been: National Cyber Insecurity Awareness Month. We should all be insecure since the U.S. has just relinquished its control of the internet (see below)!
This is the time when all internet junkies should ponder the very real possibility of waking up one day to NO internet!
A Media Newswire press release this week reminds us all that October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
(Media-Newswire.com) - WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John D. ( Jay ) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and Senator Olympia Snowe ( R-ME ), issued the following statement on the adoption of S. Res. 285, which defines Senate support for the goals and ideals of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month during October 2009. . . .
Cybersecurity S.Res.285 begs the question: Can the POTUS Disconnect Private Networks?
According to Open Congress.org, this resolution isn’t getting any news coverage, so I thought I’d offer up a few tidbits.
S.Res.285 - A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of national cybersecurity awareness month and raising awareness and enhancing the State of cybersecurity in the United States.
By the way, this resolution is sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). And here is a list of co-sponsors:
- Sen. Evan Bayh [D, IN]
- Sen. Robert Bennett [R, UT]
- Sen. Thomas Carper [D, DE]
- Sen. Thad Cochran [R, MS]
- Sen. Susan Collins [R, ME]
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY]
- Sen. Orrin Hatch [R, UT]
- Sen. Mary Landrieu [D, LA]
- Sen. Carl Levin [D, MI]
- Sen. Joseph Lieberman [I, CT]
- Sen. Barbara Mikulski [D, MD]
- Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV]
- Sen. John Rockefeller [D, WV]
- Sen. Olympia Snowe [R, ME]
- Sen. George Voinovich [R, OH]
The press release continues:
. . .The resolution identifies the critical need for nationwide awareness of cyber threats as well as cybersecurity coordination between Federal agencies, businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations. Senator Rockefeller and Senator Snowe cosponsored the Senate resolution on National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and, earlier this year, introduced their own bipartisan landmark cybersecurity legislation ( S. 773, The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 and S. 778, the National Cybersecurity Advisor Act of 2009 ) to address our nation’s vulnerability to cyber crime, global cyber espionage, and cyber attacks that could potentially negatively impact our economy.
“Cyber attacks on American infrastructure are very real and happening now,” Chairman Rockefeller said. “Imagine the impact on our economy if just one adversary succeeded in attacking and crippling a critical cyber network. Make no mistake, Cybersecurity Awareness Month isn’t just about heightening awareness, it’s about taking key steps toward protecting our economic security. This can only be achieved through coordination between public and private interests and the establishment of proper safeguards that protect us all.”
“There is no question our nation’s vulnerability to a cyber attack has emerged as one of the most urgent national security problems facing our country today,” said Senator Snowe. “Cybersecurity Awareness Month further raises the bar on Americans’ expectations for Congress to implement strong and effective policies that will prevent the nation’s information networks from being crippled by an invasive and intrusive cyber attack. Time is of the essence, we must continue to aggressively confront this monumental challenge.”
KEY PROVISIONS OF ROCKEFELLER-SNOWE COMPREHENSIVE CYBERSECURITY LEGISLATION:
• Significantly raise the profile of cybersecurity within the Federal government and streamlining cyber-related government functions and authorities.
• Promote public awareness and protecting civil liberties.
• Modernize the relationship between government and the private sector on cybersecurity.
• Foster innovation and creativity in cybersecurity to develop long-term solutions.
S.773 (Cybersecurity Act of 2009): A bill to ensure the continued free flow of commerce within the United States and with its global trading partners through secure cyber communications, to provide for the continued development and exploitation of the Internet and intranet communications for such purposes, to provide for the development of a cadre of information technology specialists to improve and maintain effective cybersecurity defenses against disruption, and for other purposes. as introduced.
This bill is sponsored by Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV)
S. 778.(National Cybersecurity Advisor Act of 2009)- A bill to establish, within the Executive Office of the President, the Office of National Cybersecurity Advisor.
That’s the bill to permanently establish the Cyber Czar.
This bill is also sponsored by Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV)
According to Declan McCullagh of CBS news writing in Politics and Law for CNET news, S.773 (Cybersecurity Act of 2009) would give president emergency control of Internet.
. . . 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.
Jena Longo, deputy communications director for the Senate Commerce committee, pointed out that the POTUS has always had this constitutional authority but that:
The Rockefeller-Snowe Cybersecurity bill makes it clear that the president's authority includes securing our national cyber infrastructure from attack. The section of the bill that addresses this issue, applies specifically to the national response to a severe attack or natural disaster . . .
In an e-mail to Longo’s colleague, Charles Steward, seeking clarification concerning the bill, McCullagh asks:
The original version of the legislation allowed the National Cybersecurity Advisor to disconnect "critical" networks from the Internet. The revised version says the president can "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "nongovernmental" networks and "direct the national response to the cyber threat." That seems vague: does it mean the executive branch does or does *not* have the power to disconnect private networks? . . .
As of late August, MCCullagh was still waiting for an answer.
I think it’s doubtful that either of the above mentioned bills have a snowball’s chance of passing out of committee (last action on both was April 1, 2009), but that’s beside the point. The POTUS does have the constitutional authority to shut her down, and that just might include private networks.
What on earth would we do without social networking? Perhaps it’s time to reintroduce ourselves to other more primitive forms of communication while we still have a chance to openly communicate on the internet? Try these Google searches “homing pigeons for sale” and “basic cursive for computer junkies.”
After complaints about American dominance of the internet and growing disquiet in some parts of the world, Washington has said it will relinquish some control over the way the network is run and allow foreign governments more of a say in the future of the system.
Icann – the official body that ultimately controls the development of the internet thanks to its oversight of web addresses such as .com, .net and .org – said today that it was ending its agreement with the US government. . .