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President Obama gets power to 'shut down' internet

Who turned out the lights?
Who turned out the lights?

The US Senate committee has approved legislation which effectively gives President Obama the power to shut off parts of the internet when there is a national emergency.

The legislation is called Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act and will allow the President in times of national emergency to implement response plans for protecting the infrastructure of the web, as well as the electrical grid and telcom networks.

Kill switch?

Although there has been a lot of criticism of the bill, those who approved it are adamant that it does not give Obama a 'kill switch' for the web, with the senate explaining that "it would make it far less likely for a President to use the broad authority he already has in current law to take over communications networks."

The senate also explained: "Only specific systems or assets whose disruption would cause a national or regional catastrophe would be subject to the bill's mandatory security requirements."

And we thought Obama was going to be given a big on/off web switch to go with his shiny red nuclear button.

The bill is an update of the Communications Act of 1934, modernising the US government's ability to safeguard its cyber networks from attack.

Via Register