Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Call Your Senator Before This Blog Gets Shut Down!

Being the proverbial engineer, I want facts and data. So once again I heard rumblings about another Bill before the Senate and I wanted to decide for myself if this is a bad deal for Americans and to know who is telling me the truth. This time it is Senate Bill 773, “Cybersecurity Act of 2009.” While I think cyber security is an important issue, the government is once again overstepping its bounds into an area in which it really has no business, nor any expertise. From my reading of the Bill, it is loaded with ambiguity and massive amounts of control afforded solely to the President without any timely, or any, check and balance by Congress.

Given the recent news that conservatives are outnumbering and outperforming liberals on the internet, plus Obama Administration efforts to silence talk radio (the other format where conservatives outnumber liberals), this bill has a more sinister character. There is nothing to prevent the President from shutting down an internet site under the false premise of national security and there would be no appeal. I have included excerpts from the bill below along with my comments. The excerpts are indented and underlining added for emphasis (my emphasis). You can read the bill for yourself here: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s773/text.

The bill opens with this paragraph:

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.

“…and for other purposes.” I don’t know about you, but I’m totally comfortable with this kind of ambiguity when we’re giving even more control of our lives over to the Government (complete sarcasm).

The premise of the bill is that terrorists could deal a crippling blow the U.S. economy by waging a cyber attack on our nation. While this is true in many ways, it begs the question: do we really want the government being responsible for our internet security? Government agencies are some of the worst protected in terms of cyber security, why would we want them to spread more cyber-dysfunction? The answer is given in Section 2 (13):

“We know that cyber-espionage and common crime is already on the rise. And yet while countries like China have been quick to recognize this change, for the last eight years we have been dragging our feet.’ Moreover, President Obama stated that ‘we need to build the capacity to identify, isolate, and respond to any cyber-attack.’”

Let’s think about that for a second…what does China do for “cyber-security?” Oh, that’s right, they tightly control the internet, spontaneously shut down sites that conflict with their public agenda, and randomly disrupt all internet communications. While there may occasionally be legitimate reasons for doing this (please name one if you know about it), these takeovers by the Chinese government all seem to happen when there are issues surrounding free speech or public dissent. Is there a single freedom loving American that wants for our internet the same “security” that China has?

Once again we see the foot in the door approach for “non-profit groups.” But what non-profit would be involved in this issue? Oh, I don’t know…maybe ACORN? Section 3 describes the composition of the new “Cybersecurity Advisory Panel”:

(1) [The President] shall appoint as members of the panel representatives of industry, academic, non-profit organizations, interest groups and advocacy organizations, and State and local governments who are qualified to provide advice and information on cybersecurity research, development, demonstrations, education, technology transfer, commercial application, or societal and civil liberty concerns; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink

(2) may seek and give consideration to recommendations from the Congress, industry, the cybersecurity community, the defense community, State and local governments, and other appropriate organizations.

Am I being unduly biased against President Obama? Certainly he would never appoint his communist, socialist friends to such an important team…right?

Not to worry fellow conservatives, paragraph (c)(7) makes it all better. The new advisory panel (all presidential appointees) are going to make sure societal and civil liberties concerns are addressed. Maybe that would be the job of the “unbiased” ACLU members? Perhaps American’s for Democracy Now? Not only that, but they’re going to report out every 2 years per paragraph (d). Let’s see, that will be 2011, 2013, 2015…what do those years have in common? Hint: they’re non-election years.

(7) whether societal and civil liberty concerns are adequately addressed.

There’s more money and power for ACORN in section 5. Nothing about this section worries me, though (more sarcasm):

(a) CREATION AND SUPPORT OF CYBERSECURITY CENTERS- The Secretary of Commerce shall provide assistance for the creation and support of Regional Cybersecurity Centers for the promotion and implementation of cybersecurity standards. Each Center shall be affiliated with a United States-based nonprofit institution or organization, or consortium thereof, that applies for and is awarded financial assistance under this section.

Again, what non-profit is currently an expert on cyber-security? If there aren’t any, then why is this money being awarded to a non-profit? Let me guess, the presidential appointed committee gets to decide who is awarded the funding?

(3) APPLICATIONS; SUPPORT COMMITMENT- Any nonprofit institution, or consortia of nonprofit institutions, may submit to the Secretary an application for financial support under this section, in accordance with the procedures established by the Secretary. In order to receive assistance under this section, an applicant shall provide adequate assurances that it will contribute 50 percent or more of the proposed Center’s annual operating and maintenance costs for the first 3 years and an increasing share for each of the next 3 years.

Of course, you know the liberals and MSNBC are going to say that conservatives are just trying to distract from the facts. This bill is about establishing security standards for the federal government and defense contractors. However, Section 6 should be read carefully (note the underlining below):

(A) PROTOCOL- [NIST] shall establish a standard testing and accreditation protocol for software built by or for the Federal Government, its contractors, and grantees, and private sector owned critical infrastructure information systems and networks

From paragraph (d) of the same section:

(1) enforce compliance with the standards developed by the Institute under this section by software manufacturers, distributors, and vendors; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink

(2) shall require each Federal agency, and each operator of an information system or network designated by the President as a critical infrastructure information system or network, periodically to demonstrate compliance with the standards established under this section.

The last paragraph of Section 6 would seem oddly placed under any other administration, but under Obama it is quite sensible…if you’re a miserable, communist loving tyrant:

(e) FCC NATIONAL BROADBAND PLAN- In developing the national broadband plan pursuant to section 6001(k) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Federal Communications Commission shall report on the most effective and efficient means to ensure the cybersecurity of commercial broadband networks, including consideration of consumer education and outreach programs.

“Consumer education and outreach programs” is code for statist propaganda and instructions on how to be a productive member of the new society unless you want to go to the Gulags.

I wonder if everyone will be required to wear the little red, white, and blue Obama “O” as part of the certification process and agreement defined in section 7?

(b) MANDATORY LICENSING- Beginning 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, it shall be unlawful for any individual to engage in business in the United States, or to be employed in the United States, as a provider of cybersecurity services to any Federal agency or an information system or network designated by the President, or the President’s designee, as a critical infrastructure information system or network, who is not licensed and certified under the program.

Section 8 basically says that the government is going to put tighter controls on the domain name registration. While ostensibly vague, the section poorly disguises its true intent behind the veil of “what’s good for cyber-security.”

Section 11 deals with Cyber Security R&D. While some of it sounds good, there were a couple sub-paragraphs that caught my eye:

(6) How to determine the origin of a message transmitted over the Internet.

What…flag@whitehouse.gov wasn’t good enough?

(8) How to address the growing problem of insider threat.

Like the wild conservative terrorist groups?

Section 12 is a nifty part of the bill that proposes paying students for their education if they commit to working for the Federal cyber-security organization for an equal duration following graduation. Not too unlike the military ROTC program or military academies. One notable difference – this adds to the list another new, Presidentially controlled government agency. Of course, what government program would be complete without a little racial discrimination in its preferences for selecting candidates for the program:

(1) consider, to the extent possible, a diverse pool of applicants whose interests are of an interdisciplinary nature, encompassing the social scientific as well as the technical dimensions of cyber security

Section 17 is about eliminating the “anonymity” of the cyber world:

Within 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the President, or the President’s designee, shall review, and report to Congress, on the feasibility of an identity management and authentication program, with the appropriate civil liberties and privacy protections, for government and critical infrastructure information systems and networks.

Section 18 is where it gets interesting. I recommend everyone read this section in its entirety as it specifically (or generally) gives the President certain powers over the internet. While Dems will try to contend this is about Federal Cyber-Security, Section 17 belies that notion; here are some specific excerpts:

(2) may declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network;

Here’s the problem – what is a cybersecurity emergency? How would anyone know if such an event were happening or not? Also remember the President gets to decide if a commercial or private “information system or network” is critical to our security; therefore, he would ultimately have total control over the internet. Foxnews.com I’m sorry but this Bill looks like the end of the road for you guys.

(3) shall designate an agency to be responsible for coordinating the response and restoration of any Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network affected by a cybersecurity emergency declaration under paragraph (2)

Oh, and they’ll get right on fixing that problem for FOX too.

(6) may order the disconnection of any Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information systems or networks in the interest of national security;

Never mind fixing that problem, Foxnews.com is just too risky it and rushlimbaugh.com are going to have to be shut down forever for the safety of America.

Bottom line: you MUST call your senator and voice your opposition to this Bill. It is yet another attempt to take over the country by the socialist Marxist revolutionaries, to put it mildly.

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