Cybersecurity Emergency Proposed Bill: The President could Control Your Internet Access

Private-sector networks
Private-sector networks
I just read this rather worrying news about a US Senate proposed bill that will enable the White House to control private-sector networks from the Internet.

The proposed bill would also allow the Government to “map” private networks and require those companies to share requested information if needed in the so-called cybersecurity emergency. No wonder Internet companies, online businesses and civil liberties group are alarmed, if not irritated.

How the bill will affect small businesses?

Although supporters of the bill claimed it is to be vital to protect national cybersecurity, many are being disturbed by the intrusion of rights for anonymity, which we are all exposed to, cherish in and take benefit from the Internet.

I suddenly remember Will Smith’s movie “Enemy of The State,” a fiction movie which describe quite well what could go wrong with “leaked anonymity.” Fatal.

I’m not into politics – What I’m focusing is on business and financial implications of the bill should it get passed. All of a sudden, privacy policies and terms of uses agreements are rendered ineffective in protecting clients or customers’ vital information.

A question: What if the “emergency” access gone bad, due to people or organisations that monitor every loopholes, waiting for a human or system error to be made? E.g. in a much smaller issue, there are cases where typos in typing web addresses could lead you to phishing sites; those sites are just waiting for people to stumble on the loopholes to benefit from.

Business and finance-related – In other words, what if the “emergency” access is hijacked by the people who are not motivated by political motives, but by financial ones?

What about a case (that has happened in many parts of the world) where someone can hack into a banking system, in where he takes the decimal out of each and every banking transaction – Something that get him very rich, as well as slammed in jail for that?

In Internet-related case, what if a “threat” originates from an Internet cafe? The bill would cause the cafe business problems to some extent.

More questions than answers

I’m not an expert – I’m just your-next-door Internet user. As a user I think that the proposed bill, in my humble opinion, raise more questions than provide answers.

I don’t like my browsing activities monitored (web servers do monitor those); I don’t like my tweets being read by other, unauthorised Twitter member; I don’t want my online business activities shut down because of the state of “emergency”; And the most important thing is, I don’t want my online privacy and anonymity rights get compromised.

Most of us know that the Internet has always been risky, partially thanks to the anonymity. However, playing God won’t solve many things. There are things also important to the rest of us – e.g. the recession and the world’s poverty.

What do you think of this matter?

Ivan Widjaya
On cybersecurity emergency
Image by Docklandsboy.