In most American households the internet has quickly become the source of news, information, and in some cases, communication. So, the bill introduced by John Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat and Republican Olympia Snowe from Maine is surprising because it gives the ultimate authority over the U.S. internet infrastructure to the President, allowing him to turn off access if need be. There is certainly a need for control when a virus or DDoS attack threatens government systems but the vague language of the bill appears to give more control than necessary.
The purpose of a Denial of Service attack is to take a website down by overwhelming it with [fake] traffic. If the government’s intent is to prevent such take downs by simply unplugging the website, then they are fulfilling the goal of the attack, even if it is by proxy. Sure, there are other reasons to take a site or portion of the internet down, as in the case of viruses being programmed to steal important data off of government machines, but the take down should be limited in scope. By painting with a wide brush the writer’s of this bill have given too much power to a single person, rather than focusing on addressing threats, it lays out triage techniques to combat the issue.
There is more in the bill as well, including starting a scholarship program for Federal IT workers. You can read the bill in its entirety below.