Earlier in the month, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) proposed the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA). Simply put, this bill would provide the President with emergency powers to shut down portions of the internet during a supposed “cyber attack.” A recent amendment mandates that the President would retain controlling powers for 120 days, after which Congressional approval is necessary. In addition, this also allows the President to force private businesses to comply and shut down any and all of their Internet network operations. During this period, the government is not liable whatsoever for any loss of sales. For those companies that rely solely on the internet, this is a huge blow to private business practice, let alone a blatant, unnecessary exercise of Internet regulation and control.
Last week, a Senate Committee approved PCNAA and the next step is the Senate floor. Also last week, 24 Civil Liberties Groups sent a letter raising concerns over this proposed legislation, believing the bill is not detailed enough and gives too much authority to the would be created National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications. PCNAA needs to be opposed to prevent the creation of a new federal bureaucracy to control the Internet, and to protect privacy, fair business practice, and most importantly, free speech online.