The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA) is probably the largest threat the Internet has ever faced. This legislation was announced by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) with support from fellow Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). This bill would give the president emergency powers to take control of and shut down portions of the internet.
Under this act, private businesses would be forced to comply with “emergency decrees.” Any company that “relies on the Internet, the telephone system, or any other component of the U.S. ‘information infrastructure’ would be subject to command by a new National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC) that would be created inside Homeland Security.”
This will lead to command and control, absolute power over the Internet and innovation needed to advance the Internet further will be severely curtailed. The FCC is already attempting to assert control over the Internet under Net Neutrality, and now the Department of Homeland Security is looking to wield power as well. Any exercise of this bill could also have drastic economic effects; no one would be held liable for any losses or damages. Bob Dix, a government affairs and infrastructure protection expert, believes that the government is in no position to interfere in dealing with cyber attacks. He rightly argues that businesses are already fighting against cyber attacks and know what they are doing.
The Internet was created to serve as a network to share data and ideas. Obviously it has surpassed all previous goals, and its capabilities seem endless. Under laws being considered today however, what we know and refer to as the Internet may never be the same again. This legislation isprobably the largest threat the Internet has ever faced next to Net Neutrality. Following the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking for broadband reclassification, there seems little hope for a free, unregulated Internet. Both of these plans will only be detrimental to the Internet, undermining freedom of use, asserting authoritarian control, and killing innovation.