back to article US Senator wants Internet seizure rights

A new bill introduced to Congress calls for a new government body to oversee the internet as well as provide emergency powers to a “director of cyberspace policy” as well as the President. The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA), introduced by Senator Joe Lieberman, would amend the Homeland Security Act of …


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  1. John A Blackley

    Good ol' Joe

    Ah, Senator Lieberman - poster boy for the "freedom of speech - so long as I agree with it" crowd.

    1. protect_the_net

      Sign the Petition Against the Kill-Switch Bill!

      Sign the Petition against the Kill-Switch bill and keep the internet free from autocracy! -

  2. Flaco Dude

    Joe Lieberman is an Internet idiot (eom)

    I repeat, Joe Lieberman is an Internet idiot (eom).

  3. Eddy Ito
    Thumb Up

    It's things like this

    It helps to know which Senators have a clue and this type of proposed legislation is key in pointing out those who are, shall we say, lumen impaired.

  4. Eddie Johnson

    The Time Has Come

    To start creating a second internet. One that is completely separate from the one the US Govtards are so intent on regulating and taxing and policing. All it needs to be is a shadow net of interconnected Wifis that avoid using the real internet as a backbone.

    What would be a cute name for this network? Bebo? Bing? Fido? Alt? Well, let's think about it because the name is probably the most important part.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We could call it something like INI...

      ...standing for "INI's not the Internet".

  5. Lou Gosselin

    Is this right?

    This idea is widely quoted:

    "As soon as some external body attempts to enforce control over any part of that network, and so change accepted behavior, the rest of the network simply routes around it."

    Or more commonly phrased as "the internet detects censorship as damage and routes around it".

    I believe what they are referring to is the BGP routing algorithm, which will detect node outages and remove those routes from the routing table, thereby physically rerouting packets.

    It seems clear to me that BGP cannot detect censorship or blocks per say, only complete outages.

    Here are a few ways I can think of an entity could kill the internet:

    1. An internet backbone or ISP could block all traffic (or a subset of it) while allowing BGP.

    2. BGP itself is so insecure that any peer can advertise false routing information to redirect IP traffic. This method can be amplified across many routers.

    3. DOS attacks with either SYN or RST packets are very effective, all the more so from a backbone provider.

    4. DNS outages (or misinformation) would be sufficient to break the internet for most people.

    1. Number6

      Manual Control

      Ultimately there will be manual intervention to deal with deliberate attempts to break the internet, so it would recover after some downtime. In this respect the dodgy guys are doing us all a favour by forcing upgrades to DNS, teaching ISPs how to deal with DOS attacks, etc. If a government tried it for real, the net would be in far better condition to cope than ten years ago.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Far too specific

      No, BGP doesn't come with a censorship detection algorithm or anything. And yes, it's leaky as a leaky striped irregular bucket. SS7 ("BGP for telcos") is at least as leaky, by the way. It all hinges on who is allowed to peer.

      The internet here refers not to the technical details but the many entities that run or are part of the many many small internets that together make up the biggest of them all. That is, "the community".

      Yes, all the things you mention are true. And there are still more insidious things you could do. Yet "the internet" still works reasonably well, and the people who like it that way still outnumber by several orders of magnitude the people who want it dead. Doesn't mean we can't improve; we can and we must. But there's no point in panicking. There is lots of point in thinking about possible and as-of-yet-impossible alternatives to the way we do things now.

    3. Basic

      I think...

      I think the meaning in terms of this article is less techy and more human-centric - If the US Gov't started making broad-reaching changes that affect the fundamental nature of the web, most providers (irrespective of scale) would choose to implement alternate methods of achieving the original goal.

      Eg have a (centrally maintained?) blocklist of US-b0rked servers and disregard routings which include them.

      I have to admit my knowledge of the underlying infrastructure is only that of an interested hobbyist as it's quite outside my normal field but that's how I read it...

      1. Gannon (J.) Dick
        Thumb Up

        Unproven: Techies are Human Too.

        You can take either the techy or human-centric approach, I think, and get to the same place.

        Sadly, it has been done before, so techies may dismiss it as already traveled ground and humans have a bad way of making the same mistake twice when called to action by different speakers.


        Lord Sandwich: You will die either on the gallows or of the pox.

        John Wilkes: That must depend on whether I embrace your lordship's principles or your mistress.


        There are two logical forks to 'how the Internet Works'

        - One avoids central control (the gallows and Big Brother)

        - One avoids detection of low speed harm (the pox or [censorship and fraud])

        Everybody, Routers and Web Wonks included, has had trouble with detection speed of intermittent Network Failures because of the 4 State Physics (is not, is, is-on, is-off).

      2. Eddie Johnson

        Problem With This Is

        >> Eg have a (centrally maintained?) blocklist of US-b0rked servers and disregard routings which include them.

        Maintaining that central list would almost certainly lead to the maintainer being labeled a criminal and most likely a terrorist. The black helicopters would be sent as a last resort. As an example see UBS/Swiss Banking.

  6. Gannon (J.) Dick


    "The core reality of the internet, as has been explained to disbelieving government officials the world over, is that the internet comprises hundreds of thousands of networks, the vast majority run by private companies, that all voluntarily choose to connect together because of the inherent advantages in them doing so."

    Nicely put.

    Now if you can just explain to the disbelieving Private Sector that "The Wealth of Nations" does not stand alone, but rather requires "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" - roughly speaking that the inherent advantages must have equivalence on both sides of the connection.

    If you can do that, then you will be right back to The Lieberman Stupidity, Facebook Edition but at least now you will have an explanation for why it's a bad thing. (Since a Corporation cannot feel like a Dumb Fuck it can never be its own best customer. See also: Twilight Zone 'To Serve Man' episode)

  7. Jimmy Floyd

    Four Lions

    Anyone seen that Chris Morris film 'Four Lions?' Senator Lieberman reminds me of the goofy would-be terrorists in that:

    Waj: "We'll blow something up."

    Omar: "What we goin' to blow up, Waj?"

    Waj: "........Internet."

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lieberman is an idiot.

    Doesn't he know that the Internet is already owned by the state of Kentucky?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    The Government could

    "...And in order to be in that position in the first place, the government would have to assert mass ownership over privately-held property."

    And what? That would be impossible? Like the interception of telephone calls is impossible without asserting mass ownership of the internal networks of the same companies that run a lot of the internet? If they passed this law in the US, I don't think that they would have any trouble carrying it out.

    I think that maybe a good answer to this bill would be more peering that doesn't involve routing through the US, and then a big firewall between the US and the rest of the world. It could stop all those nasty people attacking the US, and could disconnect them when they start "asserting control".

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Government presumes far too much and thus renders itself a Pompous Puppet and Pontius Pilate

      "And what? That would be impossible? Like the interception of telephone calls is impossible without asserting mass ownership of the internal networks of the same companies that run a lot of the internet? If they passed this law in the US, I don't think that they would have any trouble carrying it out." ...... Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 15th June 2010 17:14 GMT

      Invariably, AC, do Governments pass laws to stop you doing things, although whenever they don't know what you are doing, can you do practically virtually anything and everything, and then if you feel like it afterwards, you can do as Governments do and even apologise for the initiative and promise to hold fake inquiries to waste more time and effort on such nonsense which is only designed to render blanket control, and will have no effect whatsoever on personnel and leaderships which would not value such a blunt inequitable instrument .

  10. Trokair 1

    And this is exactly why....

    Career politicians are a horrible idea. We have senators that have been in there so long they were members of the KKK. All they know how to do is talk and that is why they lose touch with the way real people actually live. We need term limits so we can flush the politicians out every 8 years or so. Maybe then the US Congress would be less worried about securing more power for themselves and more worried about how to properly govern a country.

    Keep the internet free and kick these idiots out of office.

  11. Eduard Coli

    Bigger bro

    Not that I agree with the dear Senator but I guess they feel this way because not only does this infrastructure reside in the US it was the US taxpayer who pays for most of it.

    The Internet will fracture faster if the free ride most of the world is getting from the US is taken away then would happen with any kind of stupid legislation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      US taxpayer?

      Be interested to see some numbers there. Perhaps I'm wrong but I thought Verisign and ICANN were receiving a decent amount of cash from domain registration fees.

  12. Joe User

    Two words about the U.S. Congress

    Idiots abound.

  13. Doshu

    Hopefully the next generation(s) of politicians...

    ... won't be comprised of a bunch of retarded luddites and more rooted in the reality of current/future technologies.

    1. TimeMaster T


      That is what the last generation said.

      The world is in for a revolution. Hopefully it will be bloodless, but since those with power will do anything to keep that power I'm not going to bet on it.

      Emperor: "How will it end?"

      Kosh: "In Fire."

  14. wretched
    Paris Hilton

    oh no !!!!!!!

    Oh no he wants to turn off the little black box with blinking red LED.

    Paris, cos I wish her box had a blinking red led

  15. Neoc

    Hang on...

    I thought we in Oz had the "internet-moron politician" market cornered. We missed one?

  16. John Savard


    In the event of a major war like World War II, in which the radio stations no longer give weather reports, so as to prevent enemy bombers from learning where the good pickings are... the government having the power to cut off the connections between the part of the Internet in their own country and the whole outside world would actually make sense.

    And disconnecting the Internet at the backbone level from the outside world is not likely to be all that preposterous. If the United States and Canada could cooperate, that would basically leave only the land lines to Mexico and undersea cables to worry about. Dozens, not thousands, of choke points.

    Blocking dial-up ISPs from accepting incoming long-distance telephone calls might take a bit of work at the phone company; but even that is doable, and if that sort of thing is what remains to be worried about, I'd say the plan has succeeded.

    It would be a bad idea to use this power for the wrong reasons. But there could be circumstances under which it would make sense, and the technical issues are not insuperable.

  17. Across-the-pond Scum
    Black Helicopters

    Lack of understanding, but not lack of paranoia.

    Good ol' Joe there will be screaming I told you so when something actually chinks the armor of the internet and causes large scale disruption--for the 1hr to a day it takes to recover. He has the right idea because it's the one point of failure that would cause more damage than any bomb can possibly do, but it's also a completely impossible task to protect. No one company, or government has even a large fraction of control and as said, if he succeeds in getting this passed it'll just do the one thing he's trying to prevent which is major disruption of the internet and the economy--for 1hr to a day tops.

    Sorry, Joe, the country already has one big, shiny, candy-like button for the Pres to push, we don't need him to have one for the internet as well.

  18. PT

    Senator Lieberman

    Lieberman isn't known for representing the interests of the fools that vote for him. Indeed, when people refer to "the Senator from Tel Aviv", everyone knows who they mean.

  19. Winkypop Silver badge

    Politicians eh?

    What a bunch of ignorant Wally's...

  20. ShaggyDoggy


    "4 State Physics (is not, is, is-on, is-off"

    surely that's 3-state

    not, is-on, is-off

    since 'is' is superfluous since defines by is-on and is-off which can't exist if it's not "is" in the first place

    I need a coffee

  21. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Pull your horns in, Joe, or you'll lose all that you have not got ......

    .... which is a Sweet and Sticky Promise and not an Empty Threat.?!

    Err/Hmmm/Doh... it is as well to state very clearly, that there will catastrophic punitive monetary action and a remote controlled major capitalist energy market collapse, [for both the Useless and Useful Idiot cannot function without them buying temporary favours with fancy paper and worthless Junk IOU Treasury Bonds] in parallel with new real and virtual business which just routes around dumb blockages[SMBs], so that all may prepare themselves for the very real consequences which will automatically result should an Interfering Internet Infant like a Lieberman or a Jay Rockefeller think to terrorise the Ignorant with their Holier than Thou Arrogance and Small Town Intelligence and exercise a personal veto and subjective vetting over Greater Game Global Intelligence Gathering and Future Sharing for Progressive Revolutionary Evolution with Radical Fundamentalist Leaderships.

    Those positions are already long ago filled to overflowing with fabulous Hearts and Minds, and there is no vacancy/room at the inn/room at the top for Pretenders and Cuckoos of the Old Dishonoured School of Self Centred Thought. Might I suggest they try the stable, where they can make themselves as comfortable as they like or are allowed, amongst the animals who Server to Peers Enslaved.

    It is probably quite right to assume that even now is the Internet well controlled but not by any that you would be able to identify and target, which is what you would most surely at least expect from an Office of CyberIntelAIgent Security and Global Communications HQ ...... for anything else would be Sub Prime and Toxic rather than Immaculate Sublime and Astutely Perfect ........ although that is always Best Intelligently Doubted and Constantly Challenged to Ensure All is always Perceived and Pimped as being as close to Perfection as makes no Difference.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    But Shirley

    Al Gore invented t'tinternet. Can't he just turn it off?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mark Twain had it about right...

    "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctively native American criminal class except Congress".


    "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself".

    While I'm at it,

    "In our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either".

    1. Charley 1

      Don't forget he also said:

      If your vote mattered, they wouldn't let you do it.

  24. Fred 18
    Thumb Down

    take over

    First off I live in the US. I would like to know where we got the idiots in Washington. Everyday they continue to come up with stupid ideas( healthcare for one) Are they trying to turn this country into a communist state?????????????????/


  25. mhenriday

    Joseph Isadore Lieberman is

    Joseph Isadore Lieberman. What more needs to be said ?...


  26. protect_the_net

    Okay everyone, listen up

    Too much is at stake to look the other way this time. If we ignore this ‘bill’ these bureaucrats in Washington will take away the one place left where there is true free of expression. Register at and let’s figure out a way to stop this bill. Exercise you right to free speech will you still can.

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