Internet kill switch

With reports of Egypt's government completing shutting down the Internet in the country, talk about an "Internet kill switch" bill in the U.S. has reemerged. Could it happen here?

The bill in question is the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, a cyber-security measure introduced in June by Sen. Joseph Lieberman. It was an over-arching cyber-security measure that, among other things, would create an office of cyberspace policy within the White House and a new cyber-security center within the Homeland Security Department.

A provision that got the most attention, however, was one that gave the president the power to "authorize emergency measures to protect the nation's most critical infrastructure if a cyber vulnerability is being exploited or is about to be exploited."

Some interpreted that to mean that the president would have the authority to shut off the Internet at random. Lieberman refuted the "Internet kill switch" assertion as "misinformation" during an appearance on CNN, and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which he chairs, later published a "myth vs. reality" fact sheet on the bill.

Click to continue reading Will the US get an Internet Kill Switch like Egypt?


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As the violence and protests develop in Egypt, Renesys, an Internet research firm, published a fascinating overview of what happened to the country's Internet connections. At 22:34 UTC, all the entry points into the country were cut in a matter of minutes. The four major Internet providers in Egypt were ordered to cut all links, by removing the 3,500 routes that packets could take, leading to no valid path for the traffic to reach any addresses inside of the country, save for one small network. Almost a day later, they estimate that around 93% of traffic is still cut off.

Unlike earlier protests in Tunisia and other countries, where governments tried unsuccessfully to block invidual sites like Twitter and Facebook, people still finding ways around the blocks through proxies, this time the complete isolation from the global Internet was an unprecedented event. It's still not known what will happen to the economy of the country if these measures stay for longer than a few days.

Read More | Renesys

In a strange yet potentially devastating move for Indian companies and freelancers, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced new directives which forces PayPal to restrict any payment for out-of-country services or goods to $500. This means companies and individuals from India wanting to sell services or products to customers outside of the country will have to keep it to a maximum price of $500 per transaction or do so using other means.

It's unclear why the restrictions were added. It's likely that this will impact the economy of the country, which is becoming very popular in several tech related sectors, especially over the Internet, where PayPal payments are common. The likely outcome is increased corruption, and alternative means of money exchange booming as a result of this.

Read More | PayPal Blog

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