Public takes a stand on presidential Internet 'kill switch'

Who supports it? A Unisys survey gets a surprising result.

A Senate bill that would create a comprehensive framework for national cybersecurity includes a provision that would allow the disconnecting of some networks from the Internet during a cyber emergency. This element of the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, S. 3480, has generated quite a bit of controversy, but the public seems okay with it according to a recent survey by Unisys.

More than 1,000 persons were polled for the sixth semi-annual Security Index. One of the questions asked was, “If there were clear evidence of a malicious cybersecurity attack by a foreign government against our military, civilian government, electrical grid, financial systems, or other critical infrastructure, should the president have the authority to take control of or effectively shut down portions of the Internet to mitigate a crisis?”

Sixty-one percent said that the president should have this authority.

The overall index, which includes measures of concern over national, financial, personal and Internet security, stood at 136 on a 200-point scale, the lowest level since the survey began in 2007. National security was the largest concern at 151, while Internet security was the least at 114.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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Reader Comments

Fri, Feb 4, 2011

Unisys? Really? Please.

Thu, Feb 3, 2011 Annonymous2 DC

A Kill Switch is completely unnecessary. Owners of computer servers connected to the internet already have the right to disconnect them. The government should not be allowed to force an internet shutdown.

Wed, Feb 2, 2011 USA

As Anonymous has proven over the last week with Egypt. The worlds people will not tolerate the killing of the Internet. We have proven we will not be stopped. The only purpose for a Kill Switch is to be allowed to harm your people in secret. This is what Mubarak has done and now it is what the United States of America seeks to do as well. It will bring reprisal.

Mon, Nov 22, 2010 WebSlinger DC Metro Mess

Leave NetOps and SysAdmin to the professionals... what do you think ppl @ MAE-EAST and MAE-WEST (and all of the major transfer points in between) do? Ever heard of a net-split? "Cyber attacks" louse up traffic, spike usage loads... the feds don't employ professionals (see looking for a few good geeks) - just button pushers.let the REAL professionals handle it.

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 Dave USA

The government should NEVER have this kind of power, it kills free speech, is counter-productive to a free society, and is just another method of controlling we the people!!!

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