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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