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A US Senate committee has approved a wide-ranging cybersecurity bill that some critics have suggested would give the US president the authority to shut down parts of the Internet during a cyberattack.

Senator Joe Lieberman and other bill sponsors have refuted the charges that the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act gives the president an Internet “kill switch.” Instead, the bill puts limits on the powers the president already has to cause “the closing of any facility or stations for wire communication” in a time of war, as described in the Communications Act of 1934, they said in a breakdown of the bill published on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee website. The committee unanimously approved an amended version of the legislation by voice vote Thursday.
The bill, introduced earlier this month, would establish a White House Office for Cyberspace Policy and a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications, which would work with private US companies to create cybersecurity requirements for the electrical grid, telecommunications networks and other critical infrastructure.
The bill also would allow the US president to take emergency actions to protect critical parts of the Internet, including ordering owners of critical infrastructure to implement emergency response plans, during a cyber-emergency. The president would need congressional approval to extend a national cyber-emergency beyond 120 days under an amendment to the legislation approved by the committee.

Alternative a Internet?Senza che nessuno se ne accorgesse troppo, un comitato ristretto del Senato USA ha votato un provvedimento legislativo che consentirebbe al presidente americano in carica di “adottare azioni urgenti e rapide per proteggere parti critiche di Internte”. In altre parole, il presidente americano in carica avrebbe la possibilità di “spegnere Internet” in caso di attacco di hackers, pirati, terroristi operanti nel campo dei media digitali, ecc. Avvalendosi di una legge passata del 1934, il Senato ha inteso intervenire in caso di attacco contro gli USA e “chiudere qualsiasi possibilità alle comunicazioni avversarie”.
Resta da capire ora come e in che misura si possa “chiudere” l’intera rete al traffico, vista la distribuzione delle infrastrutture e dei nodi informativi, anche se molti server di famosi siti e servizi (prendiamo Google, per esempio) sono proprio americani e quindi in territorio governato da quello che è stato già battezzato “Internet Kill Switch.”