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Weekend Gedankenexperiment - The Kill Switch


a key piece in the article is on the second page:
"In fact, a lot of what the bill provides for are a very good ideas.
The bill sets out the concept that cyberspace is a strategic asset for
the United States and needs to be protected like any other strategic
asset. This is good.

The bill also acknowledges that we?re likely to come under severe
attack and need to have a way to respond. We also need to have a
single point of authority to make sure we respond in a coordinated
way, instead of having all of America?s security forces working at
cross-purposes. That single point of authority is the President. This
makes sense."

In all seriousness here, I wonder how the Egyptian law was worded,
that allowed them to legally (let's assume so) send out propaganda
text messages through all mobile operators (force operators to
comply), and even shut down the Internet (force operators to comply).

It is fully possible that the law says something very similar to that
above, that when the state is under stress or attack (by its own storm
troopers...), the state is allowed to step in to take protective
measures, all in the good interest of the state, authorized by their
single point of authority.

This is a dangerous design, specifically as it assumes that the state
under all circumstances is good which most observers will note,
especially now, that states cannot be assumed to be, forever and

Essentially, I'm not seeing the upside in assuming any state will
always be good, forever and always.  And it boils down to what's been
discussed earlier: centralizing control of the Internet, whether
political or technical, makes it less robust to failures and more
prone to abuse/attack, as the value of a single point or target

This sub-thread is a bit off-topic, and to the thread starter I only
suggest you look into the Egypt situation/operations a bit, but I
guess that's where you got your inspiration for the question anyway.


On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 12:32 AM, Paul Ferguson <fergdawgster at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 9:27 PM, Mark Newton <newton at internode.com.au>
> wrote:
>> On 04/02/2011, at 3:43 PM, Paul Ferguson wrote:
>>> On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 9:09 PM, Mark Newton <newton at internode.com.au>
>>> wrote:
>>>> On 04/02/2011, at 2:13 PM, Jay Ashworth wrote:
>>>>> An armed FBI special agent shows up at your facility and tells your
>>>>> ranking manager to "shut down the Internet".
>>>> Turn off the room lights, salute, and shout, "Mission Accomplished."
>>>> The FBI dude with the gun won't know the difference.
>>> No. The correct answer is that in the U.S., if the Agent in question has
>>> a valid subpoena or N.S.L., you must comply.
>> Subpoenas and NSLs are used to gather information, not to shut down
>> telcos. ?They're just an enforceable request for records.
>> Considering that politicians in the US have suggested that they need
>> "kill switch" legislation passed before they can do it, and further
>> considering that "kill switch" legislation doesn't currently exist,
>> what lawful means do you anticipate an FBI special agent to rely on
>> in making such a request?
>> I'm not actually in the US. ?In a question arising from the Egypt
>> demonstrations earlier this week, Australia's Communications Minister
>> said he didn't think the law as written at the moment provided the
>> government with the lawful ability to shut down telecommunications
>> services.
>> http://delimiter.com.au/2011/02/03/no-internet-kill-switch-for-australia-
>> says-conroy/
> I share your sentiment.
> One of the best commentaries I have read lately on this issue was earlier
> today:
> http://www.zdnet.com/blog/government/ive-changed-my-mind-america-must-never
> - -allow-an-internet-kill-switch-heres-why/9982
> Worth a quick read.
> - - ferg
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> --
> "Fergie", a.k.a. Paul Ferguson
> ?Engineering Architecture for the Internet
> ?fergdawgster(at)gmail.com
> ?ferg's tech blog: http://fergdawg.blogspot.com/