In High Tech Forum, Richard Bennett Addresses "Internet Kill Switch" Issue

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In a posting on High Tech Forum, the popular blog for technologists, editor Richard Bennett takes on what he sees as "hysteria" over the issue of a so-called "Internet Kill Switch."

Can’t we ratchet down the rhetoric? The US is not Egypt, we don’t slaughter protesters.

In a posting on High Tech Forum, the web forum of which he is editor, Richard Bennett takes on the contentious issue of proposed "Internet Kill Switch" legislation.

Bennett cites a story in the Australian newspaper The Age that compared the U.S. Senate’s draft "Internet Kill Switch" legislation to the actions of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak, who took Egypt off the Internet in an attempt to quell dissent.

"The [Senate] bill has robust First Amendment provisions that will prevent it from being used to suppress dissent," Bennett points out, "and beyond that it applies to a country in which parties can choose to disobey Executive Orders without fear of summary execution."

He also takes issue with the technical claim that the U.S. could "take Australia off the Internet."

"But seriously, folks, can’t we ratchet down the rhetoric?" asks Bennett. "The US is not Egypt, we don’t slaughter protesters ... and we aren’t going to tolerate any government action that turns [the Internet] off for no good reason. But we do recognize that there are occasions when it’s wise to disconnect parts of the system in order to keep the rest of it healthy. What do you suppose happened when Australia’s scruffy pirates attacked AFACT? The attackers were isolated from the system to prevent them from disrupting it for everyone. This is the kind of action that the Senate Bill contemplates, and that’s less an 'Internet Kill Switch' than an 'Internet Life Support.'" is a web forum edited by Richard Bennett. It is open to analytical contributions from all genuine technologists with expertise in networking and the future of technology. The forum fosters an open exchange of ideas, grounded in practical operational experience – a place where the experts can talk about issues relating to, and the implications, of technology and telecommunications policy.


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