The Register reports the so-called Cyber Kill Switch bill has cleared a key Senate committee on Thursday:
A controversial cybersecurity bill passed a key Senate committee on Thursday after backers made concessions aimed at blunting widespread criticism the measure would give the US president broad authority to shut down key parts of the internet.
The bill, known as the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PDF), has been pushed hard by Senator Joe Lieberman, who argues the internet is so crucial to banking, utilities and other infrastructure that attacks on it are key to national defense. It would establish a White House Office for Cyberspace Policy and a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications, which would work with the private sector to harden critical networks against attacks.
The bill is controversial as some believe it would give government the power to shut down the Internet in the US, an action that would also cause significant disruptions for the rest of the world.
Under the new bill, a new government office called the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC) would be created under the umbrella of the DHS, and would be tasked with the responsibility to "preserve those networks and assets and our country and protect our people" -- a loosely worded definition which is thought would grant it the power to shut down virtually any network in the country.
Under the measure it orders that networks "shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed," including shutdown. Failure to cooperate would result in steep fines.