Yesterday, U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced the bipartisan ''Unplug the Internet Kill Switch Act of 2020'' (S. 4646), which would help protect Americans' First and Fourth Amendment rights by preventing a president from using emergency powers to unilaterally take control over or deny access to the internet and other telecommunications capabilities. Slashdot reader SonicSpike shares an excerpt from the announcement: In a World War II-era amendment to Section 706 of the Communications Act of 1934, Congress gave the Executive sweeping authority to put under direct government control or even shut down "any facility or station for wire communication" should a president "[deem] it necessary in the interest of the national security and defense" following a proclamation "that there exists a state or threat of war involving the United States." Cause for alarm over such power has only increased across the decades with the technological revolution, which has included email, text messages, and the internet, as well as the expansion of television, radio, and telephone networks. The Unplug the Internet Kill Switch Act would amend Section 706 to strip out this "Internet Kill Switch" and help shut the door to broader government surveillance or outright control of our communications channels and some of Americans' most sensitive information. The legislation would also reassert a stronger balance of power during a national emergency between the Executive Branch and the people's representatives in Congress. You can read the "Unplug the Internet Kill Switch Act of 2020" here (PDF).
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