New Bill Would Let Obama Snoop In Computer Files

New Cybersecurity Act stirs controversy.

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Just because George W. Bush is out of office doesn't mean the days of warrantless searches are over. A bill recently introduced to Congress--the Cybersecurity Act of 2009--has civil libertarians angry over a few provisions that would give the executive branch new powers to control the private sector in cyberspace.

The bill has many components, but there are two elements in particular that are stirring up controversy.

The first element makes businesses a particular target.  According to Computerworld, it would allow the president to "classify any corporate network as a piece of critical infrastructure" and shut it down at will.

Here's the second element as reported by eWeek:

The legislation also calls for a public-private clearinghouse for cyber-threats and vulnerability information under Department of Commerce authority. The Secretary of Commerce would have the authority to access "all relevant data concerning such networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access."

A Washington Examiner editorial interprets this provision to be tantamount to warrantless snooping:

This amounts to warrantless wiretaps on steroids, directed at U.S. citizens instead of foreign terrorists.


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