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Rand Paul, Tulsi Gabbard, Thomas Massie, Ron Wyden Join Forces To Unplug...

• https://reason.com, ERIC BOEHM

Under the broad terms of a 1934 federal law, the president has the authority to seize emergency control of almost any electronic device in the country.

Civil libertarians on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress have joined forces to call for canceling a little-known executive power.

Sens. Rand Paul (R–Ky.), Ron Wyden (D–Ore), and Gary Peters (D–Mich.), along with Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) and Thomas Massie (R–Ky.), introduced bills this week to abolish the so-called "internet kill switch"—a sweeping emergency executive authority over communications technology that predates World War II.

"No president from either party should have the sole power to shut down or take control of the internet or any other of our communication channels during an emergency," Paul argued in a statement announcing the Unplug the Internet Kill Switch Act.

The bill aims to revoke Section 706 of the Communications Act of 1934. When that law was passed, there was no internet. But the broad language included in Section 706 means that it could be invoked today to give a president "nearly unchallenged authority to restrict access to the internet, conduct email surveillance, control computer systems, and cell phones," Gabbard explained in her statement on the bill.

Civil libertarians on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress have joined forces to call for canceling a little-known executive power.

Sens. Rand Paul (R–Ky.), Ron Wyden (D–Ore), and Gary Peters (D–Mich.), along with Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) and Thomas Massie (R–Ky.), introduced bills this week to abolish the so-called "internet kill switch"—a sweeping emergency executive authority over communications technology that predates World War II.

"No president from either party should have the sole power to shut down or take control of the internet or any other of our communication channels during an emergency," Paul argued in a statement announcing the Unplug the Internet Kill Switch Act.

The bill aims to revoke Section 706 of the Communications Act of 1934. When that law was passed, there was no internet. But the broad language included in Section 706 means that it could be invoked today to give a president "nearly unchallenged authority to restrict access to the internet, conduct email surveillance, control computer systems, and cell phones," Gabbard explained in her statement on the bill.


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