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Internet OFF Day Pseudo-Event Raises Real Questions about Internet Off Switch

A Facebook group is trying to force the meme of InternetOFF Day March 22 from 6am local, beginning in Greece and rolling westwards, ending in Siberia and lasting until 6am March 23. Yeah, they are trying to get everyone across the globe to shut off their intert00bs, both of them.

A long-delayed firmware patch (001.1000.303475.0efj0 REV BETA) for the Internet has given us all the OPPORTUNITY to go back to the OLD DAYS!!! On March 22 — this is real, folks — the worldwide web will be SHUT DOWN TEMPORARILY from 6am until the following day at 6am, while the new software is globally installed.

THIS IS GOOD NEWS PEOPLE!!! Walk outside, smile at your neighbor, hug your dog — WRITE A LETTER! Reflect on your (inner) self. Clean your goddamn house because THERE WILL BE NO INTERNET FOR ANYBODY FOR ONE WHOLE DAY!! CAN YOU TAKE IT????? SEE YOU THERE!!!!

It’s a sweet idea, for everyone to just not go online for 24 hours (and wut, watch teevee instead?) and return to the days of yesteryear–or like 1994–but frankly, Mondays just don’t hack it for me. It’s FDL Movie Night and we have the documentary Corner Store to discuss with director Katherine Bruens as our guest. And the Health Care Reform bill vote is this weekend…

CurrentlyyInternet OFF Day has 40 confirmed attendees on Facebook, and 137 followers on Twitter. Plus tee shirts for sale. On-line.

Actor/musician Steve Mormarco’ Facebook page gives hysterical, histrionic “updates” that include giving out the wrong date, “reports” that North Korea is refusing to participate in this event prank unless they are allowed to have nuclear weapons, and “warnings” that using the Internet during that time period could break it. Mormarco also notes that “internet off day” doesn’t show up in Google searches because Google is blocking it; actually the phrase does appear, though only on two pages, probably because the concept is not catching on.

But what I did find using Google, minus the quotation marks is interesting though. TechNewWorld.com reports:

A new version of a bill governing emergency control of the Internet is being floated in the U.S. Senate. In response to technology industry objections, language has been removed that would have given the president the power to flip a “kill switch” on the Internet in the event of a cyberemergency.

Senate Bill 733, cosponsored by Senators Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Olympia Snow, R-Maine limits that authority.The latest version requires public-private collaboration to decide whether to keep the Internet lights on. A previous version of the Act, introduced about a year ago, gave the president the power to flip the switch on all or some portions of the infrastructure of the Internet in the interests of homeland security.

So who would be in charge? According to TechWorld

The new bill provides for key persons in the commercial sector to be given higher security clearances and to have the information they need to participate in making those decisions…o help negotiate this rough terrain, a companion bill — Senate Bill 778 — provides for appointment of a “National Cybersecurity Advisor.” That official would have responsibility to grease the wheels of public-private collaboration. The advisor also would oversee funding for research in cybersecurity and building a larger staff of cybersecurity specialists.

The appointment of the NCA is is pending in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, while in February the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 4061, the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2009, which was introduced in November, 2009 and is awaiting the Senate’s vote.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.

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