Over the last year, the United States has been plunged into turmoil with the COVID crisis but what has made it even more terrifying is seeing how easily the government was able to take control.
All around the world, we saw people happily relinquish their freedom for a small bit of security that the world’s government offered. Everything that people mocked and called conspiracy theorists over the years had come to pass and it appears that we are just getting started.
There has been chatter about an internet kill switch for some time now with many wondering how easily could it be used.
What do you think would need to happen for the president of the United States to flip the switch and do we have one?
First of all, the United States has yet to employ this particular tool. However, according to data gathered to examine the financial impact of internet shutdowns, since 2019, there have been 237 major internet shutdowns in 45 countries.
Now let me back up just a little bit since I am sure there are some out there who are wondering what in the fresh heck is an “internet kill switch”?
An internet kill switch is a device/software/configuration that allows one to shut down all internet access within a region or country indefinitely. If activated, the kill switch would prevent everyone from checking social media, shopping online, using online messenger services, sending emails, or anything else involving an internet connection.
In many cases, this may also include any form of phone contact (it varies).
Hackers have the ability to down the entire internet system, as we have seen with op article and op article. However, governments around the globe have also resorted to shutdowns, claiming it to be necessary for public safety. For example, India (a democratic nation) was the global leader in shutdowns in 2019, with over 150 in 3 years.
See if you spot the recurring theme among the following shutdowns:
On July 11, Cuban citizens rallied in the streets to protest food and medicine shortages and electricity outages. Within two days, the Cuban government began restricting internet access.
Back in 2009, riots broke out in Xinjiang. The communists responded by shutting down the internet to the region for an entire year.
Amid protests, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak cut off nearly all internet access and shut down all cell phone services. The shutdown lasted for five days.
November 16, 2019, Iran authorities flipped the switch, plunging citizens into digital darkness for nearly 11 days. According to an Amnesty International press release, the deliberate shutdown was an attempt to hide the horrendous killings across the country.
In 2019, President Mnangagwa announced a fuel price increase. Protests against the increase caused Mnangagwa to shut down the internet. Critics called the shutdown “an attempt to hide growing reports of a violent crackdown on protests.”
Protests? We can fix that with an internet shutdown.
Election day, 2021, warranted shutting down many social media platforms and some messaging apps. Although the Zambian government denied the reports Secretary, Amos Malupenga mentioned there would be no hesitation to take appropriate measures.
Colombia’s government used this innovative means of stopping protests here in May 2021 – an internet shut down.
The Republic of the Congo
Another election day shutdown in 2021. This time in The Republic of the Congo.
Political unrest led to an internet shutdown here.
I think mentioning the word ‘elections’ regarding Russia is enough to make anybody laugh. Have a pesky election-tracking app you need shut down? A partial internet shutdown can do the trick.
Coup underway? Better shut off the internet.
Ethiopia’s government shut down the internet 12 times before blacking out the country for nearly 16 days in 2020. Reports said this was an attempt to muzzle activists demanding justice for the killing of a beloved musician.
Does the United States have an internet kill switch?
Under an entirely unconstitutional 1930s law on the books: 47 USC 606: War Powers of President; Chapter 5, Subchapter VI, the President has the authority to wield that mighty weapon.
(c) Suspension or amendment of rules and regulations applicable to certain emission stations or devices
Upon proclamation by the President that there exists war or a threat of war, or a state of public peril or disaster or other national emergency, or in order to preserve the neutrality of the United States, the President, if he deems it necessary in the interest of national security or defense, may suspend or amend, for such time as he may see fit, the rules and regulations applicable to any or all stations or devices capable of emitting electromagnetic radiations within the jurisdiction of the United States as prescribed by the Commission, and may cause the closing of any station for radio communication, or any device capable of emitting electromagnetic radiations between 10 kilocycles and 100,000 megacycles, which is suitable for use as a navigational aid beyond five miles, and the removal therefrom of its apparatus and equipment, or he may authorize the use or control of any such station or device and/or its apparatus and equipment, by any department of the Government under such regulations as he may prescribe upon just compensation to the owners.
If this switch was flipped it WOULD and I do not mean could throw our nation into absolute chaos.
People use everything online from shopping to paying their bills.
Look at how people react when their social media goes down for a few minutes.
So how do we get rid of this?
Last year in 2020, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Unplug the Internet Kill Switch Act of 2020 to Congress. H.R.8336 would have directly attacked 47 USC 606, making it not pertain to internet usage. While Congress did not refuse the bill, they left it to sit with no further actions.
This is something that needs to be addressed and soon, don’t you think?
Share your thoughts below!