Freedom of speech - right?  How 'bout the President shutting down or limiting what's on the internet?

“The President ... may declare a cyber security emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal Government or United States Critical infrastructure information system or network,” is the clause buried deep in the bowels of the Cybersecurity Act of 2010 now before the Congress which has had one debate already in the Senate.

In the United States the Act, written and proposed by the Obama White House, is working its way through Congress.

The Obama administration is pushing Congress to get this little-known about bill passed.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation commentary on the bill observed “Essentially, the Act would federalize critical infrastructure security. Since many of our critical infrastructure systems (banks, telecommunications, and energy) are in the hands of the private sector, the bill would create a major shift of power away from users and companies to the federal government. This is a potentially dangerous approach that favors the dramatic over the sober response.”

The effects of such a bill could be far-reaching and would leave the right to use it to the President sees fit.

The legislation, introduced by Democratic Senator John Rockefeller and Republican Senator Olympia Snowe in April (2010) in the US Senate, gives the president the ability to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” and shut down or limit Internet traffic in any “critical” information network “in the interest of national security.”

The bill does not define a critical information network or a cybersecurity emergency. That definition would be left to the president, according to expert analysis.