Should the President Have the Power to "Pull the Plug" on the Internet?

Posted on November 1st 2010

Should the President Have the Power to "Pull the Plug" on the Internet?

You know the expression "pull the plug?' Well it seems over over 60% of Americans think the President should have the authority to "pull the plug" on the Internet in the event of "a coordinated malicious cyber attack."

This was one the results from the recently released Unisys Security Index.

As per their website, the Index is conducted twice a year, and provides a regular, statistically robust measure of concerns about four areas of security:

  • National security
  • Financial security
  • Internet security
  • Personal security

Here's what they found specifically...

  • The majority of Americans (61%) believe the President should have the ability to shut down portions of the internet in the event of a coordinated malicious cyber attack.
  • This is nearly twice as many Americans than those who do not believe the President should have that authority (32%).
  • National security and financial security are by far the greatest concerns to Americans. Internet security and personal security concerns saw double-digit decreases since the first half of the year.
  • 73% of Americans who access the internet regularly update antivirus software; only 8% never do this
  • Only 37% of Americans regularly use and update mobile device passwords, suggesting that users of mobile devices have not made the leap from providing the same level of protection to those devices than they apply to their PCs and laptops
  • 80% of Americans regularly limit access to personal information that can be accessed on social media sites

This chart below shows more detailed findings... and for more ways to stay safe be sure to read "How to stay safe in a social media world"


Source: UNISYS Security Index: United States 30 August 2010 (Wave 2H’10)


So... do you agree?

Should the President have the ability to flick the proverbial switch on the Internet?

Do you limit access to your personal information online?

Do you update passwords as often as you should?

steve olenski

Steve Olenski

A regular contributor to Forbes, among other publications, Steve was named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred. He is a also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing and co-author of the book StumbleUpon For Dummies. Follow him on Twitter@steveolenski or at the nearest coffee shop.The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle Marketing Cloud.

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Posted on November 1st 2010 at 2:53PM

If not the President, who else should have the authority to "pull the plug" in the event of a malicious cyber attack against our Internet structures? 

Posted on November 1st 2010 at 3:04PM

Not just no but HELL NO. He's more than welcome to pull the plug on federal sites, but there is absolutely no reason to shut down one of the most integral tools among ALL PEOPLE, both socially and professionally.

The reason people would give him the power is the same reason they click on those obvious spam advertisements for "virus protection." If someone yells fire, everybody runs even if there's no smoke.

Jon Bernstein
Posted on November 2nd 2010 at 11:21AM

No one should have that authority.  Letting alone that "malicious cyber attack" is an undefined, vaguely scary sounding term, there's absoluely no reason that access to internet-based communications should ever be effectively "shut off" by anyone. 

Posted on November 17th 2010 at 5:26PM

ABSOLUTELY NOT! The internet is 'free speech'. Once you create the ability to 'unplug' the internet, it's open to a wide variety of interpretation and abuse...