Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.
They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.
The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.
Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to “direct the national response to the cyber threat” if necessary for “the national defense and security.” The White House is supposed to engage in “periodic mapping” of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies “shall share” requested information with the federal government. (“Cyber” is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)
Translation: If your company is deemed “critical,” a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.
To read the entire story go to http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10320096-38.html
Working parents feed their children in soup kitchens as cost of living soars
Each Friday, teachers in elementary schools in a corner of the richest country in the world quietly slip packs of peanut butter, fruit and granola bars into some pupils’ bags – enough food to get them through the weekend before school dinners resume on Monday.
Not a word is said to the pupils or their parents because, even as the number of families in West Virginia dependent on food handouts continues to rise, many are ashamed to admit to their friends and neighbours that they need help.
“The teachers spot the children they think aren’t getting enough to eat at home, those from families they know are having difficulties,” said Carla Nardella, who heads the state’s main food bank which distributes free boxes of groceries and supplies soup kitchens in West Virginia.
“These are proud people, so the teachers do it discreetly. We call them backpack snack packs, and started distributing them this year to give extra food to children because the situation is getting more difficult.
“We’ve begun with 400 children. It’s our hope that one day there will be a programme like this in every school in West Virginia, because there are children in every school who need help. It’s so hard seeing children go hungry.”
It is not just the children. One in six of West Virginia’s 1.8 million people receive government food stamps – one of the highest rates in the country – and the total is rising by the week.
Also in the food lines are elderly people who have seen their pensions wiped out by the stock market crash, families driven into destitution by medical expenses because they cannot afford insurance, and the large numbers of people who are perennially dependent on welfare in one of America’s poorest states.
But most of those on food stamps need more, and are forced to make use of handouts of groceries or to visit soup kitchens.
To read the rest of this article go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/01/recession-food-handouts-america-virginia