Collaboration

Poll: Should the US Government block sites/regulate Internet traffic during times of crisis?

A GAO report suggests that the US government may need to act as an Internet traffic cop during times of crisis--like a flu pandemic. Do you agree?

Yesterday, I published a piece on a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (GAO-10-8) that suggests a serious influenza pandemic could result in a massive spike in Internet traffic and that the US government may need to step in and act as an Internet traffic cop; limiting people's bandwidth or blocking bandwidth-intensive sites altogether.

A vigorous debate over the practicality, effectiveness, and legality of this issue in the post's discussion thread. So, I though putting up a poll that allows people to quickly vote on the issue made sense. Let me know what you think.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

5 comments
Jeff7181
Jeff7181

... should the US government ever block anything on the Internet. Let them monitor traffic all the way, but they should never ever be allowed to block traffic over the Internet. Honestly, I don't even know why this question needs to be asked. This is the United States of America we're talking about here, not communist China.

cjoyce
cjoyce

LOL, You would be better placed if you were in China. At least there the infrastructure is modern, bandwidth very good and excess in capacity. The US is rather 3rd world in broadband. Perhaps a concept like Net / Net neutrality. Reserve some capacity for the national service and smart infrastructure needs. Then do what you want with the rest. This is how the Radio spectrum has had reserved frequencies for emergency and other national services. The Internet will be used to run all the smart infrastructure that is being built. The demand for Internet bandwidth is growing at 50% - 60% year on year yet capacity is growing at 20 -40%. The maths are not on the side of unlimited use. What would you prefer, Facebook or electricity? That will be the choice where internet capacity cannot cope with Smart infrastructure demands in addition to the "normal" internet demand.

Jeff7181
Jeff7181

"He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security." By the way... a business continuity plan that relies on the Internet for mission critical systems is a pretty terrible plan. We're not talking about avoiding another east coast power outage. We're talking about giving the government the power to cease all communication over the Internet for anyone in the US - the Internet... one of the largest free exchanges of information in the world. This type of power is reserved for communist governments like China and Nazi Germany.

ckanow
ckanow

Nazi Germany was not a communist regime. It was a fashist one - there is a difference, you know. But I agree, don't give any government power over internet use, though clearly someone should put in place an emergency plan - there are too many daft people out there.

aandruli
aandruli

In a perfect world they would block Facebook to preserve all the rest -- but in the real world, as we have seen the "Patriot Act" so blatantly abused, they would shut down the websites of opposing political parties and leave Facebook run. Can't trust the government to pick and choose so I say block nothing. Let Facebook volunteer to temporarily shut down.