JUDGE: RELEASE 'INTERNET KILL SWITCH' PLANS -- Says Homeland Security must turn over details on 'SOP 303'
(by Bob Unruh, WND) -- A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. government’s “Internet kill switch,” a plan to deactivate wireless communications networks in a crisis, is not protected by secrecy laws and must be disclosed to the public.
The ruling on SOP 303 – the Department of Homeland Security’s Standard Operating Procedure – comes from U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg in Washington.
The judge ordered the DHS to turn over SOP 303 to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which brought the Freedom of Information Act case, within 30 days.
Boasberg ordered his actions stayed until it’s determined whether the government will appeal.
EPIC, nevertheless, declared victory on its website, explaining that it sought the documentation “to determine whether the agency’s plan could adversely impact free speech or public safety.”
The federal court explained that SOP 303 codifies “a shutdown and restoration process for use by commercial and private wireless networks during national crises.”
The government explains that such a move might become necessary under certain circumstances to “deter the triggering of radio-activated improvised explosive devices.”
When EPIC requested the information, DHS responded that it “had conducted comprehensive searches for records that would be responsive … [but was] unable to locate or identify any responsive records.”
However, as part of an appeal process, DHS admitted there was a record – “the very document EPIC had requested: Standard Operating Procedure 303.”
But DHS withheld some of the document because it contained personal information for “state homeland security officials,” claiming it would “disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions” and that it could “reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.”
The judge, however, discounted DHS’ arguments for preventing the release of information.
He wrote that the agency could not meet the requirement that a disclosure “would reveal ‘techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.’” Continue reading via WND...