US Cybersecurity Act "Kill Switch" Removal Questioned
In August, the US Cybersecurity Bill was met with harsh criticicsm because it allowed the President to shut down internet traffic by seizing private networks. The new draft, which passed last week, has removed the explicit "kill switch" language from the bill, but Donny Shaw's blog has led many to believe that the President would still possess "kill switch" power under the new bill. Shaw says that the language is still vague, and does not limit what the President can do in an "emergency response and restoration." This is a plan (replacing the "kill switch") that the President would develop by collaborating with government agencies and private industries. A cybersecurity emergency response may be declared "in the event of an immediate threat to strategic national interests involving compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information systems." This seems to indicate that the President would only be able to declare an emergency if there were a cyber threat to US critical systems. It's unlikely that we'll see the government shutting down newspapers or any other subversive websites anytime soon.
Chrome Embraces Flash
Tired of the security concerns and crash problems associated with plugins such as Flash? Google's solution is not to push them away, but instead to build the plugins into their browser. Soon, Google will be distributing Chrome and Chrome OS with Flash inside. The player will update automatically and in the future, Flash will reside in Google's sandbox to contain crashes and security breaches.
IntelliJ's IDEAL Plugin Contest
JetBrains is holding their annual plugin development contest for all plugins developed in 2009 and 2010. Plugins for IntelliJ IDEA, RubyMine, WebIDE, and PyCharm are being accepted. Each participant will get a commemorative T-shirt just for submitting a non-trivial entry. The grand prize winner will receive a non-trivial $7,000. The contest ends April 30, 2010.