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Executive Order Grants Authority to Seize Private Communications Facilities

The White House has released a new Executive Order seeking to ensure the continuity of government communications during a national emergency. The Executive Order grants new powers to the Department of Homeland Security, including the ability to collect certain public communications information. Under the Executive Order the White House has also granted the Department the authority to seize private facilities when necessary, effectively shutting down or limiting civilian communications. In 2011, Congress considered similar provisions in cybersecurity legislation, which would have allowed the government to disconnect communications traffic in times of national security. Following public protest, congress abandoned the proposal. For more information, see EPIC: Cybersecurity Privacy Practical Implications.

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