Sixty-one percent of U.S. citizens believe the president should be authorized to control or even shut down portions of the Internet in the event key U.S. systems are struck by a cyberattack from a foreign power, according to the latest Unisys Security Index. The study suggests that the U.S. public may favor pending cybersecurity legislation that accords the president such authority by granting the government the power to force Internet providers, search engines, software companies, and other private firms to comply with emergency measures set up by Department of Homeland Security.
Fifty-nine percent of poll respondents said they were extremely or very worried about the U.S.'s national security in relation to the war against terrorism, 57 percent were worried about identity theft, and 57 percent harbored concerns about credit and debit card fraud. Respondents were less anxious about Internet security, with only 34 percent "seriously concerned" about the security of shopping or banking online.
"Our survey shows that the American public recognizes the danger of a cyberattack and wants the federal government to take an active role in extending the nation's cyberdefense," says Unisys' Patricia Titus.
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