In an event that was devoid of the usual pomp and circumstance, President Obama issued an Executive Order, (EO) that effectively handed the Department of Homeland Security, (DHS) the ability to take complete control over the internet, according to reports from VPNReviewz.

According to privacy advocates like the EFF, EPIC, UsenetReviewz, and many others, this order gives the DHS the authority to take complete control of public, private, and non-profit them the ability to close off or limit any and all civilian communications. And, on the National Communications Systems official website, the order is further elaborated on, saying that the infrastructure, "includes wireline, wireless, satellite, cable, and broadcasting, and provides the transport networks that support the Internet and other key information systems."

CEO of VPNReviewz, Michael Maxstead, agrees that the existing "Emergency Alert System" used in the US probably does need to be brought up to date to reflect existing technologies, but that, "This EO allows too much control over such a large entity." He further goes on to wonder "And, what will the system be used for once it is completely in place?" He asks this because the order allows the DHS to "prioritize" internet traffic. In order to prioritize the traffic effectively, the controlling and monitoring agency would have to know the origination point, destination, identification, and type of traffic. Essentially everything about the communication.

Most of the EO is wrapped up in legalese detailing the agency that will be created, the fact that the EO is being issued under the authority of the National Security/Emergency Preparedness, NS/EP, (EO 13618) and what agencies will be contributing to the implementation of the additional measures. But also in the EO is the ability for the DHS to mandate the security measures that are used by private, government, and non-profit agencies. Maxstead said that this statement was rather vague, and worried that privacy software, like VPNs and proxies could be effected. But, the truth in that remains to be seen, and many social networks, like Usenet, and torrent related forums, have been abuzz with supposition.

Speaking about the recent legislative attempts to gain access and control over the internet, Maxstead said that this EO filled in the blanks where SOPA, ACTA, the TPP, and the recently defeated CISPA, efforts have failed. He said that, "It looks like they are getting some measure of the control they were seeking, but it was inevitable. Eventually the public would become desensitized to all the hype over their legislative initiatives." Explaining that he thought that eventually, the public would become disinterested, and some form of legislative effort would succeed.

Privacy activists are highly concerned about the far reaching scope of the EO, and the access to this sensitive data it would create. They are saying that this kind of power has been abused in the past. They assert that the FBI scandal concerning Letters of National Security is proof enough of the abuses that could become prevalent. The VPNReviewz CEO supports this view saying that the powers would be granted to a far wider range of entities, too. And that this could create the issue of "Who's monitoring the monitor." With the answer ultimately being "The Present Administration."