By Paul Thompson
Last updated at 3:16 PM on 18th June 2010

President Obama will be given the power to shut down the Internet with a ‘kill switch’ in a new law being proposed in the US.

He would be able to order popular search engines such a Google and Yahoo to suspend access their websites in times of national emergency.

Other US based Internet service providers as well as broadband providers would also come under his control in times of a ‘cybersecurity emergency.’  Any company that failed to comply would be subject to huge fines.

Critics of the new law, which has been proposed by former presidential candidate Joe Liebermann, said it would be an abuse of power to let the White House control the internet.

TechAmerica, one of the largest U.S. technology lobby groups, said the new law had the ‘potential for absolute power.’.

The proposed legislation, introduced into the US Senate by Lieberman who is chairman of the US Homeland Security committee, seeks to grant the President broad emergency powers over the internet in times of national emergency.

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