The (Cyber) New Normal: Dissecting President Obama's Cyber National Emergency
35 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2016 Last revised: 29 Mar 2021
Date Written: December 17, 2016
On April 1, 2015, President Barack Obama declared a national emergency under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to combat cyberattacks continually launched at the United States. Obama used Executive Order 13,694 (EO 13694) against the Russians after amending it to encompass their interference with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But in issuing EO 13694, President Obama (1) created a permanent national emergency, given the ubiquity and continued escalation of cyberattacks, and (2) handed President Donald Trump an executive order which can be used against Internet Service Providers with chilling effects, because of its overly broad language. This comment is an examination of those effects, as well as the impacts EO 13694 has on the international level. While EO 13694 is a good start, it goes too far in reaching cyber activity. Yet the underlying problem stems not from EO 13694, but from a Congress which, even now, continues to grant the executive branch too much authority over actors in cyberspace.
Keywords: Obama administration, Trump administration, presidential powers, emergency powers, national security law, international emergency economic powers act, executive orders, cyberspace, international law
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