Rumors of an “Internet kill switch” that President Barack Obama might be in control of have permeated conspiracy circles over the last few years. On Monday, Google users experienced a strange phenomenon. Now problems do happen from time to time and we have all experienced server outages, problems obtaining email, and the like. But this outage was notable because all of the services went out at the same time. The outage was short-lived, not even spanning twenty minutes for most users, but the strangest part is the explanation that Google is offering up for what happened.
Google says that somehow a “self-destruct” signal was sent out to Chrome browsers and other services. The logistics of how this works is not clear, and we probably wouldn’t understand if they tried to explain it to us in more detail. Apparently, Google’s systems have an emergency shut-down that is sent to all devices and services of Google simultaneously when triggered. This is what happened on Monday, and Google insists that the message was sent accidentally. They go on to say that there is nothing to be alarmed about and they are taking measures to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again. But with the services coming back up so quickly, we believe that perhaps Google was testing the so-called Internet kill switch. After all, something like that has to be tested in a live setting at some point, and that means potentially interrupting millions of users and businesses. The amount of e-commerce transactions that might have been interrupted in just a twenty-minute outage would probably be overwhelming. Did Google initiate the outage on purpose?
If this was a test, what does it mean for the future? Is the Internet kill switch now in effect? Will we see other services executing their own test periodically? And will we see a true kill event in which the entire Internet shuts down?
It’s a story worth tracking. Common Sense Conspiracy will keep you posted.