Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wire: Privacy May be Victim in Obama Cyberdefense Plan

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2009 -- Newswire services reported this morning plan to create a new cybercommand is raising significant privacy and diplomatic concerns, as the Obama administration moves ahead on a new cyberdefense strategy he unveiled last month.

The New York Times reported that senior Pentagon and military officials said any of President Obama’s assurances that the plan will protect personal privacy and civil liberties may be challenging to guarantee in practice, particularly in trying to monitor the thousands of daily attacks on security systems in the United States that have set off a race to develop better cyberweapons.

Much of the new military command’s work is expected to be carried out by the National Security Agency.

There is simply no way, the officials say, to effectively conduct computer operations without entering networks inside the United States, where the military is prohibited from operating, or traveling electronic paths through countries that are not themselves American targets, The New York Times said.

The New York Times reported the following details:
The cybersecurity effort, Mr. Obama said at the White House last month, “will not -- I repeat, will not--— include monitoring private sector networks or Internet traffic.”

But foreign adversaries often mount their attacks through computer network hubs inside the United States, and military officials and outside experts say that threat confronts the Pentagon and the administration with difficult questions.

Military officials say there may be a need to intercept and examine some e-mail messages sent from other countries to guard against computer viruses or potential terrorist action. Advocates say the process could ultimately be accepted as the digital equivalent of customs inspections, in which passengers arriving from overseas consent to have their luggage opened for security, tax and health reasons.
Obama administration officials have begun to discuss whether laws or regulations must be changed to allow law enforcement, the military or intelligence agencies greater access to networks or Internet providers.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: Privacy May Be a Victim in Cyberdefense Plan

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