Posts Tagged ‘domestic spying’
The U.S. government is expanding a cybersecurity program that scans Internet traffic headed into and out of defense contractors to include far more of the country’s private, civilian-run infrastructure.
As a result, more private sector employees than ever before, including those at big banks, utilities and key transportation companies, will have their emails and Web surfing scanned as a precaution against cyber attacks.
Now you understand why the White House and Congress have been planting scare stories throughout the tame media recently.
Under last month’s White House executive order on cybersecurity, the scans will be driven by classified information provided by U.S. intelligence agencies – including data from the National Security Agency (NSA) – on new or especially serious espionage threats and other hacking attempts. U.S. spy chiefs said on March 12 that cyber attacks have supplanted terrorism as the top threat to the country.
The Department of Homeland Security will gather the secret data and pass it to a small group of telecommunication companies and cybersecurity providers that have employees holding security clearances, government and industry officials said. Those companies will then offer to process email and other Internet transmissions for critical infrastructure customers that choose to participate in the program.
By using DHS as the middleman, the Obama administration hopes to bring the formidable overseas intelligence-gathering of the NSA closer to ordinary U.S. residents without triggering an outcry from privacy advocates who have long been leery of the spy agency’s eavesdropping…
Yes, that’s what it actually says: “without triggering an outcry from privacy advocates…”
But as fears grow of a destructive cyber attack on core, non-military assets, and more sweeping security legislation remained stalled, the Obama administration opted to widen the program.
Last month’s presidential order calls for commercial providers of “enhanced cybersecurity services” to extend their offerings to critical infrastructure companies. What constitutes critical infrastructure is still being refined, but it would include utilities, banks and transportation such as trains and highways.
The issue of scanning everything headed to a utility or a bank still has civil liberties implications, even if each company is a voluntary participant.
Another one of those days when someone has to explain to me the difference between Republicans and Democrats on questions of civil liberties. This ain’t George W Bush using his War on Terror to snoop on Americans. This is Barack Obama using his War on Terror to snoop on Americans.
Gee. Not a lot of difference between those last two sentences — is there?
The Pentagon, which closed its Talon intelligence database nearly a year ago amid concerns about domestic spying, will soon begin testing an unclassified alternative for tracking possible threats to U.S. military bases.
The system, an FBI-operated program called eGuardian, would for the first time sever the Defense Department’s collection of data on suspicious activity from U.S. intelligence operations by placing the information in an unclassified database for law enforcement agencies, officials said…
Talon, a classified database maintained by a defense counterintelligence office that the Pentagon disbanded on Tuesday, was designed to gather pieces of information about suspicious activity near U.S. defense facilities. Analysts could then examine the data for evidence of potential threats.
But in 2005, the database was found to have inappropriately retained information on U.S. antiwar protesters even after they were ruled out as threats. That caused an outcry in Congress and among civil liberties advocates about the dangers of military spying on U.S. citizens.
“The concept is still good” said a Pentagon spokesman. “Connecting the dots of the bits and pieces of possible information is a good thing. It just shouldn’t be in a counterintelligence database”.
So, you change the name, yoyo the order in which information on citizens is shared and “voila” data-mining American citizens is now legitimate.
The sleazy history of governments spying on the general populace doesn’t get squeaky clean just because it’s practiced in a country with a history of openness. The openness has been going away for decades.
National security and executive privilege replaced your right to know, long go.