Does 'Cyber-Security' Mean More NSA Dragnet Surveillance?

from the fox-guarding-the-henhouse dept

As network infrastructure has become an increasingly important part of our economy, there's been growing concern about the problems of cybersecurity. So far, the key debate is over whether the government should be involved in helping the private sector secure its networks or should focus on government networks. But another important question is which part of the government should be in charge of cyber-security. We're in the midst of a bureaucratic turf war between the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency over who will be in charge of government cybersecurity policy. The NSA's head, Keith Alexander, is pushing the theory that cyber-security is a "national security issue," and that therefore an intelligence agency like the NSA ought to be in charge of it.

The problem with this is that the NSA has a peculiar definition of cyber-security. When most of us talk about cyber-security, we mean securing our communications against intrusion by third parties, including the government. Yet the NSA has made no secret of its belief that "cyber security" means being able to spy on people more easily. Moreover, as Amit Yoran, former head of the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division, points out, the NSA's penchant for secrecy, and concomitant lack of transparency, will be counterproductive in the effort to secure ordinary commercial networks. Therefore, the fight between DHS and the NSA is more than just a bureaucratic squabble. There's plenty to criticize about the Department of Homeland Security, and reasons to doubt whether they should be helping to secure private sector networks at all. But at least DHS is relatively transparent, and (as far as we know) doesn't engage in the kind of indiscriminate, warrantless wiretapping for which the NSA has become notorious.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    ken, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 9:18pm

    Cyber Security

    The government doesn't give a damn about American security, else it would have secured our borders years ago. This is just another part of the scheme, which includes turning airports into Little North Korea's, constant physical and electronic surveillance with CCTVs, data mining, air port no-fly lists, ect. This isn't Republican, or Democrat. Even the most rabid O-bot can tell by now that Obama's policies are basically the same as George Bush's, if only a bit further to the left. Both parties serve the U.S. Government, and the U.S. Government is the enemy of America. That is why it treats the American people as the enemy. Ken www.kenstech.com

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Cyber Security

    Rant much ?
    Feel Better now ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 9:38pm

    Re: Re: Cyber Security

    Whether you like it or not, he's right though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Dan, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 12:31am

    This is exactly why cyber security should be a civilian agency. We have already seen how the NSA handled surveillance of so called terrorists. How many have they caught and prosecuted? I know, its secret, it is none.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    :Lobo Santo, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 7:25am

    "Security"

    Wouldn't it be nice if "Security" meant "secure in your right to privacy"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    justme, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    I want whatever you're smkoing

    "But at least DHS is relatively transparent, and (as far as we know) doesn't engage in the kind of indiscriminate, warrantless wiretapping for which the NSA has become notorious."

    No, but they can confiscate your computer at the border FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER. Is that really much better?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Jim Gaudet (profile), Mar 18th, 2009 @ 8:50am

    NSA Does this already

    Honestly, I am sure that the NSA is doing all this now, they would just be legal now..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Dean, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 5:11pm

    This is an old fight

    It's the 'domestic telephone protection' fight all over again. In the late 1970's NSA tried to do this with the telephone industry. Now they're after the Internet. The 'protection' they offered then was so weak it was a joke. NSA is not really competent to do this. They just want to get their hands further into our pants.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Mike Sherrif, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 10:32pm

    Security

    This is simply the internet version of the telephone protection act.. I don't really expect much from The NSA this time either. I agree with the comment made earlier that cyber security should be a civilian agency.
    Mike Sherrif, Colorado private investigator

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Mile High Investigations, Feb 20th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    Re: Security

    I completely agree! Private Investigator Denver

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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