President Obama Signs 'Secret Directive' On Cybersecurity

from the it's-so-secure-it's-secret dept

While we're hearing that the Senate is likely to take up (though not pass) the Cybersecurity Act yet again either today or tomorrow, and the White House is still sitting on a cybersecurity "executive order," in the meantime it's being reported that President Obama has signed a "secret directive" to allow the military to "act more aggressively to thwart cyberattacks." This is limited to the military, but that means we're talking about the NSA (which is a part of the Defense Department). Considering that it seems to view a stronger offensive effort (i.e., collecting all data) a key part of a strong "defense," this is worrisome.

The really troubling part in all of this is the really unnecessary level of secrecy. We keep being told scary bogeyman stories about online attacks without any evidence or proof. And now the President is signing a "secret" order allowing the military to do more in response? Without any real scrutiny, it's not difficult to see how these things expand unceasingly and are wide open for abuse. Given the NSA's track record here, it's inevitable that these efforts will be massively abused.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    Presidential overreach....

    It's probably the most logical reason to never vote for an incumbent for President....

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Chosen Reject (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:02pm

      Re: Presidential overreach....

      No matter who won the election last week, Obama would still be president this week. I doubt voting him out last week would have changed this one bit.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:08pm

      Re: Presidential overreach....

      A thought occurs: governments are becoming less relevant to the population of the world.

      ...and this fact scares the be-f***ing-jebus out of the government.

      If we thought the death throes of the MAFIAA were bad, the death throes of the governments (as they reach obsolescence, rather than thru any coup or revolt) will likely be exponentially worse.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 3:52pm

        Re: Re: Presidential overreach....

        A thought occurs: governments are becoming less relevant to the population of the world.
        And I wonder why that is?...
        As I understand it the presidential race cost $1billion per candidate or there abouts. It's hardly suprising that:
        1/ Anyone getting there is beholden to whoever can provide that kind of money to get them there and
        2/ The interests of those that they are beholden to are not the same as the other 99.99% of the world that don't have that kind of money.

         

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

      •  
        identicon
        Mason Wheeler, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 10:28am

        Re: Re: Presidential overreach....

        Be careful what you wish for. History has shown that whenever one group in power declines, there will be several others that are more than willing to step in and fill the void, by whatever means necessary. A power vacuum makes for even worse conditions to live in than a tyrannical government. (Just look at Somalia!)

         

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

    •  
      icon
      Wally (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 8:49pm

      Re: Presidential overreach....

      That's why I voted Hillary Clinton for Presidential Candidate for the DNC. She's the one who encouraged Obama to go against SOPA after he quietly expressed his support.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        DS, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 3:51am

        Re: Re: Presidential overreach....

        She isn't that much of a saint... she also supported Jack Thompson before the shit hit the fan for him.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 5:18am

          Re: Re: Re: Presidential overreach....

          Power causes corruption! Trust me I know from personal experience. I won this bet when I was 11 and during the month my brother was my slave I turned from a nice kid into a goddamn tyrant.

           

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

  •  
    icon
    alanbleiweiss (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Power corrupts. Same story. Always. Without someone providing order and structure, there's always going to be unfettered chaos and someone somewhere is going to do grievous harm to those around them.

    So how do we maintain order and structure without crossing into corrupt motives within the realm of cyber security, since it's hidden under the guise of national security?

    The notion that Congress supposedly oversees such things and is charged with providing checks and balances has become a joke given their own corrupt motivations. And the Supreme court? total crap-shoot as a "final protection".

     

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

  •  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:46pm

    No difference

    Barry, or Mitt, would be the same shit, different asshole. Our kids kids will tell the story of the great uprising, or the massive slaughter. Sad really.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Trevor (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

    No matter who was elected President would have done this. The only consolation is that Obama was a Constitutional Lawyer, so at least he KNOWS what he is signing. Romney would just go along with whatever.

    "Anyone capable of getting themselves elected President should by no means be allowed to do the job." -Douglas Adams

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Chosen Reject (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

      Re:

      I don't know, I'm fairly certain Gary Johnson wouldn't have signed this. And while it might be true that Romney would have done the same thing if he had the opportunity, the reality is that your statement is true in one sense. No matter who won the election last week, Obama would have signed this anyway. If Obama had lost the election, he'd still be PotUS right now.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Chosen Reject (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:01pm

      Re:

      How is it a consolation that someone who should know better is doing this rather than someone else?

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Trevor (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:34pm

        Re: Re:

        I was not defending the President for his actions. I was pointing out that at least he KNOWS what he is doing, like it or not. The only consolation is that this isn't a situation where the President is being told what to do and to just play along. At least he knows the implications. The problem is: He's ok with it.

        Also, I meant between the two people with a fighting chance to get elected. Until the system changes to allow a viable third party contender that has an actual chance, the President is coming from one of the two main parties.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That is the dumbest thing I have read here. You excuse Obama for signing something he should know better than to sign. You must be some kind of Obama apologist.

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 3:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The only consolation is that this isn't a situation where the President is being told what to do and to just play along. At least he knows the implications. The problem is: He's ok with it. "

          That's not a consolation. That's a BIGGER problem. When the problem is simple ignorance, knowledge will cure it. This problem is apparently deeper.

          Would you rather have someone who would take improper action advising the President - or BEING the President?

           

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

    •  
      identicon
      Rekrul, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 4:24pm

      Re:

      The only consolation is that Obama was a Constitutional Lawyer, so at least he KNOWS what he is signing.

      I think you mean that he should know better...

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 4:54pm

        Re: Re:

        Anyway, how does being a constitutional lawyer mean he knows what he's signing? If he doesn't understand cybersecurity, he won't understand the constitutional implications.

        Kind of like how people in the patent office might understand patent law but not understand that a PARTICULAR patent application is overbroad- if you don't fully understand the material, you can't know how the law applies to it.

        And again, what good is his being a constitutional lawyer if he's just going to ignore whether it's constitutional anyway? You can't seriously tell me that caring whether something is constitutional has been a big priority for him in general in this presidency.

        And how long is this bill? Has Obama actually even read it word for word, as a lawyer would have to in order to form an actual legal opinion on it?

         

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

    The directive was leaked to WikiLeaks 37 minutes before he signed it.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:02pm

    Easy fix for the bad guys...

    just throw some cyber hookers their way and let the fun begin.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:10pm

    OBAMA
    WUT R U DOIN
    OBAMA
    STAHP

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:14pm

    "The really troubling part in all of this is the really unnecessary level of secrecy."

    Mike, you've got the NSA admitting that they are violating the Constitution. When asked about the scope of the violations, they stated it would further violate the Constitution. The whole process has been a complete disaster to civil rights in the United States and you expect them to be open about it? I've got some beach front property in Florida to sell you...

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    JNR, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:21pm

    Terrifying

    Secret laws, written anonymously, granting sweeping powers to parties unknown, passed without a vote? What is this, the USSR? What the hell happened to my country.

    And this isn't "hurr durr obawma is evul", McJesus Rmoney would have signed this just as fast.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 3:48pm

      Re: Terrifying

      Well, we don't know what is IN the order. Obama is commander in chief, and has the power to issue directives to the military. And the exact rules of engagement probably SHOULD be secret, to avoid having others exploit them. How can you say it "grants sweeping powers to parties unknown" without knowing what's in it? It may very well grant only powers that certain people already assumed they had.

      I'm sure this was leaked on purpose. You can tell, because the article in the paper spins it in a positive light. "Look, we're doing something about cybersecurity!"

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:31pm

    Well, it ain't so secret now, is it?

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    John Doe, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:35pm

    Long live the King

    With Obama skirting congress so often with executive orders we basically now have a king. That should scare people even more than this bill.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 3:56pm

      Re: Long live the King

      In his case yes.. in general, arguably a somewhat benevolent dictator would probably be better that clowngress or any other "democratic" government in the world.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Hello World, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:42pm

    ... about time ...

    There are regular attacks on DoD and Infrastructure (Electric Grid) already...

    http://www.informationweek.com/government/security/dod-hackers-breached-us-critical-infrast/2400 08972

    ... and more than most reading this would really want to know.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 3:05pm

      Re: ... about time ...

      if you put CRITICAL INFASTRUCTURE ON THE WEB you DESERVE to have a SPIKE DRIVEN THRU YOUR HEAD... ITS NOT THAT FREAKING HARD of a concept to get...

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      A1der, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 5:58pm

      Re: ... about time ...

      Electric grid is NOT connected to the world wide web. It cannot be affected by hackers, only by highly placed, corrupt politicians.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Hugo First, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:46pm

    How far can they go?

    The president has already asserted the authority to kill US citizens on his order, on his say-so alone, without any of the niceties afforded by the bill of rights. Why on earth would this surprise anyone? And what difference does it make any more?

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    JohnParry, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:59pm

    Facts

    Author, you offer no facts. Just rumors and speculation. Poor article.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 3:16pm

    Given the NSA's track record here, it's inevitable that these efforts will be massively abused.

    Hell yeah. That's all the government does--they shit all over us. Rabble rabble! I hate America!!

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    temoi, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 3:32pm

    No matter who's president they will fuck us pirates hard.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 3:33pm

    I wonder if any part of thwarting cyberattacks includes not provoking cyberattacks by being a cyberfirststriker?

     

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

    •  
      icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 6:12pm

      Re:

      but but but think of terrorist children!

      This is letting them get their need to have war happen without having to use nukes. They've had them and only got to use them that one time.
      Now we can have giant bloodless battles in cyberspace.

      Maybe they should take a page from Notch's playbook and just have a Quake 3 deathmatch tournament.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 5:10pm

    Better in the hands of the NSA where it gets lost from the billions of daily communications than the DOJ and FBI who will not only arrest you for the littlest of things, but leave your personal information open to hackers ;-)

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 1:59am

    Remember y'all, the internet can't be regulated.

    Just cuz.

    We said so.

    Don't give a damn that it's about commerce now, not communication.

    You can't mess with us. Free speech bitches. LOL

    Pay no attention to all this money being accumulated that's making us wealthier than everyone else.

    FREE SPEECH.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 5:09am

    Their actions are a national disgrace. Our enemies must be having a good laugh as our own government turns rogue before our eyes.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I highly doubt that these people who think theres nothing wrong with these bill actually have the morals or self control not to do it regradless of permission, with the recent cia firing and bengazai testifying, plus the numerous other examples, its clear they already poses the capability........no, this is and will always be a law brought up to justify something, past, present, or future.
    Your government is out of control, and its leading the rest of the world down the drain pipe
    There are few americans i would call friend, those in liberty have mine by default, and my respect and my support, whenever, however i can.......i wish you guys the strenght to fight the apathy, but will never begrudge if you fall back, as they say, you can never unlearn what you see, read, or hear.........the fire of liberty rages on.....its, its own beast, doesnt seem like it wants to get put out.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Shruggingshoulders, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 9:58pm

    Should know better?

    Pres Obama should know better?...?
    And just what in the last 4 years proves that he cares about the constitution?
    There is this current scandal right now, where his admin scapegoated an insignificant video maker for a certain overseas problem. Um.. Freedom of speech?
    No. To use your conjecture of Romney's future actions as a foil to lessen Pres Obama's responsibility in his duties to uphold the constitution is exactly why the slippery slope is a steep grade right now. Partisanship is leading to double standards w consequences. Thank you for yet another example. The constitution is the standard. Period. Whatever happened to the Liberal speaking truth to power? Sad, because the sycophancy and plain wierd cult of personality for our current pres is taking its toll.
    Even if this article proves false, with such pervasive thinking, it won't matter w the next issue on deck.
    Our best hope is a statesmen in the Dem party shows some backbone and says no more. It won't come from the GOP, so successfully marginalized, as they are.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    relghuar, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 4:26am

    Secrecy forever!

    Please, Mike, how can that still surprise you after 4 years?
    Obama loves secrecy. When secrecy is alone and afraid at night, it goes to White House to huddle in bed right between Mr. and Mrs. Obama.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This