Obama’s cyberdefence plan raises privacy concerns

June 13th, 2009 - 3:20 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama New York, June 13 (ANI): President Barack Obama’s plan to create a new Pentagon cyber command to protect the US from cyber attacks is raising significant privacy and diplomatic concerns.

Unveiling the new cyberdefense strategy, Obama had said: “The cybersecurity effort will not - I repeat, will not - include monitoring private sector networks or Internet traffic.”

But senior Pentagon and military officials say that Obama’s assurances may be difficult 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, New York Times reports.

Much of the new military command’s work is expected to be carried out by the National Security Agency, whose role in intercepting the domestic end of international calls and e-mail messages after the 9/11 attacks generated intense controversy.

There is simply no way, 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 report said.

But foreign adversaries often mount their attacks through computer network hubs inside the United States.

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, the report added.

“The government is in a quandary. A broad debate was needed about what constitutes an intrusion that violates privacy and, at the other extreme, what is an intrusion that may be acceptable in the face of an act of war,” said Maren Leed, a defense expert at the bipartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Some administration officials have now begun to discuss whether laws or regulations must be changed to allow law enforcement. (ANI)

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