Forbes reports on more privacy questions surrounding President Obama’s plan for cybersecurity. In May, the administration released a cybersecurity review, and Obama discussed cyberdefense, emphasizing the protection of civil liberties.
Since Obama’s landmark speech on cybersecurity in May, his administration hasn’t revealed much about its long-percolating plans to shore up the government’s defenses against hackers and cyberspies. But privacy advocates monitoring the initiative are already raising concerns about what they know and what they don’t: the details that have trickled out–including the involvement of the National Security Agency–and the veil of classified information that still covers much of the multibillion-dollar project. […]
Though much of the initiative remains classified, news reports that surfaced Friday revealed that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is mulling a plan to build a new version of its intrusion detection system known as Einstein, a software program that monitors all government networks. That new system would be designed to not only detect intrusions, but also preemptively block them, preventing the sorts of cyberspying incidents that have plagued the government and military for more than a decade.
But the plans involve two controversial players: The revamped monitoring technology would largely come from the NSA and initial tests would take place on AT&T’s ( T – news – people ) network, two ideas that bring to mind uncomfortable memories of the warrantless wiretapping programs that rattled civil libertarians under the Bush administration. […]
At issue is whether government monitoring of networks could lead to intrusion in the digital lives of private citizens, whether through monitoring their visits to government Web sites or by blurring the line between government and private networks, privacy advocates argue. Much of the critical infrastructure that President Obama has spoken of protecting, including the power grid and telecommunications, is owned by the private sector.