Sunday, June 14, 2009

Defending Cybersecurity and Protecting Privacy

New initiatives by the Obama administration to protect cyberspace may run up against protecting online privacy, according to this article last week in The New York Times.

The creation of a new cybersecurity command by the Pentagon to do the job may also give the government extra powers to snoop on individual communications over the Internet. The idea is for the Pentagon to beef up its capabilities to fight cybercombat, just as it does with its physical forces on air, sea and land.

Since some of this will also involve taking over cybermonitoring functions of the NSA, which the government initiative hopes will reduce the ongoing turf wars over cyberdefenses, the privacy issue has come to the fore.

Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commented in the article that sovereignty in cyberspace, which is truly global, is difficult to define. Maren Leed, a former Pentagon specialist in cyberoperations and now a defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was also quoted as saying what would be an acceptable intrusion in time of war had to be defined.

But President Obama in his White House speech on the subject last month said, “will not — I repeat, will not — include monitoring private sector networks or Internet traffic.”

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