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March 11, 2009

The battle over cybersecurity

Posted: 11:59 AM ET
Rod Beckstrom, head of the NCSC, resigned last week.
Rod Beckstrom, head of the NCSC, resigned last week.

There's a bureaucratic wrestling match going on over which piece of the federal government will get to handle cybersecurity.

Here's the gist, gleaned from Wired and Forbes' coverage: On one side of the ring, there's the National Security Agency, which is known for its extreme secrecy and its program to wiretap phone conversations of Americans.

On the other, there's the Department of Homeland Security, which now manages computer security. The head of the department's computer security branch resigned last week, complaining that the NSA is trying to steal control of the program.

In his resignation letter to the Department of Homeland Security and in an interview with Forbes on Monday, Rod Beckstrom said consolidating the cybersecurity program under the NSA would put too much power in one agency's hands. Privacy groups are concerned about the NSA taking over the program because of how it handled secret wiretaps of phone conversations.

But the idea does have support. Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair told Congress that the NSA should be in charge rather than Homeland Security.

Cybersecurity is a huge issue - especially since technology is often outpacing our ability to understand all of the implications. Many people want to see a solution that improves security without chilling innovation and openness on the Internet - or infringing on privacy. Others see most any attempt at increased security to be needed.

This post is just a primer, so please weigh in on this issue in the comments. How far should government go to make our computers secure? And which agency should handle that?

Also, check out these cybersecurity tips from Homeland Security.

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Filed under: Internet • Security


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Bill   March 11th, 2009 4:43 pm ET

For those of us that work within the US gov't we know that cybersecurity put into the hands of DHS is like asking Marion Barry to solve the crack problem in DC.


Ira Goldberg   March 11th, 2009 4:43 pm ET

Having worked for the US Government dealing with computer security and having close contacts with the NSA , I do NOT trust them. My position required information from the NSA and getting it was nearly impossible even though I had the necessary clearance and need to know.


Nate   March 11th, 2009 4:44 pm ET

Let the NSA defend the Government and Military and the DHS defend the private sector.


Karl Nemetski   March 11th, 2009 4:45 pm ET

I don't trust the FBI at all.

The NSA and Langley should run the program–Now, those are the guys I trust.

The FBI is stupid when it comes to these things and talks a lot of smack when they need to recognize game.


ASA Vet   March 11th, 2009 4:45 pm ET

Having worked with NSA during Viet Nam, I would rather have them working on cyber securtiy than a bunch of TSA baggage clerks investigate cyber security issues.


Ichigo   March 11th, 2009 4:47 pm ET

Cyber attacks are the next likely avenue for any terrorist interested in a high yield low cost (low risk) attack. The idea that one agency thinks it can handle this alone is... amusing.

Why? Because we'll only have one group to blame when it happens.

Not if... when.

The only reason nothing has happened is because those capable (FYI – cyber intrusions are already occuring at dangerous levels) of inflicting the damage have chosen not to.

Just a matter of time. Consolidating power is opposite of how technology behaves... that should be your true red flag.

Politics over reality. That's your real story.


Pat Lefemine   March 11th, 2009 4:51 pm ET

As a CISO with a Fortune 500, I really don't care who gets to own it so long as they can improve the "F" Grade the federal government received on information security. My guess is a good team of ethical hackers could take them apart fairly quickly and not all of what's required to secure cyber initiatives are rocket science. If the NSA can do it better than DHS, go for it. I've been unimpressed with anything I've seen come from the Feds on Infosec and my peers feel the same as I do.

Pat Lefemine


Jack   March 11th, 2009 4:54 pm ET

Who was in charge before they created Department ofHomeland Security? National Security Agency that's who Talk about to much control, look at the agencies under Homeland Security


What?   March 11th, 2009 4:59 pm ET

Transparency in national security? Would you make it more transparent to Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, who?


Miles   March 11th, 2009 4:59 pm ET

DHS may lack some transparency, but NSA is a black box which is totally resistant to oversight. NSA may have more technical skill, but if there's one thing we've learned in the last 8 years, it's that:

We need to use agencies that are ACCOUNTABLE whenever possible.

That would not be the NSA - even their budget is secret and known to only a few lawmakers!


Franko   March 11th, 2009 5:00 pm ET

Terrorized by worms trojans, clickjackers, viruses, spammers.
US government knows, but the current state of confusion is convenient

Collect all data, no matter how, is a goal, to total government control
If US law forbids, then Britain, Canada Mexico ... can collect for US

Microsoft certified software - is that reassurance ?
Poision Apple, Linux ? NSA needs to produce a safe operating system !


Da Professor   March 11th, 2009 5:05 pm ET

I have to agree with Chris who said:

"This post is stupid, because, clearly no one knows anything about either agency or how they operate. We vote, so others can make these decisions for us. The government has the american people’s best interest ahead of anything else."

We can only hope you are right Chris. Most of the people that post and comment haven't got a clue what the question is let alone the answer to the question.


mpp   March 11th, 2009 5:07 pm ET

NSA needs to have control of this area. Homeland does not have the breadth and depth of experience necessary to control, implement and manage cyber security for the nation against all threats foreign and domestic. Were there to be a splitting of the program into foreign and domestic cyber security areas, then I would advocate for domestic to be handled by the FBI while foreign would still be the purview of NSA. Homeland could serve as a point of confluence or facilitator/overseer to ensure all departments were all on the same page. It is critical to have all departments in the same loop so that adjustments to our nation's security posture can occur expeditiously when warranted.


Da Professor   March 11th, 2009 5:08 pm ET

Then again Chris ... We could go out and hire a guy that used to run a horse farm to run FEMA, or in this case Internet Security. That, as you recall, is what Bush did and what a terrific job he did at FEMA. BUT, boy, was he a loyal Bush fan.


Dan   March 11th, 2009 5:10 pm ET

The questions I ponder about this article; why do both agencies still exist? Shouldn't the NSA be reporting to the DHS or visa-versa? Since both have the responsibility to protect us, this to me is just another example of wasteful overlap of bureaucracy. Secondly, shouldn’t the top dogs of these agencies have a higher level of maturity? Sounds to me like the dude who quit his job because he feels a little competition is a big cry baby. In the real world, top dogs deal with these types of issues all day long. I say, "good riddance". Let’s get someone in there who knows how to deal with being a top dog. Hopefully its someone who is out of diapers.


dizizcamron   March 11th, 2009 5:16 pm ET

the idea that the gov has our best interests at heart is ridiculous. the concerns over the NSA taking on cybercrime are due to the fact that they have made egregious (although white house sanctioned) violations of the civil rights of american citizens. Warrantless wiretapping is most of what we have heard about, and therefore is probably only a small indication of how much they have intruded into the lives of US citizens. The rational here being that the ends justify the means when it comes to protecting the homeland. But the ends can always be argued to justify the means.

its a fact that no matter how much a gov organization infringes on the rights of americans, we will still be vulnerable to a terrorist attack. We can never be totally safe. This is the cost of living free. These points are even more true in the ethereal world of the internet. Our country is founded on the principle of "give me liberty or give me death", not 'give me liberty unless something scary happens.'

if we're not brave enough to risk our safety for our liberty, privacy, and freedom we might as well pack up and go home.


Richard Snider   March 11th, 2009 5:16 pm ET

Wow, I was impressed with Don's comments. He definitely has a better grasp of the issue than most of the public, including myself.

I just wish to second his comments.


matt   March 11th, 2009 5:25 pm ET

The department of Homeland Security, for sure. The NSA is resistant to oversight, and there's zero transparency most of the time. Homeland Security is far better from an ideological standpoint. Plus there are fewer misanthropic nuts in the Dept. of Homeland Security.


Imhotep   March 11th, 2009 5:37 pm ET

The seperate operations need to be united. Under a Sec. of Tech Then a new group of tech "alpha geeks" need to work within the American controlled networks to identify and eliminate threats. Basic control of routers, for the purpose of identifying botnet computers and the transmission of viruses, should be given to this group.


Light   March 11th, 2009 5:40 pm ET

This is a defense Issue. It should remain under the defense department. The air force, and navy already conduct cyber security operations. why should this be moved to the public sector? The last thing we need is burecrats making decisions in a time of war. we need to keep the intelligence within the defense agencies I'm tired of this tug-of-war over information it is exactly what caused 9/11.


Franko   March 11th, 2009 5:41 pm ET

We need a priest superhero, who will newer reveal your secrets
Final judged are you - Just secure messaged the Grim Reaper in Hell ?


Daniel   March 11th, 2009 5:49 pm ET

The NSA is best equipped to handle the cyber-security issue at this time. Everyone thinks big brother will just come in and take over but I find that less likely. We need cyberspace to be protected under a single entity. We need to take a hard look at who can best accomplish the goal and the NSA is clearly ready. Any over site, or protocols agreed upon are much better when a single agency is tasked with the job. Right now there are three or four, lets not forget the CIA which all have their hands in it somewhere. Everyone has different rules, and focus on what they are doing. We need to align to programs and goals. Even if we keep them split between two or even three agencies if they all play by the same ground rules and have methods of communication between them we can actually make a difference.


Scott C   March 11th, 2009 5:58 pm ET

To the DHS, FBI, CIA, NSA, and American cowards who support the (SO CALLED) USA PATRIOT ACT (ILLEGAL!), before you get carried away:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

What is the point of all this surveillance if we do not have liberty? What are our brave fighting men and women dying for? I don't care how many times we are attacked; only COWARDS support marginalized civil liberties for the sake of pseudo safety and a BIG BROTHER police state. How dare you raise your children to be cowards in the home of the brave!


Rob   March 11th, 2009 5:59 pm ET

I have worked at both NSA and DHS. While at NSA, I was taking a class on how to mine for information from a database. I was instructed to put in a couple of key words and to review the results. About a week later, my boss called me into his office – I was asked to explain why I was searching on these key words – as I was not an analyst for that 'area'. You may believe all what you want about the press but I worked there. People do NOT just go around prying into other peoples privacy. Do the math, there just isn't enough analysts in the US to do what many of you believe is possible. No way.

While at DHS I worked at the Operations Center as a contractor. I had three different computer accounts. I had to go work at another agency for a different contract and approximately 8 months later I was asked to go back to DHS. I am also a computer security professional. After 8 months, my accounts should have been disabled. However, when I came back I tried a little 'experiment'. I logged in using my prior credentials. I had approximately unread 18,000 emails spread out in my three accounts.

DHS does NOT have clue on how to manage computer security. NSA does. DHS has been around for a few years as was the result of many agencies throwing out their trash workers. NSA is an incredibly profession organization that hires the brightest and best minds in America. If you want computer security, stick with a proven winner. NSA knows how to secure computers, DHS knows how to waste money....


Pop   March 11th, 2009 6:02 pm ET

What difference will it make? Either way, any large bureaucratic agency would be unable to keep up with the pace of technology change the way small groups of cyberterrorists could.

Secondly, the American people will be unhappy regardless. If the agency charged with protecting us reads a suspect's email and prevents hundreds or thousands from being killed people will complain they weren't authorized to read the email.

If innocents die because the agency didn't see an attack coming those same people will complain that they should have known and "connected the dots."

Both have already happened.


Forcemaster2000   March 11th, 2009 6:19 pm ET

The U.S. takes the approach that the internet is "American". It's not, it's a global entity, and only a global response to anything about it would work!


Anonymous Soldier   March 11th, 2009 6:22 pm ET

We're talking about trusting the Government here... Think about that. The framers of our Constitution were very clear on the issue of "trust" when it comes to goverment. The Constitution was written the way it was to limit the governments power to oppress it's own people (potentially or directly), that's the purpose behind checks and balances in our system of government. From what I can see, centralizing anything (or any program) to one government agency is a very VERY dangerous thing. Especially one like the super-secretive NSA, which already monitors us without need of warrants. Supporters of this kind of thing are leading the people down a very dark path and should consider history (ours and other nations) when supporting things like this. It's understandable the need to monitor what's said/done on the internet, because we as a nation have to defend ourselves. That is the "true role" of government... to protect it's people. To sum it up, this needs to be done by multiple agencies, at a minimum 2. Both watching us, and each other... while at the same time, working together to ensure the primary goal of providing security. It makes for bigger government (sigh...), but protection of freedom is of utmost importance even when the nation as a whole is under attack (we are almost daily whether it makes the news or not). Regardless of what happens, when we (willingly or unwillingly) give up our Constitutional Freedoms, we are setting the course for the eventual demise of our great nation. It's hard to tell, but the damage may already have been done.


SOMEONE WHO KNOWS   March 11th, 2009 6:45 pm ET

Most of the people in this discussion have no idea what they are talking about. All the people saying that the privacy will be or has been violated get real. The only phones that got or get monitored were those known to have or believed to have ties to terrorist end of story. They weren't listening to you talk about your sex life or how much you hate your boss. We don't have that kind of manpower to listen to every call. The same goes with cybersecurity we don't care that you are looking at porn or chatting up someone in a chat room the things they are worried about are threats to government systems that hold potential national security info. They only care about attacks on government systems end of story. Here is an idea if you don't want to pop up on the NSA's radar don't try to hack NASA to see if aliens are real. The only people that will get any adverse effects will be those that try to hack into government systems. The NSA or DoHS care about our great nations security and keeping classified stuff out of our enemy's (foreign and domestic) hands end of story. Stop watching spy movies if they are going to make you paranoid. GET A LIFE.


Franko   March 11th, 2009 11:29 pm ET

"How NSA access was built into Windows"
http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/5/5263/1.html
Every keystroke you make, every link you click, we will be watching you

Visibly, In times of emergency, or war,
The government controls all communications from a central point
In times of calm and peace, just monitors and traces everything


retired intel guy   March 11th, 2009 11:49 pm ET

This is a complex issue with at least two important aspects –1) technical expertise and 2) action whether in or outside the court.

1) NSA is by far the preeminent technical powerhouse in cyber security. The Fort Meade folks have been doing it for dcades and are the Big Leagues. Homeland Security is the new kid on the block technically and cannot compete.

2) From the all-up-front in court point of view, NSA probably has some shortcomings. DHS is probably as pure as Caesar's wife, but maybe not real effective.

Bottomline–why not share the load? Let NSA do the technical research and hand off ANY active measures, legal or techncal to DHS for action.


Mike R.   March 12th, 2009 1:21 am ET

The NSA "is responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, which involves a significant amount of cryptanalysis" (quoted from Wikipedia). This also includes any communication between the U.S. and any foreign country.

By this definition, the NSA does not have the authority nor the necessary tools to effectively handle cybersecurity with regards to the average american user of the computer and internet.

On the other hand, the bozos at Homeland Security installed a homogenous computing system (a company in Redmond, Washington who's best ideas are to copy other's innovations) and pretend the they are not hacked or are bombarded with all kinds of malware and virus.

OK, the true is neither organization is equipped to handle cybersecurity because it is a global issue and requires up-to-date, dedicated, cybersecurity experts who need the ability to work with U.S. and foreign agencies to quickly and effectively neutralize, capture and prosecute cyber criminals and organizations (including foreign governments).

There also in to be continuous information and updates directly to our lawmakers, so they don't try to create outdated and /or stupid unenforceable laws (like the ignorant politicians from Texas who think it is a good idea to require every American household (and business) that uses a wireless or DHCP router [that pretty much everyone who has a network] to track every computer, device and person using it for 2 years) .

You also need to make it as transparent as possible to the end user who needs it to be easy to use, safe for children (yes Utah, parenting is a lost art), and has the security to protect identity and fiances.

Let's see... We need a group of cybersecurity experts with equal authority to just about every law enforcement agency in the world, has worldwide prosecutorial abilities, who teach lawmakers to make informed and foresightful legislation as well as work with software and hardware vendors to provide the end user the tools needed.

What am I missing? Are the Watchmen available?


Matthew   March 12th, 2009 1:23 am ET

Cybersecurity is a component of ensuring several aspects. Defense, Business, and Law.

Defense: As it is the USAF is in charge, as it has been, to secure all terrestrial and space based cyberlogistical systems and infrastructure. The NSA does an AMAZING job at what they do, but they are NOT a front line public service or branch of the Justice Department. USAF should harden us against military scale attacks and work with FBI Cyber crimes to prosecute LAWs against criminal actions.

Law: Well the FBI Cybercrimes unit could sure use the cashola that would be the result of this. Homeland Security is one of the shabbiest operations I have ever had the displeasure to tour. They are ill equipped to handle the threat of Drugs, Chem, Bio or Nuke attacks at our shores and borders as it is. FBI is a component of the Justice Department and answers to the people of the United States. I vote THEY become the MAIN focal point for domestic cybersecurity.

Business: The more shadow agencies start to mask their operations due to "National Security" the sooner it will be the black vans start sweeping up housewives for complaining about Senators and the price of meat at the super market. The last thing we need is a bunch of gun toting, power drunk, super nerds calling everyone CYBER TERRORISTS who dissed them in high school.

In conclusion: NSA has a job already and so does Homeland Security – they should stick to them! The FBI and the USAF have a VERY clear cut picture of what is needed and are meeting these needs already. Checks and balances people – checks and balances.

Ben Franklin said, "The instant you are willing to sacrifice LIBERTY for SECURITY .... YOU HAVE LOST BOTH!"


Unshaven   March 12th, 2009 6:08 am ET

The NSA is just a bunch of cronies who are buddies with Bush and Cheney. They should have much less power than more. We all know how this bunch of phantoms in the NSA operate. They think they are above the law, and they will do anything illegal or underhanded to achieve their clandestine objectives. No, we do NOT need the NSA to have more power. Actually they should be cleansed of the far right Bush buddies. Cybersecurity should be a separate operation reporting only to the joint chiefs of staff and the prez. So the bosses at homeland and the fbi can't interfere, which they will.


DENNIS   March 12th, 2009 8:01 am ET

I PERSONALLY DON'T WANT ANYMORE GOVERNMENT INTRUSION IN MY LIFE. ESPECIALLY THE NSA OR THE HOMELAND SECURITY PEOPLE. I BELIEVE WE HAVE MANY INDEPENDENT PRIVATELY OWNED FIRMS THAT COULD HANDLE THIS ISSUE WITHOUT IMPOSING THEMSELVES ON MY PRIVACY. NOBODY, IN MY OPINION, HAS A RIGHT TO SNOOP INTO MY LIFE AND MAKE DECISIONS BASED ON WHAT I DO ON MY COMPUTER, IN MY HOME. THESE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ARE TRYING TO CONTROL EVERY ASPECT OF OUR LIVES. I BELIEVE IT IS A VERY BAD IDEA TO GIVE THEM THIS KIND OF ACCESS. YES, KEEP AN EYE ON THE KNOWN HACKERS AND THOSE WHO MALICIOUSLY PUT VIRUS' OUT THERE ON THE WEB, BUT DON'T MONITOR MY DAILY ACTIVITIES. IN OTHER, CATCH THE CRIMINALS NOT THE INNOCENT.


Geoff Tennille   March 12th, 2009 8:50 am ET

There is a common misconception that cybersecurity is costly and invasive. The cost of world class cybersecurity for a Federal agency is much less than the cost of one serious compromise. Cybersecurity is actually an enabler of collaberation.

I retired as the Information Technology Manager for a large federal installation and have numerous certifications, including some from NSA, in cybersecurity. The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has provided policy for the protection of sensitive but unclassified information for all Agencies, with leeway for each Agency to tailor its security policy according to its needs.

There are four fundamental problems. First, employees view the computer as personal property even though it has a tag identifying it as the property of the agency (or government contractor). Second, managers don't take security seriously, which leads to underfunding and noncompliance. Third, violators of policies that result in compromises are are rarely punished. Fourth, Inspector Generals at the various agencies have not adequately trained their personel in how to conduct audits and generally have too few personnel to investigate cybercrimes.

One solution to the funding problem is the dreaded earmark. Each Agency should be required to spend a percentage of its budget on cybersecurity, to include as a minimum virus and spyware protection: intrusion detection' firewalls; automated security updates; encryption technology; vulnerability/penetration testing; and the preparation and maintenace of strong security and disaster recovery plans for its computer systems. Cybersecurity for each Agency should also be exempted from automatic across-the-board Agency budget cuts.

The remaining problems are basically enforcement issues. I believe that the most economical solution would be to enlarge the staff of each Agency's Inspector General (IG), provide the staff with adequate training and give the IG the authority to enforce policies and institute adverse actions against flagrant violators.

Using Mac computers doesn't solve many problems, since most Macs now run a version of UNIX and also emulate the Windows environment to support common office applications, leaving them vulnerable to both UNIX and Windows vulnerabilities, unless the computer is properly maintained.


Ed Chaffin   March 12th, 2009 9:25 am ET

The U.S. is already behind the power curve as far as cybersecurity is concerned, Russia and China have already launched cyber attacks the U.S. and other countries. This is no time to be trying to teach Homeland Security what needs to be done to prevent it when NSA has the expertise, and has had for decades, to protect us. I'm not worried about NSA, or anyone else for that matter, reading my mail. They would probably find it rather boring. Our first priority should be the security of our nation's cyber systems.


Baraka   March 12th, 2009 9:58 am ET

The National Security Agency has long been involved with the computer security research community via the agencys Information Assurance program. The NSA has been working on a software-based security mechanism for operating systems called FLASK. This particular security architecture has been implemented in Linux and the hope is that it will ultimately be implemented on other more popular consumer operating systems. I believe the question of whether they should handle cybersecurity is not the correct one; they already are involved. We should be thinking more along the lines of increased oversight by Congress and the Director of National Intelligence.


Bob   March 12th, 2009 10:00 am ET

Since the Office of the Director for National Intelligence already 'owns' the National CounterTerrorism Center (NCTC) and the National CounterProliferation Center (NCPC), it only makes sense to dispense with the Agency infighting between NSA (DoD) & DHS and kick the NCSC up a notch, placing it under the ODNI.


Mike   March 12th, 2009 10:29 am ET

I don't get it.

I thought the Department of Homeland Security was SUPPOSED to be the clearing house for all security related information. DHS was created because we ALREADY had little fiefdoms that wouldn't share their respective informations nicely with other agencies. The result of this debacle lead up to 9/11.

It is true that the NSA has their own set of secrets that they keep (and SHOULD keep, such as crypto code development and breaking), but IMHO the rules have already been written. To take away key responsibilities from DHS is setting the clock backwards and should not be allowed. Otherwise we will have 9/11: The Sequel.


Franko   March 12th, 2009 3:27 pm ET

There is a disconnect between the government and the governed
Each wants to spy on the other, while preserving their privacy

Let the “responsible men” (bankers ?) rule without interference from
“ignorant and meddlesome outsiders” (the voters)


Anonymous Soldier   March 12th, 2009 9:18 pm ET

In response to "Someone who knows." No need for paranoia here... it's really not necessary, but caution is... While some of what you say is true... I think we both know (if you truly are in the "know") that this kind of access to our personal lives/information is an open door for those who want to use it. Albeit it’s being gathered for "national security" reasons; it has been used in the past for ulterior motives, completely unrelated to national security by those who have the "access" against those who don’t. These types of situations were created in part because one party was enabled to do what they want, when they wanted, and there was little or no oversight. No checks and balances. In short, don't piss the wrong people off... right? Ever wonder why classified information is compartmentalized? (I’ll give you a hint: it’s to prevent oversight by creating natural barriers to what can be exposed. It’s also to prevent any one party from having access to too much information and putting the pieces of the puzzle together, thereby taking advantage of the information they have access too. It’s a method of control.) Our personal lives and activities are not necessary information for government “spoofs” to have access to without being under the eye of some kind of scrutiny. True, the spoofs aren’t interested in what you do in your personal life, but others are… (Perhaps it really is a good idea to put GPS tracking devices on all of our children after all! That way we’ll always know where they are… Ah… don’t worry about those pesky child molesters out there… there’s not that many, and we know who they all are, and where they are right? Being sarcastic here…) Private information is not essential for national security purposes. But that same information can be very dangerous in the wrong hands if used against you on a personal or professional level thru blackmail or other coercive measures. THUS, the necessity and reason behind "Checks and Balances." This is OUR protection, built into the governmental system. Though not perfect; it’s absolutely necessary because it creates a potential for exposure of abuses within the system. And that’s really the point here… turning the "watcher" into the "watched." When one knows they are being watched, they act differently than when they believe they aren't. Government must always be under the eye of scrutiny. If you are abdicating "no need" for checks and balances, then the natural question would be "Hmm... Why not? And what’s your place in this?" Hard to justify an answer to that one, eh? Especially if you are “in the know.” No one in the world does better Intel collection and analysis than the US Government, it’s something to be very proud of… yet at the same time that power needs to be respected and kept under control. Lest it be used against us (it’s own people). Checks and Balances are one of those forms of control. It would be nice if we really did live in a world where we could all "just get along" and trust each other, but that's just not realistic. Especially when it comes to government. Call it paranoia or whatever you want. I work for government, and have been in situations where I’ve see it from the inside. Corruption still exists, and always will... and there will always be a need to root it out like the cancer that it is. Problem is, it’s not always so “Black and White.” There’s lots of gray… There’s always a way to “justify a need to know something,” it’s all in how it’s done. Yet it cannot be done, if the information is not available to the user. Great quote provided by Matthew from Ben Franklin. It really says it all. “The instant you are willing to sacrifice LIBERTY for SECURITY …. YOU HAVE LOST BOTH!” Never sacrifice LIBERTY… Long live the Constitution!


Anonymous Soldier   March 12th, 2009 9:21 pm ET

Oh yeah... forgot... More acronyms... we need more acronyms!!!


Franko   March 13th, 2009 4:59 am ET

"They weren’t listening to you talk about your sex life "
Repressed perverts, or exemplory sexual adjustment and development,
What is the secret ? - NSA, CIA, FBI, not enjoying U$ culture ?
Only watch Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian Porn ?
"The CIA is tracking all your porn printouts"
"Yes, your printer is spying on you"
“NSA access was built into Windows”

Actually. the spooks do take security oaths, not to divulge.
But, sometimes, they are not perfect, - forget to shred their memories
Blurt out details, of listening in on Osama's satelluite phone
Monitoring Iran's secret internal communications etc.
There is extra to be made freelancing; John Walker spying for the Soviets

Perhaps, a requirement for the spooks, is not a drug test,
but free drugs, in the form of all you can drink, before leaving work


Andrew Vedeler   March 16th, 2009 9:16 am ET

Cyber Security should be spread over DHS, NSA, and FBI and they should all work together. Each agency has their own strengths and weaknesses and they should work together to bring everything together.


Scott   March 16th, 2009 2:12 pm ET

Having all the security under one roof makes sense. There is far too much comeptiton and lack of cooperation between agencies even post 9/11. We might have been able to avoid 9/11 id agancies did a better job of sharing info which they have shown unable to do time and time again.


Franko   March 16th, 2009 3:41 pm ET

From your VISA, printer, Googlings, Windows, RFID tires, RFID shoes,
Internet devices, Cell Phone GPS, IRS, Facial recognition cameras
Under the thumb of responsible men, We will be watching and listening to you

To be useful, for extreme accurate profiling; All the data tied together
Restoring confidence in the U$, via the Obama Bailout RFID logo ?

You will be pre-emtively profiled, before boarding a plane; - Sorry Sir, but you match the profile of a person who throws up on the plane's carpet.


aaron   March 21st, 2009 1:50 am ET

cybersecurity shouldn't be done by government at all. At the end of the day all threats come from private industry therefore private industry should be responsible for the quality of software. There is nothing the government can do to prevent malware or poorly written software. And if the NSA starts deciding what information gets out and what doesn't, well you'll only have an even more advanced wiretapping network....


Franko   March 22nd, 2009 12:12 am ET

People do not want to be spied upon – want privacy
The government, to catch Osama, needs to scan your hard drive
Every connection, every device, has to be logged and analysed
Sony, to protect it's property, needs to install Digital Rights Management
Microsoft needs to make your screen go black, if you did not pay up
NSA had (has ? ) – trapdoor into windows – printers have secret codes
Add the "criminal" organization trojans, bogans, gargoyles, clickjacks

Lucky, my computer has the occasional CPU cycle to scan the keyboard


grease   March 22nd, 2009 6:05 pm ET

Outsource it to India - judging by the level of comments on this blog there is no one left in the US capable of doing this task...


Franko   March 23rd, 2009 2:20 pm ET

The Comissars, running Commie Gulags, set standards of secracy and security - code words, barbed wire - we need to protect from Osama


Rita   May 13th, 2013 11:24 am ET

It's difficult to find well-informed people for this subject, but you sound like you know what you're
talking about! Thanks


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