Susanne Posel, Contributor
Last week, “compromise legislation” was brought before the US Senate that will enable federal agencies to assess cyber threats while giving them “permission” to exchange information with corporations “under certain conditions” under the justification of better protecting corporations from cyber-attacks.
Although the threat has not manifested as of yet, President Obama stated that:
. . . foreign governments, criminal syndicates and lone individuals are probing our financial, energy and public safety systems every day. It would be the height of irresponsibility to leave a digital backdoor wide open to our cyber adversaries.
Obama cited an infection where a Texas water plant had to disconnect their control from the Internet in order to save themselves from hackers. Backing up Obama is a report from The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that states they have received 198 “reports” of suspected cyber incidents.
The development of a multi-agency Cybersecurity Council is recommended to mitigate risks to corporations.
Under presidential declaration, the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” and “America’s economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.”
In an executive-inspired report entitled the Cyberspace Policy Review, Obama has created the Cybersecurity office, which works within the National Security Staff to oversee the control over broadband networks that collaborate with all forms of infrastructure; including classified military intelligence, the Internet, local schools and hospitals and domestic businesses.
By seizing control over our digital communications, under the guise of protecting America against cyber threats, information must be shared between “network operators and defenders, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and emergency management officials in the Federal, State, local, and tribal governments, private industry, and allied governments.”
Under Obama’s watchful eye, all digital communications will be syphoned through the Cybersecurity office where it will be monitored for national security threats. A pre-determined “cybersecurity incident response” will be disseminated to facilitate public-private partnerships. Technological advances within the private sector will be used for federal enhancement of strategic management to ensure cybersecurity threats are established and properly dealt with.
Obama demands that the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 is the restrictive measure America needs to protect privacy and civil liberties. However, this legislation will only serve to take those freedoms away.
S3414, the new version of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 repackages the same concerns US citizens should have about the relentless pursuits of the Obama administration to control free flow of information on the Internet.
The compromises include:
- Supposition that civilian agencies will oversee national security systems yet the federal government retains the right to take back this responsibility under threats to national security.\
- Data sharing between law enforcement and corporations be limited to circumstances of evidence of criminal activity which could be the catch-all reason for any justification brought to cybersecurity crime investigators.
- Copyright infringement, immigration status, or unrelated offenses cannot be used against the accused.
- The 1st Amendment is protected and cannot be construed as a “cybersecurity threat.”
While these compromises are now part of the bill, they have exceptions to ensure that the federal agencies involved have designated loopholes with which to conduct their business as usual with concern for the protection of corporate interests and intellectual property. This is accomplished with vague language that can be reinterpreted when the time or circumstances are fortuitous.
In April, Obama announced that his administration would use an executive order and the creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board to control dissension in digital form that gives his administration authorization to sanction foreign nations from voicing protest of US activity in their country.
This control measure could easily be applied to domestic persons designated terrorists by the FBI’s definition; then used against the American people as a measure to combat supporters of human rights violations.
These new endeavors echo the warnings of Senator Ron Wyden, speaking about the CISPA bill back in May. Wyden stated that CISPA creates a cyber-industrial complex that erodes Internet privacy for Americans.
It is a fundamental principle of cyber-security that any network whose failure could result in loss of life or significant property should be physically isolated from the Internet. Unfortunately many of our critical network operators have violated this principle in order to save money or streamline operations. This sort of gross negligence should be the first target in any cyber-security program – not the privacy of individual Americans.
Cyber threats have come from the US government with their most effective Stuxnet and descendent, Flame, as a “digital Pearl Harbor” enacted against the Middle Eastern region in a covert attempt to coerce geopolitical events.
The purposeful sabotage of Iran’s nuclear power plant program has been twisted in the public arena to be revamped by evidence of cyberspying with Flame that Iran is seeking to obtain nuclear weapons. More propaganda is perpetrated by the US Cyber Emergency Response Team which claims that there is no evidence that Flame was used to target industrial complexes in foreign nations.
Yet Flame’s ancestry was discovered by Eugene Kaspersky of the Russian Kaspersky Lab and related at the Global Media and Technology Summit, Kaspersky’s team made the connection between Flame and Stuxnet and the cyberattack on Iran by the US and Israel. Independent researchers have long attributed Stuxnet and Flame to the same cyberattacks and even claimed they are the same virus. Kaspersky’s lab has hard evidence of this fact.
The passage of the CyberSecurity Act of 2012, with or without its “compromises” is an outright usurpation of our digital freedoms by the Obama administration. While the free flow of information continues, the remaking of our Constitutional Republic into a Fascist Dictatorship is a real threat. And that is the central issue with cybersecurity in general.
It is the US government’s control over its citizens lies ahead under such measures.
When America’s ability to share information and expose their tyrannical destruction of our Constitutional freedoms is cut from us, they will have no other threat to speak of . . . other than to maintain their control with the inception of encompassing Big Brother controls that rival anything imagined by Orwell’s 1984.