Risk
10/14/2010
04:10 PM
John Foley
John Foley
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

The Case For Wiretapping The Internet

The directors of National Intelligence and the FBI say tech-savvy extremists pose a growing threat, setting the stage for a national debate over the need for Internet eavesdropping.

Despite that growing threat, Mueller noted the challenge of meeting court-ordered communications "intercepts" during FBI investigations. In some cases, communications providers are unable to provide the electronic communications sought in a court order, in part because they're not required to build or maintain the capabilities to do so.

"Critical laws covering this area have not been updated since 1994, when we moved from a copper-wire phone system to digital networks and cell phones, but of course, technology has expanded exponentially in the past 16 years," Mueller said. "We want to ensure that our ability to intercept communications is not eroded by advances in technology—technology we all rely on to communicate." You can read Mueller's speech here.

We're fast approaching a point that will determine how, and how effectively, U.S. intelligence agencies will be able to tap into the din of terrorist chatter that travels over 21st century networks. According to the New York Times, new wiretapping legislation, described as "sweeping" in scope, will be submitted to lawmakers for action next year.

The challenge is to enable the mission of the U.S. Intelligence Community without compromising the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. Clapper and Mueller both voice a strong commitment to meeting that requirement. Says Mueller, "If we safeguard our civil liberties, but leave our country vulnerable to a terrorist attack, we have lost. If we protect America from terrorism, but sacrifice civil liberties, we have also lost. We must work to strike that balance, every day, in every case."

Seeking balance in the form of legislation will get contentious. Security expert Bruce Schneier, the chief security technology officer for BT, has already denounced the White House plan, and many of his readers are similarly critical and skeptical.

The status quo carries its own risks. Clapper says the number and pace of terrorist attempts in the U.S. by al-Qaida and its affiliates were at an all-time high during the past year. Among all the tough choices, inaction may be the worst.

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Latest Comment: nice post
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-1750
Published: 2015-07-01
Open redirect vulnerability in nokia-mapsplaces.php in the Nokia Maps & Places plugin 1.6.6 for WordPress allows remote attackers to redirect users to arbitrary web sites and conduct phishing attacks via a URL in the href parameter to page/place.html. NOTE: this was originally reported as cross-sit...

CVE-2014-1836
Published: 2015-07-01
Absolute path traversal vulnerability in htdocs/libraries/image-editor/image-edit.php in ImpressCMS before 1.3.6 allows remote attackers to delete arbitrary files via a full pathname in the image_path parameter in a cancel action.

CVE-2015-0848
Published: 2015-07-01
Heap-based buffer overflow in libwmf 0.2.8.4 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted BMP image.

CVE-2015-1330
Published: 2015-07-01
unattended-upgrades before 0.86.1 does not properly authenticate packages when the (1) force-confold or (2) force-confnew dpkg options are enabled in the DPkg::Options::* apt configuration, which allows remote man-in-the-middle attackers to upload and execute arbitrary packages via unspecified vecto...

CVE-2015-1950
Published: 2015-07-01
IBM PowerVC Standard Edition 1.2.2.1 through 1.2.2.2 does not require authentication for access to the Python interpreter with nova credentials, which allows KVM guest OS users to discover certain PowerVC credentials and bypass intended access restrictions via unspecified Python code.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Marc Spitler, co-author of the Verizon DBIR will share some of the lesser-known but most intriguing tidbits from the massive report