Risk
10/14/2010
04:10 PM
John Foley
John Foley
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
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
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0972
Published: 2014-08-01
The kgsl graphics driver for the Linux kernel 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, does not properly prevent write access to IOMMU context registers, which allows local users to select a custom page table, and consequently write ...

CVE-2014-2627
Published: 2014-08-01
Unspecified vulnerability in HP NonStop NetBatch G06.14 through G06.32.01, H06 through H06.28, and J06 through J06.17.01 allows remote authenticated users to gain privileges for NetBatch job execution via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3009
Published: 2014-08-01
The GDS component in IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management - Collaborative Edition 10.0 through 11.0 and InfoSphere Master Data Management Server for Product Information Management 9.0 and 9.1 does not properly handle FRAME elements, which makes it easier for remote authenticated users to conduct ph...

CVE-2014-3302
Published: 2014-08-01
user.php in Cisco WebEx Meetings Server 1.5(.1.131) and earlier does not properly implement the token timer for authenticated encryption, which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information via a crafted URL, aka Bug ID CSCuj81708.

CVE-2014-3534
Published: 2014-08-01
arch/s390/kernel/ptrace.c in the Linux kernel before 3.15.8 on the s390 platform does not properly restrict address-space control operations in PTRACE_POKEUSR_AREA requests, which allows local users to obtain read and write access to kernel memory locations, and consequently gain privileges, via a c...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio