Personal emails might fall under government inspection

39dcgoogle apple Personal emails might fall under government inspection

Under the cybersecurity directive signed last month by USPresident Barack Obama, “commercial information technologyproducts or consumer information technology services” such asGmail and Facebook aren’t lumped in with the so-called “criticalinfrastructure” entities that are asked to share informationwith the federal government. Now some telecommunication companiesdisagree with that part of the order and say the White House shouldrevamp the language so that these exemptions aren’t exploited byhackers.Calls for changes in the president’s draft come after a wave ofreported cybercrimes have targeted all aspects of the Web, fromsocial media sites to government property. Twitter.com was recently thevictim of a massive security breach, and a highly-touted reportreleased by Northern Virginia security firm Mandiant last monthclaimed that Chinese hackers have infiltrated a number ofDefense Department computers. Even though commercial websitesaren’t included in the executive order’s provision, some say theyshould.“If e-mail went away this afternoon, we would all come to astop,” Marcus Sachs, vice president of national security policyat Verizon Communications Inc., tells Bloomberg News. “Hell yeah, e-mail iscritical.”The president, however, hasn’t considered it as such. Accordingto his order, “critical infrastructure” is defined by “systemsand assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the UnitedStates that the incapacity or destruction of such systems andassets would have a debilitating impact on security, nationaleconomic security, national public health or safety, or anycombination of those matters.”When Pres. Obama announced his directive during last month’sState of the Union address, he said the threatof cyberattacks was growing rapidly and that hackers are stealingpeople’s identities and infiltrating private emails. “Now ourenemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid,our financial institutions, and our air traffic controlsystems,” he said. “We cannot look back years from now andwonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to oursecurity and our economy.”If telecoms have their say, the government will soon be scoopingthrough those emails too. Verizon, the second largest telephonecompany in the United States, isn’t alone in asking for reform onlyweeks after the president’s directive was released.“The nation’s cybersecurity policy framework should bestructured in a way that takes into account the sharedresponsibility of the entire Internet ecosystem,” adds EdAmoroso, chief security officer at AT&T Inc. — the biggest U.S.phone company.Currently, the president’s plan requires only that theadministration establishes a “framework” for privately ownedentities deemed critical to the national infrastructure — such asdefense contractors, utility companies and banks — to voluntarilyshare threat information with the government with ease. Although itdoes not outline a specific plan for putting that data in the handsof the government, the president has assigned a task force todetermine how to do as much in the coming months. Now shouldtelecoms intervene in the process, the info-sharing could spanacross all entities of the Web.“If you’re attacking people, you go for the weakest link andthe weakest link is often some commercial product,” attorneyand former Homeland Security official Stewart Baker adds toBloomberg.The Senate Commerce and Homeland Security Committees arescheduled to meet on Thursday this week to examine the president’sexecutive order and consider their options with passing legislationthat would mandate information sharing across the Web betweenbusinesses and Uncle Sam. And although the executive order does notrequire businesses to share threat information, lawmakers willexamine another proposal this week that will make theseinteractions mandatory. Members of the two committees are alsoscheduled on Thursday to discuss the Cyber Intelligence Sharing andProtection Act, or CISPA, a bill that was introduced during the lastcongressional session but failed to gain footing.During last month’s State of the Union, Pres. Obama said,“Congress must act as well by passing legislation to give ourgovernment a greater capacity to secure our networks and deterattacks.” CISPA was formally introduced only hours later.

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Personal emails might fall under government inspection

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