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Feb 27 2008   9:23PM GMT

Overheard: Presidential Directive 54

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

andrewgreenberg.jpg After Pentagon officials revealed that cyber-spies had penetrated government servers in June 2007 and stolen untold amounts of sensitive data, government security agencies have tightened security of sensitive federal data.

Andy Greenberg, Bush’s Double-Edged Cyber-Security Plan

In March, the House Committee on Homeland Security plans to hold public hearings on Presidential Directive 54, a project that will expand cyber-monitoring of all federal agencies’ networks. That’s right. We’re already up to PD 54.
According to Mr. Greenbert’s article (above) Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Laura Keehner says the $30 billion monitoring program will be concentrated on the federal networks, although it “will work with the private sector to harden their security.”

When I read this, I couldn’t help but think about AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein describing how the NSA had him installing a dumb splitter to capture communications. So the spokespeople are saying “we’re only monitoring this part” but the technicians installing the monitoring equipment are saying “the stuff we’re using isn’t sophisticated enough to monitor specific communications — we gotta grab it all.”

There’s some kind of irony here. We end up with Big Brother watching and listening to everything we do because our technology isn’t smart enough to be Little Brother.

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