(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

Archive for June 20th, 2010

Napolitano: Internet Monitoring Needed to Fight Homegrown Terrorism

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fox news

Napolitano: Internet Monitoring Needed to Fight Homegrown Terrorism

Published June 18, 2010

|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Fighting homegrown terrorism by monitoring Internet communications is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security, the nation’s homeland security chief said Friday.

As terrorists increasingly recruit U.S. citizens, the government needs to constantly balance Americans’ civil rights and privacy with the need to keep people safe, said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

But finding that balance has become more complex as homegrown terrorists have used the Internet to reach out to extremists abroad for inspiration and training. Those contacts have spurred a recent rash of U.S.-based terror plots and incidents.

“The First Amendment protects radical opinions, but we need the legal tools to do things like monitor the recruitment of terrorists via the Internet,” Napolitano told a gathering of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

Napolitano’s comments suggest an effort by the Obama administration to reach out to its more liberal, Democratic constituencies to assuage fears that terrorist worries will lead to the erosion of civil rights.

The administration has faced a number of civil liberties and privacy challenges in recent months as it has tried to increase airport security by adding full-body scanners, or track suspected terrorists traveling into the United States from other countries.

“Her speech is sign of the maturing of the administration on this issue,” said Stewart Baker, former undersecretary for policy with the Department of Homeland Security. “They now appreciate the risks and the trade-offs much more clearly than when they first arrived, and to their credit, they’ve adjusted their preconceptions.”

Underscoring her comments are a number of recent terror attacks over the past year where legal U.S. residents such as Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad and accused Fort Hood, Texas, shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, are believed to have been inspired by the Internet postings of violent Islamic extremists.

And the fact that these are U.S. citizens or legal residents raises many legal and constitutional questions.

Napolitano said it is wrong to believe that if security is embraced, liberty is sacrificed.

She added, “We can significantly advance security without having a deleterious impact on individual rights in most instances. At the same time, there are situations where trade-offs are inevitable.”

As an example, she noted the struggle to use full-body scanners at airports caused worries that they would invade people’s privacy.

The scanners are useful in identifying explosives or other nonmetal weapons that ordinary metal-detectors might miss — such as the explosives that authorities said were successfully brought on board the Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He is accused of trying to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear, but the explosives failed, and only burned Abdulmutallab.

U.S. officials, said Napolitano, have worked to institute a number of restrictions on the scanners’ use in order to minimize that. The scans cannot be saved or stored on the machines by the operator, and Transportation Security Agency workers can’t have phones or cameras that could capture the scan when near the machine

Umm Janet? Yeah, uh, do you have a clue? I didn’t think so.. Would you like to buy one? Look, we all know in the infosec field that you are basically trying to dress up a massive surveillance vacuum program to look all friendly like and harmless. Just how do you propose to “monitor” all these comm’s without just setting up a huge digital driftnet like the NARUS systems in the MAE’s?

We already monitor many of the jihadist websites and chat rooms etc now, so what else would you suggest we do to catch these guys? The only thing I can think of would be to have a searchable (on the fly) database of emails, chats, and all other communications online captured by something like the NARUS STA6400 or its progeny. Something that would just be doing a DPI type of inspection process of ALL traffic to flag for an analyst to look at and pass on.. Gee.. Where have I heard that before.. Hmm ECHELON perhaps? C’mon! This has been being done by the NSA for YEARS!

I have an idea.. Why don’t you call Fort Meade huh?

Here.. I have the phone number for you: 410-674-7170 Ask for DIRNSA.. Phonetically DUR-N-SA

Maybe they can lead you to understanding of the problem and the solution.. A solution they already have and I am sure are NOT willing to share with you.. But, you can at least try.

Frankly, I fear that you Janet, and the DHS, are clearly incompetent in the field of INFOSEC/HACKING/CYBERSEC as well as do not have a mandate, funding, nor staff to really deal with this issue properly. So, uhh yeah, why not just forget about it? Perhaps you should just leave it up to the NSA hmm?

Oh, and yeah, I am not “for” all of this hoovering of the internet’s traffic as a means to an end on “home grown” jihad. I am instead a realist and know that this is how it is. Of course there is an immense amount of data that is passing through the internet every second of every day, so not all of the bad guys can be caught. I also know that much of that data is in the clear and is in fact our every day email that could be spied upon and we have a real privacy issue here… But, what can I do about it huh?

Well, I can at least say that lets leave it to the professionals at the NSA and not in your completely incompetent hands at DHS.



Written by Krypt3ia

2010/06/20 at 10:44