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Congress And Its Cyber Crusade

April 9, 2012 by  

Congress And Its Cyber Crusade
Several proposed Congressional bills would expand the government’s role in monitoring the Internet.

Richard Clarke, former cybersecurity adviser to the liberty-chilling George W. Bush Administration, has an idea for lawmakers who are constantly debating ways to avert cyberattacks: a sort of Internet border patrol.

In a New York Times opinion piece entitled “How China Steals Our Secrets,” Clarke espouses the idea that the biggest threat to the cybersecurity of the Federal government and American business comes from China.

Clarke’s piece was published just days after a Congressional panel heard testimony about a 10-year, $1 billion research program that was copied by hackers in a single night. U.S. Cyber Command Chief Gen. Keith B. Alexander called the crime at the time “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.”

Clarke contends that bigger attacks are on the way and warns that hackers handing secrets to the Chinese jeopardizes the Nation’s global “competitive edge.” Many private firms are already unknowingly being hacked by outside users with unauthorized access, and the next major cybercrime could already be on the horizon, according to his writing.

The author seemingly goes on to suggest that recent wildly unpopular cybersecurity bills proposed by Congress failed because of lawmaker inaction, but fails to mention the widespread public outcry against the measures. Since Congress has not moved forward with any measures, Clarke believes that the Administration of Barack Obama should step in. He urges the Administration to toss aside fears of “a negative reaction from privacy-rights and Internet-freedom advocates who do not want the government scanning Internet traffic.”

Clarke lays out a plan as follows:

Under Customs authority, the Department of Homeland Security could inspect what enters and exits the United States in cyberspace. Customs already looks online for child pornography crossing our virtual borders. And under the Intelligence Act, the president could issue a finding that would authorize agencies to scan Internet traffic outside the United States and seize sensitive files stolen from within our borders.

The author contends that privacy rights would be protected if the initiative were carried out in such a way because the President could appoint an “empowered privacy advocate” to keep DHS from abusing the power.

Clarke’s idea is still a suggestion to lawmakers at this point. But Congress is already working on several initiatives to further entwine government intelligence and the Internet.

A bill currently gaining Congressional support called CISPA, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 3523), would give government officials the power to pry into the personal correspondence of anyone they choose.

The bill, introduced in the House in 2011 by Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), broadly defines information that can be snooped by government agencies with the help of service providers as “information directly pertaining to a vulnerability of, or threat to a system or network.” The Electronic Freedom Foundation contends that the bill essentially hands the Internet over to the military intelligence community.

Another House cyber security bill — The Precise Act (H.R 3674), sponsored by Representative Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) — has also raised concerns among some Internet privacy advocates. Though Lungren’s initiative more narrowly defines what activities could be considered threatening, it calls for Internet service providers to monitor their subscribers’ communications.

The House has designated the week of April 23 “cyber security week,” and may vote on both aforementioned bills.

Similar bills are also currently in the Senate. One introduced in February by Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) — The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 2105) — would direct DHS to snoop information on the Internet in the same way that CISPA does. In March, Senator John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) Strengthening and Enhancing Cybersecurity by Using Research, Education, Information, and Technology Act of 2012 (S. 2151) was also introduced to the Senate. It contains cybersecurity proposals similar to the other bills mentioned.  The Senate is expected to vote on the bills in May.

The latest round of cybersecurity legislation initiatives haven’t received as much negative attention as SOPA and PIPA did earlier in the year, but technology privacy experts warn that they are just as dangerous to online privacy.

“[If] you look at most of these bills closely, you’ll see that there are extraordinarily complex civil liberties problems in virtually every one of these bills,” said Leslie Harris, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • s c

    Whoa, comrades. We’re all in the same boat. We’re all on the same team. We’re all friends, and we’re all looking out for each other.
    Just because some loners hacked their way into some sensitive material doesn’t mean it will happen again. China is our bud, folks. Why, where would we be without China?
    Let’s make a circle and start singing ‘I’d like to teach the world . . .’ or maybe an oldie from the 1930s when unions were banging heads and winning hearts.
    Let’s have some coffee. Let’s do lunch. Bring your guitar and we’ll sing some songs and tell jokes. Everything is beautiful, or at least that’s what Big Brother claims. We don’t want to offend anyone. After all, utopia is just around the corner, and only non-pc infidels would say that something stinks in this world. Right?

    • FreedomFighter

      The Chi-Coms are the biggest threat to America at this time, our leaders sell us out to them for a pittance.

      They sell us defective parts and call it capitolism,

      Wake up congress, supply our military with AMERICAN MADE reliable tested electronics and equiptment.

      Laus Deo
      Semper Fi

    • ChuckL


      You forgot to place the announcement above your post. The missing label is:

    • Harvey Steele


  • Sirian

    The Chinese probably have an entire military division set up to do absolutely nothing but hack into every possible company and military data system. This more than likely is a 24/7/365 operation and will not stop until they have everything they can possibly get. It does provide them with untold numbers of new technologies that they couldn’t even begin to come up with alone. Being as disturbing as it may be it is also just as disturbing as to the approach our own government has taken to supposedly prevent these “cyber attacks” – SOPA & PIPA. Eliminate one threat while in turn creating another – infringement of liberties, absolutely! And we can trust either side now? Chinese, or our own government? Hardly!!

    • Warrior

      Well, this would certainly explain why the “green energy” firms keep going “belly up”. And how about the battery company Ener1 which went bankrupt and was purchased by a Russian. Another stimulus failure. Come on joey, show us your stimulus scorecard.

    • FreedomFighter

      The Chi-Coms are mostly copy-cats, they steal tech, almost never inventing.

      Much ado has gone around in Chi-Com education as to why they are not inventers and dreamers. They figure its due to the society they have, it just does not promote free thought and expression thus crushing inventio in a general sense.

      Although the Chi-Coms can take an idea or product and improve on it, the actual invention is left to Americans or others, they just steal it.

      Laus Deo
      Semper Fi

      • Nadzieja Batki

        That is the truest statement of the character of the Chinese, that they don’t have any create minds to create anything of any value. That they can only steal or be given technology to copycat.

      • Meteorlady

        Why create when you can steal ideas? Why work when the government will steal my money and give it to those that don’t want to work? Why produce or invent when others are clamoring up my back and hanging on for dear life so they don’t have to?

        As a producer and innovator I’m sorry to say that I have about had it and am thinking seriously about shutting my doors and heading to parts unknown where I can enjoy the fruits of my mind and work ethic without having to support millions that all had the same advantages but failed to work hard like I did.

      • http://Aol CommonSense4America

        Well,,,they invented gunpowder. Its been used a couple of times.

  • revnowwhilewecan

    The internet is (I would make the argument) currently the most important liberty to fight bitterly for, at all costs, to keep open, free and most important, UNCENSORED! This is my contention because I view it as the most important of all tools in combating our delving further and further into a complete totalitarian state. Not only is it the most reliable source of information available, the speed in which the info is disbursed is VITAL in keeping ourselves in tune with the real happenings in the world. The speed in which truth travels makes it very difficult for the elitist’s to keep up with damage control when exposed and also makes it difficult for them to spread blatant disinformation.

    This is why I’ve stated many times here that the blog world is the best news source and we must continue to “do the dirty” on the MSM sites to inform the unenlightened, shed more light on the ulterior agendas set forth by the ruling class and continue to battle the shills that troll these sites. I realize it seems to a lot that there is more corruption than ever being perpetuated by the world governments and elitists but it is my view that this is NOT the case. It’s my belief that the same amount is and has been happening but because of reliable news sources such as Personal Liberty Digest, Infowars, Brasschecktv and the like, people are not falling for the same old crap that is always put into the spotlight when a major “event” occurs. I’ve wondered countless times when a major event occurs, “Man. Those reporters are on top of it! What a news team! They’re right in the middle of the action, bringing it to us as it happens!”
    With more and more people being awakened to the lies of the media, “truth” sites such as these offer almost complete transparency and the MSM is daily becoming more and more laughable. People want the real truth of what’s going on out there and these types of sites, who were once thought of as “conspiracy” or “fringe reports” are now becoming more mainstream and IMHO the “powers that be” are hitting the panic button because their house of cards is about to collapse. We really do have the power to take our country back and return it to a time of integrity, honesty and most important, FREEDOM!

    So remember PLD bloggers. Get out there, enlighten, spread the truth and don’t waste your time engaging trolls whose sole purpose is to slow you down. Real change is coming and I remain optimistic. I truly believe the shift in paradigm starts with us. The truth seekers and the truth tellers.

    As most of you know, I’m fairly new to the world news blog scene and have been researching since December. These are some of the sites that I believe report the truth seemingly without a biased agenda and with the highest integrity.
    If anyone has other sources along these lines, I love to learn! SHARING IS CARING :) ;) :) (Syriangirl channel)
    …………and of course my favorite……

    If anyone has any links on “alternate” or “hidden” world history or “elitist’s agenda’s” I would like to know more. :) ;) :)

    • FreedomFighter

      Here you go, a few I have liked

      Also on YouTube check out Chuck Missler he provides a thought provoking interpretation of bible scripture.

      Laus Deo
      Semper Fi

      • revnowwhilewecan

        Thanks. I’ll make sure I check them out. I recently came across “TruthNeverTold” on You Tube. I subscribed to his channel because he covers a wide variety of lies and disinformation being put out there by the elitists and especially the criminal federal reserve agenda which I think is going to have some huge effects on the world very soon. I think (hope) they’re going down but they won’t without a fight and not without taking as much sheeple with them as they can!
        I’m 41 but I truly believe that I’ll see the day that we move away from the current monopoly money that is the federal reserve note and be witness to a real change in world consciousness. With the economies around the world collapsing daily, I think the shift has begun. You can only bail out banks and countries with fake money for so long before something gives! Hold on because impact is imminent!

    • Jazzabelle

      Don’t forget and the sister site (both excellent resources)!

      • revnowwhilewecan

        Thanks for the hook-up Jazz. You can never know too much and I think the more info you get the easier it seems to sort out what’s what. ;)

      • Average Joe

        I always recommend reading the Historical Outline as a starting point, as it puts things in the proper persective when you go through the rest of the site. Exellent site…been reading for years…so much info to absorb. ;)

    • http://Aol CommonSense4America

      I have been on “truth” sites before only to find out that they too have a political or financial agenda. I am now about to think that unless I hear it or see it first hand, I will doubt it. Then I begin to doubt myself. Like Diogenes, I’m still looking for TRUTH.

  • Cliffystones

    Why go after China. We all know it’s folks who stockpile food, wear Gadsden flag shirts and pay cash that are the real threat!

  • Maynard

    They’re at it again. This tme instead of WMD’s in Iraq and nuclear weapons in Iran, they’re raising the bugaboo of hackers in China. If we are so valuable a source of technological innovation, why aren’t we able to devise ways hackers cannot hack our secrets?
    Revnowhilecan is discerning in his commentary. With NDAA 2012 and $63 Billion appropriated for domestic drones,and FEMA camps ready and waiting for those arrested and held indefinitely without those inconvenient and lengthy trials which rely on finding actual evidence. The biggest remaining impediment is the lack of total control of information by the power elite. Therefore, remove our open internet but pretend it’s because of the great hackers of China, (who also loan us trillions.)

  • Darold Boucher

    So why not solve the problem without spending any money. Pass a law that says all US hackers will not be prosecuted for any ChiCom secrets they hack and bring to the gov.

    Get a few million of those kids living in their parents basements playing games hacking.
    BTW….Big bounty to be paid on all ChiCom secrets brought in.

    I don’t see any downside here. Put US expertise to work. Solve unemployment. It’s all good!

    • Christopher

      I’ll drink to that Idea- better get Congres to pass that law giving us the right. Otherwise,Obama will help his Chinese friends advisors and contributors nail anyone caught stealing from the Chinese.

  • Meteorlady

    Why does the federal government need to get involved. As an IP professional for a lot of years, I’d say it’s business and government department business to shut down these attacks with better security. Why do we have to submit to government intervention on the internet? I find this scary.

    • http://Aol CommonSense4America

      It’s much like gun control. We can’t control the bad guys (hackers), so lets control (gun control) the honest citizens.

  • ROGER, Canadian Libertarian

    I am old enough to remember when we accused the Japanese of ONLY being able to copy and now we accuse the Chinese of the same…better than accepting our own incompetence, is it not!!!

    While we fiddle Rome is burning….doesn’t anyone notice???

    • Ralph Herman

      there are crooks and theives on the net so jail the criminals and keep it free.lots of good thoughts and comments on this subject.

  • scott

    So why don’t the corporations Isolate info on unaccessible hard drives and why doesn’t the Govt do the same thing? This is not rocket science.

  • http://none Milos Leubner

    There are many ways to deal with this problem,the bigger problem may be that certain power are determined to take a freedom out of the Interenet ,it’s about the same treat to them like candidacy of Ron Paul. Get anyone out of controling peoples expressions ,including some “child porn” which is their “foot in the door”. One of many ways to get Chin – coms to notice is to tie these gross thefts to military hardware delivered to Taiwan and other countries in the region. We of course are in the corner because of them holding trilions of our “play money” but if we don’t find the wat to deal with 1/ ourselves 2/ them – now ,while we are still in existence as world power ” it will be very difficult or impossible latter ,unless we have some guts to do it (bought in China) To rip-off so much information is ,in fact, an act of war , but because you don’t hear explosians you would think that the cliking of computers is innocent child play . It is like to believe that Child Protective Services in this country is helping children rather then stealing them to justify their jobs – nobody wants to believe it. Cease Chinese ships on open sea ,hold them as ransom , recall ambasadors ,ask the British ,French,Italiens,Czechs,Polish to do the same ,let the Commies to blow up their Ministry of Cyber theft , stop given tours to Chinese top generals of American secret military bases – boy Clinton favorite game ,for a few bucks for his re-election campain.
    Like the man below here says “simple ,protect your hard drives” one guy builds computers ,another one protects them . We have to let smart people back into the positions we need to have them in rather then playing these games (still!!) of minority representation ,gay rights ,woman in military rights – it is not about rights based on race or sex ,but about having right people for the levels needed to run and protect everybody – even if he is a pink nonsexual from Venus!!


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