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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Obama issued executive order to expand information net.

Amid growing fears of a crippling cyber-attack, government officials have ordered the expansion of a security program that automatically scans internet traffic and will now net more private and personal communications.

A cyber attack is now regarded as a more significant threat than a conventional terrorist attack.

A cyber attack is now regarded as a more significant threat than a conventional terrorist attack.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online)- Defense officials are now saying that the threat of a cyber attack exceeds the threat and danger of a conventional terrorist attack. Based on that belief, officials are planning to expand a program that will automatically scan private email and web traffic, including browsing behavior, to fight the potential threat.

The order has already been given, issued as an executive order by the Obama administration.

Classified information will be submitted that will direct what will be searched and how. Special emphasis will be placed on what security agencies such as the National Security Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency, believe are the most relevant threats.

Data will be gathered by the Department of Homeland Security and sent to private third parties who will process the data and provide aggregate information to the government.

Of particular interest will be communications involving contractors and other firms that are providing services to the government, especially on classified projects.

Workers for these firms can expect to have their email and browsing data collected and reviewed by third parties.

Defense contractors and government networks are already subject to such scrutiny, now the net will include, among others, those who work at big banks, utilities, and transportation companies.

Although officials remain deliberately vague on just what will happen and how, they have been clear on the threat that a cyber attack poses.

For example, a cyber attack could cripple or destroy critical infrastructure such as electrical production, without which nothing else could operate. Even your toilet could stop flushing if pumps that operate wells were shut down because of a cyber attack. 

While a toilet that won't flush is scary in its own right, there are boarder implications that many Americans could find much more frightening, such as an expansion of the government's ability to snoop and read through your emails and private data.

In itself, should hackers or cyber-terrorists obtain this data, they could also compromise national security through the very entities entrusted to defend it. Of course, the most alarming scenario involves the government using the data for some unforeseen end other than what is presently stated.

There are clear implications to civil liberties. Unfortunately, the price we may be asked to pay to keep the lights on could be our privacy, and in turn our freedom. At some point, it simply isn't worth it.

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