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Thread: NSA Launches "Perfect Citizen" to "protect" Private Sector

  1. #1

    Angry NSA Launches "Perfect Citizen" to "protect" Private Sector

    From the Wall Street Journal today:
    The federal government is launching an expansive program dubbed "Perfect Citizen" to detect cyber assaults on private companies and government agencies running such critical infrastructure as the electricity grid and nuclear-power plants, according to people familiar with the program.

    The surveillance by the National Security Agency, the government's chief eavesdropping agency, would rely on a set of sensors deployed in computer networks for critical infrastructure that would be triggered by unusual activity suggesting an impending cyber attack, though it wouldn't persistently monitor the whole system, these people said.

    Defense contractor Raytheon Corp. recently won a classified contract for the initial phase of the surveillance effort valued at up to $100 million, said a person familiar with the project.

    An NSA spokeswoman said the agency had no information to provide on the program. A Raytheon spokesman declined to comment.

    Some industry and government officials familiar with the program see Perfect Citizen as an intrusion by the NSA into domestic affairs, while others say it is an important program to combat an emerging security threat that only the NSA is equipped to provide.

    "The overall purpose of the [program] is our Government...feel[s] that they need to insure the Public Sector is doing all they can to secure Infrastructure critical to our National Security," said one internal Raytheon email, the text of which was seen by The Wall Street Journal. "Perfect Citizen is Big Brother."

    Raytheon declined to comment on this email.

    A U.S. military official called the program long overdue and said any intrusion into privacy is no greater than what the public already endures from traffic cameras. It's a logical extension of the work federal agencies have done in the past to protect physical attacks on critical infrastructure that could sabotage the government or key parts of the country, the official said.

    U.S. intelligence officials have grown increasingly alarmed about what they believe to be Chinese and Russian surveillance of computer systems that control the electric grid and other U.S. infrastructure. Officials are unable to describe the full scope of the problem, however, because they have had limited ability to pull together all the private data.

    Perfect Citizen will look at large, typically older computer control systems that were often designed without Internet connectivity or security in mind. Many of those systems—which run everything from subway systems to air-traffic control networks—have since been linked to the Internet, making them more efficient but also exposing them to cyber attack.

    Journal Community discuss..“ Wow, the name "Perfect Citizen" just screams of Orwellian repression..—Mike Lorrey.


    The goal is to close the "big, glaring holes" in the U.S.'s understanding of the nature of the cyber threat against its infrastructure, said one industry specialist familiar with the program. "We don't have a dedicated way to understand the problem."

    The information gathered by Perfect Citizen could also have applications beyond the critical infrastructure sector, officials said, serving as a data bank that would also help companies and agencies who call upon NSA for help with investigations of cyber attacks, as Google did when it sustained a major attack late last year.

    The U.S. government has for more than a decade claimed a national-security interest in privately owned critical infrastructure that, if attacked, could cause significant damage to the government or the economy. Initially, it established relationships with utility companies so it could, for instance, request that a power company seal a manhole that provides access to a key power line for a government agency.

    With the growth in concern about cyber attacks, these relationships began to extend into the electronic arena, and the only U.S. agency equipped to manage electronic assessments of critical-infrastructure vulnerabilities is the NSA, government and industry officials said.

    The NSA years ago began a small-scale effort to address this problem code-named April Strawberry, the military official said. The program researched vulnerabilities in computer networks running critical infrastructure and sought ways to close security holes.

    That led to initial work on Perfect Citizen, which was a piecemeal effort to forge relationships with some companies, particularly energy companies, whose infrastructure is widely used across the country.

    The classified program is now being expanded with funding from the multibillion-dollar Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, which started at the end of the Bush administration and has been continued by the Obama administration, officials said. With that infusion of money, the NSA is now seeking to map out intrusions into critical infrastructure across the country.

    Because the program is still in the early stages, much remains to be worked out, such as which computer control systems will be monitored and how the data will be collected. NSA would likely start with the systems that have the most important security implications if attacked, such as electric, nuclear, and air-traffic-control systems, they said.

    Intelligence officials have met with utilities' CEOs and those discussions convinced them of the gravity of the threat against U.S. infrastructure, an industry specialist said, but the CEOs concluded they needed better threat information and guidance on what to do in the event of a major cyber attack.

    Some companies may agree to have the NSA put its own sensors on and others may ask for direction on what sensors to buy and come to an agreement about what data they will then share with the government, industry and government officials said.

    While the government can't force companies to work with it, it can provide incentives to urge them to cooperate, particularly if the government already buys services from that company, officials said.

    Raytheon, which has built up a large cyber-security practice through acquisitions in recent years, is expected to subcontract out some of the work to smaller specialty companies, according to a person familiar with the project.
    The evils of the protecting-duty, may undoubtedly be graduated by compromises, like those of every other species of tyranny, but the folly of letting in some tyranny has in all ages been fatal to liberty. A succession of wedges, though apparently small, finally splits the strongest timber. ~John Taylor of Caroline, Tyranny Unmasked

    We have four boxes with which to defend our freedom: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box. ~Congressman Larry McDonald.



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  3. #2
    Needs a bigger boat Anti Federalist's Avatar
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    Default

    A U.S. military official called the program long overdue and said any intrusion into privacy is no greater than what the public already endures from traffic cameras. It's a logical extension of the work federal agencies have done in the past to protect physical attacks on critical infrastructure that could sabotage the government or key parts of the country, the official said.
    "So shut up and sit down, mundane, we already are in your life, and any sort privacy or 4th Amendment protections are a thing of the past."

    By gosh, time for some strongly worded letters and non compliance.
    "It's a Free Country."
    "They hate us for our Freedoms."
    "The troops are protecting your Freedom."




    You're not nuts! You're FISHERMEN!!!

  4. #3

    Default NSA setting up secret 'Perfect Citizen' spy system

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07...rfect_citizen/
    According to the WSJ, Perfect Citizen has caused some disquiet among those in the know. It could be seen as the NSA - a military combat support agency whose focus is supposed to be on external threats - carrying out massive automated surveillance of American companies and citizens. The paper quotes an internal Raytheon email as saying that "Perfect Citizen is Big Brother".
    The NSA's Perfect Citizen equipment would be designed to flag up unusual network events indicating an impending cyber attack, according to the WSJ's sources.

    "You've got to instrument the network to know what's going on, so you have situational awareness to take action," an unnamed military source told the paper.

    Many of the networks that the NSA would wish to place Perfect Citizen equipment on are privately owned, however, and some could also potentially carry information offering scope for "mission creep" outside an infrastructure-security context. For instance, full access to power company systems might allow the NSA to work out whether anyone was at home at a given address. Transport and telecoms information would also make for a potential bonanza for intrusive monitoring.

  5. #4

    Default

    Yeah, surprise, surprise.

    Like cops, there are good Alert Neighbors and bad ones.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maury Klein View Post
    Since the pace of change wrought by new technology continues to gain speed, the gap between policy and reality widens daily... In the modern world policy cannot possibly keep pace with change of all kinds.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin Coolidge View Post
    There is danger of disappointment and disaster unless there be a wider comprehension of the limitations of the law. The attempt to regulate, control, and prescribe all manner of conduct and social relations is very old. It was always the practice of primitive peoples.

  6. #5

    Default

    Unsuprising really, but it's always nice to see the outright distain for constitutional limitations from those "providing" "our" "security".
    The evils of the protecting-duty, may undoubtedly be graduated by compromises, like those of every other species of tyranny, but the folly of letting in some tyranny has in all ages been fatal to liberty. A succession of wedges, though apparently small, finally splits the strongest timber. ~John Taylor of Caroline, Tyranny Unmasked

    We have four boxes with which to defend our freedom: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box. ~Congressman Larry McDonald.

  7. #6

    Default

    Sounds like a crappy movie.

  8. #7
    Moderator jdmyprez_deo_vindice's Avatar
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    What a bunch of crap... are we actually going to tolerate this?
    "Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people
    designed to make of their victory,
    there would have been no surrender at
    Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me.
    Had I foreseen these results of subjugation,
    I would have preferred to die at Appomattox
    with my brave men, my sword in my right hand." - Robert E. Lee to Governor Fletcher S. Stockdale (D-Texas), 1870


  9. #8

    Default

    Unfortunately, most people probably will tolerate it...that is if they even spend enough time between American Idol and America's Next Top Model to pay attention to the news.

  10. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRey View Post
    Unfortunately, most people probably will tolerate it...that is if they even spend enough time between American Idol and America's Next Top Model to pay attention to the news.
    Most people won't ever even KNOW about this...
    The evils of the protecting-duty, may undoubtedly be graduated by compromises, like those of every other species of tyranny, but the folly of letting in some tyranny has in all ages been fatal to liberty. A succession of wedges, though apparently small, finally splits the strongest timber. ~John Taylor of Caroline, Tyranny Unmasked

    We have four boxes with which to defend our freedom: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box. ~Congressman Larry McDonald.

  11. #10

    Default

    bump and marked.

    Thanks for posting.

    Bunkloco

  12. #11

    Default

    This is so Nazi-esque, it's quite unsettling
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul
    The government is incapable of doing what it's supposed to do. A job like the provision of security is something best left to private institutions.
    My music/art page is here"government is the enemy of liberty"-RP
    That which doesn't kill me has made a grave tactical error
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    This whole board is a thoughtcrime in progress.
    Quote Originally Posted by danke View Post
    I carry my man purse for fashion, not function.

  13. #12

    Default

    ...and has been continued by the Obama administration...
    This phrase could be the motto of the "change" president.





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