Forwarded from: William Knowles <wkat_private> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18662-2003Jan6.html By Ted Bridis Associated Press Tuesday, January 7, 2003 The Bush administration has reduced by nearly half its initiatives to tighten security for vital computer networks, giving more responsibility to the new Department of Homeland Security and eliminating an earlier proposal to consult regularly with privacy experts. An internal draft of the administration's upcoming plan to improve cybersecurity also no longer includes a number of voluntary proposals for America's corporations to improve security, focusing instead on suggestions for U.S. government agencies, such as a broad new study assessing risks. "Governments can lead by example in cyberspace security," the draft said. The draft, circulating among government offices and industry executives this week, was obtained by the Associated Press. President Bush was expected to sign the plan, called the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, and announce the proposals within several weeks. The new draft pares the number of security proposals from 86 to 49. Among the draft's changes was the removal of an explicit recommendation for the White House to consult regularly with privacy advocates and other experts about how civil liberties might be affected by proposals to improve Internet security. The draft notes that "care must be taken to respect privacy interests and other civil liberties." It also noted that the new Homeland Security Department will include a privacy officer to ensure that monitoring the Internet for attacks would balance privacy and civil liberties concerns. "It's perplexing," said James X. Dempsey of the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology. "This administration is constantly on the receiving end of criticism on privacy issues. This looks like another example of willfully raising privacy concerns. They should know better by now." An official for the White House cybersecurity office declined to comment, saying the latest draft hasn't yet been published. The draft obtained by the AP puts the new Homeland Security Department squarely in the role of improving Internet security, proposing to use it to launch some test attacks against civilian U.S. agencies and to improve the safety of automated systems that operate the nation's water, chemical and electrical networks. The new version also makes it more clear than ever that the Defense Department can wage "cyber warfare" if the nation is attacked. The administration said previously that government "should continue to reserve the right to respond in an appropriate manner." The new draft cautions that it can be difficult or even impossible to trace an attack's source. But it warns that the government's response "need not be limited to criminal prosecution." The new version also puts new responsibilities on the CIA and FBI to disrupt other countries' use of computer tactics to collect intelligence on government agencies, companies and universities. The administration published an early version of its plan in September -- weeks before Congress voted to create the Homeland Security Department -- with 86 recommendations for home users, small businesses, corporations, universities and government agencies. Critics, even the InfraGard national organization of private security experts established by the FBI, seized on the lack of new regulations that would have mandated better security practices but could have required America's largest corporations to spend millions for improvements. "We felt that there was a significant security improvement that could be made most easily through regulation," the InfraGard group wrote to the White House. "In many cases the deeply held conclusion was that the same result could not be reached in the absence of new regulation." The draft, however, continues to challenge the need for any new regulations, saying mandates for private industry would violate the nation's "traditions of federalism and limited government." It said broad regulations would hamstring security by creating a "lowest-common-denominator approach" and could result in even worse security. *==============================================================* "Communications without intelligence is noise; Intelligence without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC ================================================================ C4I.org - Computer Security, & Intelligence - http://www.c4i.org *==============================================================* - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Jan 07 2003 - 05:00:46 PST