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[infowar.de] Update zum US-Cybersecurity-Plan
A Pared-Back Security Initiative
By Ted Bridis
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
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
"Governments can lead by example in cyberspace security," the draft
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
"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
"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
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
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