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Cyber Shield Allows Homeland Security To Dig Into All Internet Communications

Siobhan Gorman
Wall St Journal [1]
March 5, 2010

The Obama administration lifted the veil Tuesday on a highly-secretive set of policies to defend the U.S. from cyber attacks.

It was an open secret that the National Security Agency was bolstering a Homeland Security program to detect and respond to cyber attacks on government systems, but a summary of that program declassified Tuesday provides more details of NSA’s role in a Homeland program known as Einstein.

The current version of the program is widely seen as providing meager protection against attack, but a new version being built will be more robust–largely because it’s rooted in NSA technology. The program is designed to look for indicators of cyber attacks by digging into all Internet communications, including the contents of emails, according to the declassified summary.


Homeland Security will then strip out identifying information and pass along data on new threats to NSA. It will also use threat information from NSA to better identify emerging cyber attacks.

NSA’s role is a careful balance because of the political battles that ensued over the agency’s role in domestic surveillance in the George W. Bush administration. Declassifying details of the NSA’s role, in a program initially developed during the Bush administration and continued in the Obama administration, will likely ignite new debates over privacy.

Full article here [1]