This article from ArsTechnica about an interview the Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, gave to The New Yorker will send a few shivers down your spine:
While short on specifics, the New Yorker piece recognizes that any plan requiring the kind of authority McConnell envisions is apt to be a hard sell: “Americans will have to trust the government not to abuse the authority it must have in order to protect our networks, and yet, historically the government has not proved worthy of that trust.” McConnell acknowledges that his initiative is bound to spark debate that will make recent wrangling over reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act seem like “a walk in the park compared to this.”
How broad are the powers needed to keep our servers safe? According to the article, in order for cyberspace to be policed, Internet activity will have to be closely monitored. Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan, said that would mean giving the government the authority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer, or Web search. “Google has records that could help in a cyber-investigation,” he said. Giorgio warned me, “We have a saying in this business: ‘Privacy and security are a zero-sum game.’”
Sayings like that, says security guru Bruce Schneier, “are why the police aren’t in charge; security and privacy are complimentary. Privacy is part of our security against government abuse. If they were really zero-sum, we would have seen mass immigration into East Germany.”
If the Director gets his way he’ll be looking at every single bit of data you send over the Internet. All in the interest of keeping you safe, of course. Never would they abuse that power. Honest. You can trust them. Really.
And if you believe that…