While we’re hearing that the Senate is likely to take up (though not pass) the Cybersecurity Act yet again either today or tomorrow, and the White House is still sitting on a cybersecurity “executive order,” in the meantime it’s being reported that President Obama has signed a “secret directive” to allow the military to “act more aggressively to thwart cyberattacks.”This is limited to the military, but that means we’re talking about the NSA (which is a part of the Defense Department). Considering that it seems to view a stronger offensive effort (i.e.,collecting all data) a key part of a strong “defense,” this is worrisome.
The really troubling part in all of this is the really unnecessary level of secrecy. We keep being told scary bogeyman stories about online attacks without any evidence or proof. And now the President is signing a “secret” order allowing the military to do more in response? Without any real scrutiny, it’s not difficult to see how these things expand unceasingly and are wide open for abuse. Given the NSA’s track record here, it’s inevitable that these efforts will be massively abused.