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Last Week: President Obama Unilaterally Gave Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
Posted by: trogdor! ()
Date: November 17, 2012 10:36AM

Is this another Obama accomplishment? Bypassing Congress and handing over the internet to the Military (and yes, I know the history of the Internet).
http://epic.org/2012/11/president-issues-secret-cybers.html


President Obama Unilaterally Gives Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
J.D. Tuccille|Nov. 15, 2012 3:43 pm
http://reason.com/blog/2012/11/15/president-obama-unilaterally-gives-cyber

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that the president signed a hush-hush directive granting the military additional power to respond to cyberattacks. The directive was signed as Congress debated — and, ultimately, rejected — controversial legislation dealing with the same issue. While the Post would have it that the president is simply bypassing nasty bipartisan gridlock in Congress to get important stuff done, that glosses over the unpleasant reality that many knowledgeable people argue against the policies that dear leader just implemented unilaterally. With the stroke of a pen, we now have two problems: Potentially bad policy inflicted on the nation through an abuse of executive power.

Reports the Washington Post:

President Obama has signed a secret directive that effectively enables the military to act more aggressively to thwart cyber­attacks on the nation’s web of government and private computer networks.

Presidential Policy Directive 20 establishes a broad and strict set of standards to guide the operations of federal agencies in confronting threats in cyberspace, according to several U.S. officials who have seen the classified document and are not authorized to speak on the record. The president signed it in mid-October.

The new directive is the most extensive White House effort to date to wrestle with what constitutes an “offensive” and a “defensive” action in the rapidly evolving world of cyberwar and cyberterrorism, where an attack can be launched in milliseconds by unknown assailants utilizing a circuitous route. For the first time, the directive explicitly makes a distinction between network defense and cyber-operations to guide officials charged with making often-rapid decisions when confronted with threats.

The details of Presidential Policy Directive 20 are a bit vague, partially because the Pentagon is supposed to fill in the details itself, and (probably) partially because the "leak" about the directive may well be controlled and deliberate, given that the Senate killed Senator Joe Lieberman's Cybersecurity Act yesterday, as well. Suffice it to say that "cybersecurity" is a broad and vague term that can cover everything from the government making sure its own computers are tucked in snugly behind their firewalls, to mandated policies for the private sector and even intrusive snooping.

In fact, the Washington Post reported in September:

The White House has drafted a preliminary executive order aimed at strengthening the nation’s computer systems against attack, an effort to begin to accomplish through fiat what could not be achieved through Congress.

The draft order, whose contours are being debated, would create voluntary standards to guide companies in guarding themselves against cyberattacks, according to administration officials. It would also establish a special council made up of key government agencies to identify threats that could compromise critical sectors.

It's not clear whether any parts of that draft executive order were incorporated in the directive reportedly signed by the president. In September, the Post did report that the components of the draft order, and the legislation on which it was based, were opposed by businesses and GOP lawmakers "who decried even voluntary standards as a regulatory burden on business." Yesterday's article made no mention of opposition at all. But civil liberties groups also opposed Lieberman's bill upon which the draft executive order appears to be based, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation celebrated its demise with a press release:

With your help last summer we helped defeat Senator Lieberman's Cybersecurity Act. But for some reason, Senate Majority Leader Reid decided to call for another vote on the bill in the lame duck session today. After an hour's debate, the full Senate voted 51 to 47 against cloture for the Cybersecurity Act, meaning it can't move forward for a vote.

We've spent months going over the various faults in the bill—and of the faults in the other proposed Cybersecurity bills. We were particularly concerned because the Cybersecurity Act included overly vague definitions for key terms like "cybersecurity threat," "cybersecurity threat indicator," and even "countermeasures."

CNet notes that what little we know about the signed directive also points to controversial elements:

The nuts and bolts of the directive will most likely be met with criticism from many sides of the cybersecurity debate. While some will want to strengthen the directive and give free rein to the military to act quickly against cyberthreats, others will warn that the U.S. could step on international legal issues, Internet freedom, and other countries' sovereignty.

The details of the directive and the criticism of the same are less important here than noting that debate and delay over government power is both natural and healthy. People really do have legitimately different opinions on proposed legislation. Those opinions, when aired and debated, allow for better-informed decisions and a fuller understanding of the ultimate impact of policy changes. Mr. Obama is old enough to remember Schoolhouse Rock. Add in a few rough patches and some cynicism, and "I'm just a bill on Capitol Hill" is how it's supposed to work.

So sorry if the process of debating stuff and maybe losing a vote on favored policies is too drawn-out and annoying for you, Mr. President. But you really aren't supposed to be able "to accomplish through fiat what could not be achieved through Congress," as the Post put it so well, in an open and (still somewhat) free society.

Update: The Electronic Privacy Information Center would like to know just what in hell the administration thinks it's doing. EPIC filed a FOIA request to see what's in Presidential Policy Directive 20.

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Re: Last Week: President Obama Unilaterally Gave Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
Posted by: tomahawk ()
Date: November 17, 2012 11:08AM

Just Support the Troops and be happy.

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Re: Last Week: President Obama Unilaterally Gave Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
Posted by: SoylentGreen ()
Date: November 17, 2012 08:01PM

So when the US military invades the US under martial law, only those with some sort of satellite dish or a digital antenna will know because they will have shut down the internet and all digital cable networks?

Cool!

I guess until then I just wont do anything ILLEGAL on the internet and I wont have to worry about it.

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Re: Last Week: President Obama Unilaterally Gave Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
Posted by: Internet never closes ()
Date: November 17, 2012 08:25PM

SoylentGreen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So when the US military invades the US under
> martial law, only those with some sort of
> satellite dish or a digital antenna will know
> because they will have shut down the internet and
> all digital cable networks?
>
> Cool!
>
> I guess until then I just wont do anything ILLEGAL
> on the internet and I wont have to worry about it.


Look into the protests in Tahrir Square. The Egyptian government attempted to "shut down" the internet. They failed miserably.

First off, they couldn't cut off financial networks, which rely heavily on the internet. Second, all it takes is one guy with a packet radio and a wifi radio to light up anyone who can connect to his router.

The presidential directive is simply a way to provide rules on what the military can do as far as using computer networks for offensive purposes, and what they need to do to defend against network attacks.

Doubtful this has anything to do with those plans to take over the United States. I think Obama's plan to take over was to win the election. Mission accomplished.

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Re: Last Week: President Obama Unilaterally Gave Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
Posted by: Cybert ()
Date: November 17, 2012 08:36PM

Internet never closes Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SoylentGreen Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > So when the US military invades the US under
> > martial law, only those with some sort of
> > satellite dish or a digital antenna will know
> > because they will have shut down the internet
> and
> > all digital cable networks?
> >
> > Cool!
> >
> > I guess until then I just wont do anything
> ILLEGAL
> > on the internet and I wont have to worry about
> it.
>
>
> Look into the protests in Tahrir Square. The
> Egyptian government attempted to "shut down" the
> internet. They failed miserably.
>
> First off, they couldn't cut off financial
> networks, which rely heavily on the internet.
> Second, all it takes is one guy with a packet
> radio and a wifi radio to light up anyone who can
> connect to his router.
>


That was the rootie poos in Egypt. And that doesn't work when they shut it all down. You might connect but you're not getting anywhere from there.

I have mixed feelings myself. We definitely need some "kill switch" in the event that there's a significant cyber-attack type event. On the other hand don't want to hand over too much either. The only reason the Net is as open and works as well as it does is because we've largely been able to keep hands off of it.

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Re: Last Week: President Obama Unilaterally Gave Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
Posted by: Internet never closes ()
Date: November 17, 2012 08:55PM

Cybert Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
>
> That was the rootie poos in Egypt. And that
> doesn't work when they shut it all down. You
> might connect but you're not getting anywhere from
> there.

You cannot "shut it all down". Do some research. You might be able to disrupt some vital nodes which would make it difficult to communicate outside the United States, or between regions, but you cannot shut down "the internet".

The majority of the internetworking is between private networks who join at exchange points. Most of those can be circumvented if they were taken offline.

Besides, with packet radio and shortwave transmitters, even if they were to figure out a way to cut every cable (copper or fiber) that linked the United States to networks overseas, somebody would just set up links via HAM radio.

http://www.amrad.org/projects/space/

http://www.tapr.org/packetradio.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packet_radio


>
> I have mixed feelings myself. We definitely need
> some "kill switch" in the event that there's a
> significant cyber-attack type event. On the other
> hand don't want to hand over too much either. The
> only reason the Net is as open and works as well
> as it does is because we've largely been able to
> keep hands off of it.

There is no way to implement a "kill switch". The entire reason behind the development of the internet was to develop a network that was capable of withstanding multiple nuclear strikes. Nobody can shut it down.

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Re: Last Week: President Obama Unilaterally Gave Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
Posted by: Cybert ()
Date: November 17, 2012 10:10PM

Internet never closes Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Cybert Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> >
> >
> > That was the rootie poos in Egypt. And that
> > doesn't work when they shut it all down. You
> > might connect but you're not getting anywhere
> from
> > there.
>
> You cannot "shut it all down". Do some research.
> You might be able to disrupt some vital nodes
> which would make it difficult to communicate
> outside the United States, or between regions, but
> you cannot shut down "the internet".
>
> The majority of the internetworking is between
> private networks who join at exchange points.
> Most of those can be circumvented if they were
> taken offline.
>
> Besides, with packet radio and shortwave
> transmitters, even if they were to figure out a
> way to cut every cable (copper or fiber) that
> linked the United States to networks overseas,
> somebody would just set up links via HAM radio.
>
> http://www.amrad.org/projects/space/
>
> http://www.tapr.org/packetradio.html
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packet_radio


I understand how they work. I did enterprise networking for many years. All are very easily blocked if someone really wants to. And at a practical level you still have to be able to get somewhere. e.g., shut down access to Twitter, no twitter. You may still get some low volume traffic in/out but you're not running as the "Internet" as most would consider it.

>
> >
> > I have mixed feelings myself. We definitely
> need
> > some "kill switch" in the event that there's a
> > significant cyber-attack type event. On the
> other
> > hand don't want to hand over too much either.
> The
> > only reason the Net is as open and works as
> well
> > as it does is because we've largely been able
> to
> > keep hands off of it.
>
> There is no way to implement a "kill switch". The
> entire reason behind the development of the
> internet was to develop a network that was capable
> of withstanding multiple nuclear strikes. Nobody
> can shut it down.


Maybe not as a single switch as some seem to think of it which is why I put it in quotes. That's not even what's proposed. Simply because it was designed to employ multiple routing paths does not mean that it can't be shut down. Things are not fully meshed and somehow self aware as you seem to imagine. If you take down a few key nodes and international transits then effectively so. Although that would have implications of its own. Whether you could take it down absolutely isn't really the question. The switch isn't even a switch, it's simply giving the government the ability to order private entities to shutdown various parts of their networks. How that's implemented technically is another matter but it certainly could be done.

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Re: Last Week: President Obama Unilaterally Gave Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
Posted by: Internet never closes ()
Date: November 17, 2012 10:26PM

Cybert Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
>
> Maybe not as a single switch as some seem to think
> of it which is why I put it in quotes. That's not
> even what's proposed. Simply because it was
> designed to employ multiple routing paths does not
> mean that it can't be shut down. Things are not
> fully meshed and somehow self aware as you seem to
> imagine.

Please don't presume to know what I imagine. I do not believe this is a self-healing network with magical powers of self-awareness. I'm not a passive consumer, I design the networks.

It can't be shut down. Even if you were able to shut down every broadband provider in the country, people who really want to connect their computer to other computers will be able to, and if they can do that, they can connect to other computers that are connected to whatever remains of the internet.


> If you take down a few key nodes and
> international transits then effectively so.
> Although that would have implications of its own.
> Whether you could take it down absolutely isn't
> really the question. The switch isn't even a
> switch, it's simply giving the government the
> ability to order private entities to shutdown
> various parts of their networks. How that's
> implemented technically is another matter but it
> certainly could be done.

It can't be done. If they were able to cut the entire DC area from the internet for a prolonged period, HAM radio operators would set up their TNCs and connect them to wifi routers, then anyone within range of those routers would have internet access through the HAM radio to TNCs connected to HAM radios in Europe, Canada, Mexico, and so on. Ad hoc networks are easy to set up, and difficult to regulate or disrupt.

It is impossible to kill the internet, not because it is self-aware, but because there is more than one way for a computer to communicate with another computer, and IP is universal across any communication method, so once you can establish a link, you're online.

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Re: Last Week: President Obama Unilaterally Gave Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
Posted by: Cybert ()
Date: November 17, 2012 11:11PM

Internet never closes Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Cybert Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> >
> >
> > Maybe not as a single switch as some seem to
> think
> > of it which is why I put it in quotes. That's
> not
> > even what's proposed. Simply because it was
> > designed to employ multiple routing paths does
> not
> > mean that it can't be shut down. Things are
> not
> > fully meshed and somehow self aware as you seem
> to
> > imagine.
>
> Please don't presume to know what I imagine. I do
> not believe this is a self-healing network with
> magical powers of self-awareness. I'm not a
> passive consumer, I design the networks.
>
> It can't be shut down. Even if you were able to
> shut down every broadband provider in the country,
> people who really want to connect their computer
> to other computers will be able to, and if they
> can do that, they can connect to other computers
> that are connected to whatever remains of the
> internet.
>
>
> > If you take down a few key nodes and
> > international transits then effectively so.
> > Although that would have implications of its
> own.
> > Whether you could take it down absolutely isn't
> > really the question. The switch isn't even a
> > switch, it's simply giving the government the
> > ability to order private entities to shutdown
> > various parts of their networks. How that's
> > implemented technically is another matter but
> it
> > certainly could be done.
>
> It can't be done. If they were able to cut the
> entire DC area from the internet for a prolonged
> period, HAM radio operators would set up their
> TNCs and connect them to wifi routers, then anyone
> within range of those routers would have internet
> access through the HAM radio to TNCs connected to
> HAM radios in Europe, Canada, Mexico, and so on.
> Ad hoc networks are easy to set up, and difficult
> to regulate or disrupt.
>
> It is impossible to kill the internet, not because
> it is self-aware, but because there is more than
> one way for a computer to communicate with another
> computer, and IP is universal across any
> communication method, so once you can establish a
> link, you're online.


Now you're arguing something completely different than where you started with the "built to withstand nuclear attack" stuff. And at that point, as I said, then you're not using what most would consider "the Internet." You're establishing your own nets some of which may be interconnected to various degrees. i.e., you're going around it versus relying on it. Which obviously can be done to various extents. And which also can be blocked to the extent that somebody really wants to do it. e.g., VOA finally gave up shortwave broadcasts to China since they were just jamming it.

I'm not talking about nor is the "kill switch" about some stopping the ability to set up "resistance" or disaster networks.

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Re: Last Week: President Obama Unilaterally Gave Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
Posted by: 3JEeV ()
Date: November 17, 2012 11:24PM

trogdor! Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Is this another Obama accomplishment? Bypassing
> Congress and handing over the internet to the
> Military.

YES

Skip the idiot clowns and get something done!

If it went through Congress, ALL of the details would become public and the "security" part would fail.

There are thing the public should NOT have the right to know.

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Re: Last Week: President Obama Unilaterally Gave Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
Posted by: Internet never closes ()
Date: November 17, 2012 11:34PM

Cybert Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
>
> Now you're arguing something completely different
> than where you started with the "built to
> withstand nuclear attack" stuff. And at that
> point, as I said, then you're not using what most
> would consider "the Internet." You're
> establishing your own nets some of which may be
> interconnected to various degrees. i.e., you're
> going around it versus relying on it. Which
> obviously can be done to various extents. And
> which also can be blocked to the extent that
> somebody really wants to do it. e.g., VOA finally
> gave up shortwave broadcasts to China since they
> were just jamming it.
>
> I'm not talking about nor is the "kill switch"
> about some stopping the ability to set up
> "resistance" or disaster networks.


I mentioned the original intent of DARPA net, to withstand multiple nuclear strikes, just for perspective.

But I am talking about not being able to shut down the internet because once I can create an ad hoc network that can connect to other ad hoc networks, I can connect to one that is still connected to whatever remains of the internet.

If the US Government "shut down" the internet, I can use any number of communications methods to connect my ad hoc network to computers that are connected to the internet as it exists outside the US.

Not disaster or resistance networks. I could send SMS, email, FTP, HTTP requests, etc.

Unless the entire world went dark, there will always be a network, and as long as there are networks, you can't "shut down" the internet.

The average person will not be able to update their facebook page, but anyone with a little bit of knowledge will be able to connect to the internet.

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Re: Last Week: President Obama Unilaterally Gave Cybersecurity Powers to the Military
Posted by: Cybert ()
Date: November 18, 2012 12:31AM

Again, you're off on a tangent trying to prove that you're right.

The discussion re a "kill switch" here centers on two primary points:

1. Should the government be permitted to force various communications providers to shut down and/or otherwise permit various services/equipment to be under government control in the event of some significant cyberattack-type event; and

2. Assuming that is the case, then how do we ensure that the government does not abuse that same power in ways which may restrict access to the Internet and related services/information.

It's not about whether there are some potential ways for some way to get around it if they did.

The first obviously is possible to varying degrees. It's done routinely now in the case of large-scale DDOS attacks but on a cooperative basis. Simply because the Net is interconnected via multiple paths does not mean that things cannot be effectively shut down. There are other types of attack that leverage the interconnectivity to their advantage; however, you still can isolate various parts if necessary. The extent to which that might be effective and what other problems that might create (e.g., having to shut down access to financial networks) is a related but separate discussion.

The second also obviously is possible and a potential concern. Just look to China or any of a number of other countries which block, filter, and/or sniff various traffic and services. Whether some people may be able to circumvent that in some ways isn't the question. You still have potential for significant wide-spread restriction and intrusion by the government. Whether that constitutes an absolute "kill switch" over each and every potential means for people to communicate via some computer-based device really isn't the issue.

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