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The Political Quagmire


Personal Perspective

What information do you want to share?

Demographic: address, age, race, height, weight, etc.

Financial: How much do you make? What is your debt?

Personal Preferences:

How do you want to protect your personal information? Limit access by law or by personal choice? If you want to choose, who should provide the necessary security (corporations or government)?

What about criminals (thieves, drug dealers, rapists)? Should law enforcement have access to their personal data, or should personal privacy override all other concerns?

In essence, it is a tough balancing act between security and privacy.

Back to module 5.

Corporate Perspective

These are the corporate concerns:

  1. Staying in business, maintaining the competitive edge.
  2. Securing the competitive edge - protecting trade/corporate secrets.
  3. Protection from the disgruntled employee.
  4. Protection from fly-by-night hacking mischief.
  5. Maintain open connection with customers.
  6. Gain information on competition - stay ahead.

How Does Your Company Want to Protect Information?

  1. Have government legislate a solution, or
  2. Choose from commercially available security solutions.

In essence, it is a tough balancing act between government action and enterprise.

Back to module 5.

The Department of Justice Perspective

The task: How to provide the best law enforcement to the American public.

The challenge: How to track, capture, and prosecute criminals.

What kind of crime are we talking about?

The Technical Challenge

America has always trusted/controlled the process by which law enforcement officers obtain critical evidence, i.e. wire tapping.

The Constitution protects against unauthorized search and seizure. This is always a court order.

Possible Solutions
  1. Provide the public with cryptographically weak protection. The government would be willing to disclose that this protection can be broken.
  2. Provide the public with a cryptographically strong solution and forgo law enforcement.
  3. Compromise. Have manufacturers that provide the cryptographic products which embrace a key escrow like system. Specifically, any key sold would be made of two cryptographically dependent parts. The manufacturer maintains one part and the independent party, known as the information insurer, would hold the second part. Only under court order could both parts be re-united to form the customer's key. Back to module 5.

    The Department of Defense Perspective

    DoD Concerns - How To Fight and Defend Against War in the Information Age.

    Infrastructure (political, industrial, economic) has always been considered military targets during conflict. Therefore, our military has always considered:

    What does information technology introduce to warfare?

    1. It defies concept of a theater of operations. Cyberspace is global.
    2. What constitutes war, and when are we at war?
    3. The attacking nation can hide within cyberspace.
    4. Small countries, with little effort, can challenge our nation, eg. Somalia, Haiti.

    Note: America, because of its dependence upon computer control, is the most vulnerable of all other nations.

    Information Warfare - What Are We Really Talking About?
    1. The ability to manage American perception in such a way that our foreign policy cannot be achieved. The Somalia example comes to mind.
    2. The ability to steal American industrial secrets and ultimately crush (bankrupt) American industry.
    3. In times of conflict, the ability to disrupt our nations air traffic control, power distribution, petroleum production, and financial networks.
    4. To destabilize America financially - devalue the dollar and reduce the net income of Americans.

    America's political, economic, industrial, and social infrastructure are at risk!

    Is there really a difference? After all, war is war.

    Our military has always been able to provide a shield between the enemy and the American public (except for Pearl Harbor).

    Military strategists have always taught that victory is more easily achieved when the public will is defeated. Information warfare offers that capability to our potential adversaries.

    So, what does DoD need in the information age?

    Just as our nation pulled together when faced with a cold war threat, there needs to be a new era of cooperation between DoD, Justice, Commerce, Industry, and the people of our nation.

    As a nation, we must:

    1. Recognize the threat.
    2. Provide cooperative solutions.
    3. Encourage national policy that fairly balances the needs of the many with the needs of the individual.

    In essence, it is a tough balancing act between maintaining the status quo and sharing knowledge and skills.

    Back to module 5.

    The Commerce Perspective

    Commerce's objective is to provide a national environment that is conducive to economic growth. The benefits offered by the information revolution are tremendous. Likewise, the threats to industry are great.

    The information revolution challenges the concept of patent and copyright.

    Our nation's industries are having their trade secrets stolen on a daily basis. Protection is needed. This begs the question, who is best suited to provide security advice and products? Government or private industry?

    Clearly, government agencies have the advantage in understanding and defeating the threat posed by the information age, but what are the drawbacks to having government provide the security solution?

    Note: Some members of Congress want to eliminate the Department of Commerce. Within this tutorial Commerce refers to whatever entity exists as an interface between government and commercial industry.

    The Problems

    The problems of having government-provided security products:

    1. Government does not offer an economical means of production.
    2. Government does not operate in an economically competitive mode.
    3. There is little public trust associated with government products. Has Big Brother designed it?

    So, what is the problem of having industry provide the solution?

    1. Although industry offers the best technical talent, they have limited expertise in this arena. For example, NSA has been breaking and making codes since WW II.
    2. Industry-derived solutions will be economically motivated. Security may be degraded for financial reasons.

    So, What should America do?

    The Solution

    Have government and industry work together!

    1. Government provides technical guidance to industry.
    2. Government (from intelligence assets) provides feedback to industry as to what is being compromised. This includes feedback on what is working and what is not.
    3. Government provides information on the exact nature of the foreign threat.
    4. Industry manufactures security products.
    5. Industry provides a solution to the Justice Dept's dilemma of protecting criminal activity.

    A graphical, three-tier perspective:

    Information critical to the US
    Government designed and produced
    Interface between high and low level info systems
    Commercially manufactured IAW gov specs
    Information systems for private use
    Commercially developed with no design restrictions

    Back to module 5.

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