This week it was announced that NSA chief Keith Alexander was keen to expand the sharing of threat information in order to better protect the US government and its allies.
Bearing in mind the issues the NSA has faced over the past few months: from Snowden to conference heckling, this could appear to be a good PR stunt by the agency to better repel criticism in the light of doing something positive. It’s not like the public are going to suddenly forget and forgive, but showing that it is acting for good could be a sensible step forward.
According to Threatpost, in his keynote speech at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit, Alexander called for the authority to share mutually with other government agencies, and protect what is classified.
He went on to say that there is a need to work with industry, with other countries and internet service providers to build a shared situational awareness as “if we can’t see it, we can’t respond to it”.
It will take a major PR effort and lots of goodwill to win back any fans for the agency, but talking at an event I attended in central London today, Mike Janke, co-founder of Silent Circle said that he welcomed a level of analysis if it stopped attacks, but also said that he “didn’t know a single power that Government has granted itself that it has ever pulled back”. Does this mean that Prism is still being operated; I guess we have not really considered that, in which case I had better look at another story as they are watching me.
In other US government news from this week, it seems that the sun-soaked teenagers of California will be given the opportunity to “erase” their past mistakes and misdemeanours with a new legal ruling. According to Sophos
’ Naked Security blog, the bill is currently being passed through the levels of government, but once passed through the Senate unanimously, it will guarantee privacy rights for minors in California as well as an ‘eraser button’ which will allow them to delete their faux pas.
This new bill will make the West Coast state the first in the US to require websites to allow under-18s to remove their own content from the site, as well as to make it clear how to do so.
In the past, there has been excellent guidance to children and teenagers on their digital footprint, especially with (ISC)2’s Safe and Secure program. In 2009 I met with former Information Commissioner Richard Thomas to talk about modern threats and trends in data protection and information security, he said
that discussions with social networks about clearer privacy settings and data retention had been positive, but more could be done for people to protect themselves. “If people want to have their profile taken off then our broad approach was that they should be able to remove it altogether, and that is an ongoing discussion,” he said.
The California law will cover content posted by the child making the re
moval request, and not anything that their friends or family may have uploaded about them, and only requires removal of information from public websites and not from servers. California’s governor Jerry Brown is yet to take a stance on the bill but if he fails to sign it by the mid-October deadline, it will become law even without his signature from 1st January 1, 2015.
By that time, there could be a whole new internet anyway, especially if John McAfee gets his wish. According to ZDnet
, the software pioneer and eccentric
has promised to create a new version of the internet that is impossible to hack, penetrate and vastly superior in terms of its facility and neutrality. We’ll wait with baited breath.