The National Security Agency (NSA) has a new domestic surveillance system named "Perfect Citizen." Can you get any more Orwellian than that?
The federal government is launching an expansive program dubbed "Perfect Citizen" to detect cyber assaults on private companies and government agencies running such critical infrastructure as the electricity grid and nuclear-power plants, according to people familiar with the program.
The surveillance by the National Security Agency, the government's chief eavesdropping agency, would rely on a set of sensors deployed in computer networks for critical infrastructure that would be triggered by unusual activity suggesting an impending cyber attack, though it wouldn't persistently monitor the whole system, these people said.
Defense contractor Raytheon Corp. recently won a classified contract for the initial phase of the surveillance effort valued at up to $100 million, said a person familiar with the project.
Some industry and government officials familiar with the program see Perfect Citizen as an intrusion by the NSA into domestic affairs, while others say it is an important program to combat an emerging security threat that only the NSA is equipped to provide.
A U.S. military official called the program long overdue and said any intrusion into privacy is no greater than what the public already endures from traffic cameras. It's a logical extension of the work federal agencies have done in the past to protect physical attacks on critical infrastructure that could sabotage the government or key parts of the country, the official said.
The classified program is now being expanded with funding from the multibillion-dollar Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, which started at the end of the Bush administration and has been continued by the Obama administration, officials said. With that infusion of money, the NSA is now seeking to map out intrusions into critical infrastructure across the country.
Because the program is still in the early stages, much remains to be worked out, such as which computer control systems will be monitored and how the data will be collected. NSA would likely start with the systems that have the most important security implications if attacked, such as electric, nuclear, and air-traffic-control systems, they said.
While the government can't force companies to work with it, it can provide incentives to urge them to cooperate, particularly if the government already buys services from that company, officials said.
The major giveaway here is that, "intrusion into privacy is no greater than what the public already endures from traffic cameras." In other words, it will be an intrusion, they will be collecting data on you, and like everything else government, it will grow and become more intrusive over time. Notice too how the government plans "nudge" companies, "particularly if the government already buys services from that company." Corporatism.
It's also interesting to note how in a declining economy, with state governments in default and a federal government buried in record debt, this "classified program is now being expanded with funding from the multibillion-dollar Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative."
Goodbye "land of the free" ... Hello "Fascism with a Smiley Face."
See also: Crack the Code in Cyber Command’s Logo