Orwell’s Dream? U.S. Cybersecurity Program May Scan Private Web Traffic

The U.S. government is reportedly expanding its cybersecurity program beyond tracking e-mails and Web traffic among and between defense contractors, taking its watchful eye into other areas of private, civilian Internet usage. This expansion is apparently in response of a executive order from the White House in February regarding cybersecurity, and is could very well affect employees in various private-business sectors like transportation, utilities and big banks – areas where classified information could be transmitted.

The government scans will primarily be keyed by classified information supplied by U.S. intelligence agencies regarding any new or serious ongoing threats or hacking attempts. Under this program, the Department of Homeland Security to gather the data and give it to a consortium of telecom companies and cybersecurity providers with the proper level of government clearance. This consortium will sort through all of the information provided in e-mail and Web traffic and deliver an aggregate report (not any specific data that would reveal individuals) to DHS.

“That allows us to provide more sensitive information,” said a senior DHS official who was not named. “We will provide the information to the security service providers that they need to perform this function.”

By the way, in case you’re wondering – there is not, as of yet, an official definition of the types of “classified” data that will be tracked.

What do you think about this new cybersecurity program? Does ti go too far with personal liberty for the sake of security? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.