How, in the name of greater security, our current electronic surveillance policies are creating major security risks.
Digital communications are the lifeblood of modern society. We “meet up” online, tweet our reactions millions of times a day, connect through social networking rather than in person. Large portions of business and commerce have moved to the Web, and much of our critical infrastructure, including the electric power grid, is controlled online. This reliance on information systems leaves us highly exposed and vulnerable to cyberattack. Despite this, U.S. law enforcement and national security policy remain firmly focused on wiretapping and surveillance. But, as cybersecurity expert Susan Landau argues in Surveillance or Security?, the old surveillance paradigms do not easily fit the new technologies. By embedding eavesdropping mechanisms into communication technology itself, we are building tools that could be turned against us and opting for short-term security and creating dangerous long-term risks.
How can we get communications security right? Landau offers a set of principles to govern wiretapping policy that will allow us to protect our national security as well as our freedom.