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It's Time to Split Up NSA between Spooks and Geeks

pickens (49171) writes | more than 4 years ago

Security 0

Hugh Pickens writes "Noah Shachtman writes in Wired that most of us know the National Security Agency (NSA) as the supersecret spook shop that allegedly slurped up our email and phone calls after the September 11 attacks but not so many know that the NSA is actually home to two different agencies under one roof: the signals-intelligence directorate who can tap into any electronic communication and the information-assurance directorate, the cybersecurity nerds who make sure our government’s computers and telecommunications systems are hacker- and eavesdropper-free. "The problem is, their goals are often in opposition," writes Shachtman. "One team wants to exploit software holes; the other wants to repair them." Users want to know that Google is safeguarding their data and privacy. The trouble is that when Google calls the NSA, everyone watching sees it as a package deal. Google wants geeks, but it runs the risk of getting spies, too. So if Google appeals to the NSA, it could poison its relationship with its customers. A broken-out bureau — call it the Cyber Security Agency, or CSA — that didn’t include the spooks would eliminate this conflict. “A separate information-assurance agency,” says Michael Tanji, a 21-year veteran of intelligence services, including the NSA, “will have a greater level of acceptance across the government and the private sector.”"

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