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Surveillance or Security?

Surveillance or Security?: The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies

Susan Landau
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    Surveillance or Security?
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-29558-1
    Subjects: Technology, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Author’s Note
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Communication lies at the heart of being human. Communication can be private—the whispered conversations of two lovers, the secretive negotiations of politicians, the hushed deals of businesspeople—or highly public—marriage ceremonies, civic speeches, announcements of products and mergers.

    The invention of electronic communications—the telegraph in 1844, followed by the telephone three decades later—enabled conversation at a distance and substantially changed the way people interact. Cell phones, the Internet, and other communication devices have so magnified this change that in the modern world it is quite likely that more “conversations” occur electronically than face to face. This...

  7. 2 Communication Networks and Their Architectures
    (pp. 13-36)

    I have three telephones on my desk: a slim beige push-button model with redial and speed-dial buttons purchased in the late 1990s, a squat black 1950s “Modern Telephone”¹ with letters along the dial and a real bell inside, and a stripped-down Nokia cell phone. One phone is for my work line, one for my home line, and one for travel. Yet despite the diversity of devices and the half century that separates their manufacture, all work over the same network, commonly called the Public Switched Telephone Network or PSTN. While everyone knows that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone,² his...

  8. 3 Securing the Internet Is Difficult
    (pp. 37-64)

    At a celebration marking the ARPANET’s twentieth anniversary, Danny Cohen, one of the Internet “pioneers,”¹ provided a poetic description of the network’s origins:

    In the Beginning, ARPA created the ARPANET. And the ARPANET was without form and void. And darkness was upon the deep. And the spirit of ARPA moved upon the face of the network and ARPA said, “Let there be a protocol,” and there was a protocol. And ARPA saw that it was good. And ARPA said, “Let there be more protocols,” and it was so. And ARPA saw that it was good. And ARPA said, “Let there...

  9. 4 Wiretaps and the Law
    (pp. 65-96)

    It is well known that human perception and actual events are often at odds. That dissonance is particularly notable in our perceptions of the patterns of our daily lives. Once certain practices have been present for a period of time, it becomes difficult to recall that things were ever different. Whether this is our present reliance on cell phones, or law enforcement and national security reliance on wiretapping, our belief systems would have us think that circumstances were always like this.

    In the case of cell phones and legalized wiretapping, such beliefs are false, of course. Cell phones became common...

  10. 5 The Effectiveness of Wiretapping
    (pp. 97-122)

    Immediately after the September 11 attacks, the United States embarked on a series of efforts to protect itself. Some measures, such as physical protection of critical infrastructure, were adopted without controversy (although these were not always implemented as well as they might have been). Others such asdata mining, analyzing massive data sets for “interesting” patterns, andbehavioral surveillance, monitoring peoples’ involuntary reactions¹ to determine what they are actually thinking, were highly controversial. There were strong protests that these techniques abused civil rights, but generally the programs continued during the Bush administration.²

    The critics had been asking the wrong question....

  11. 6 Evolving Communications Technologies
    (pp. 123-144)

    In the nineteenth century, the invention of the telephone, telegraph, and telex changed the practice of business and government. The process was gradual, but when it was done, it had fundamentally transformed the way work was done. Although written letters and signed documents still had their place, the world was now one in which important communications took place electronically. That transformation took decades.

    A second communications revolution began in the mid-1990s. The opening up of the Internet to commercial traffic, the massive laying down of fiber-optic cable around the globe, and the worldwide adoption of cellular phones occurred at a...

  12. 7 Who Are the Intruders? What Are They Targeting?
    (pp. 145-174)

    The Morris worm made the front page of theNew York Timesin November 1988. As computers and connections to the Internet have become widespread, so have attacks on computer systems, and these now only rarely make the news. Two other aspects of cyberattacks have changed as well. Such exploits once carried a certain prank status and occasionally even an outlaw romantic air. That is long gone in the wake of the serious disruption caused. The other change has been in the nature of the attackers.

    Originally computer-system vulnerabilities were exploited by those seemingly curious to test their ability to...

  13. 8 Security Risks Arising from Wiretapping Technology
    (pp. 175-202)

    From the 1940s to the 1970s the U.S. government received copies of most international telegrams sent from the United States.¹ In 1969 NSA began monitoring communications containing information “on U.S. organizations or individuals who were engaged in activities which may result in civil disturbances.”² In a decade that saw hundreds of thousands of Americans marching to support civil rights and later to oppose U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, such surveillance involved wiretapping thousands of U.S. citizens whose protests should have been legally protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.³

    Instead, “ordinary citizens involved in protests against their...

  14. 9 Policy Risks Arising from Wiretapping
    (pp. 203-224)

    The United States has led the world not only through technology and innovation, but also as a moral leader. For decades the Statue of Liberty has stood as a beacon of hope, offering economic and political freedoms. This freedom has played an important role in keeping the United States secure from homegrown terrorism, while European democracies have come under attack from their own citizenry. But the technological and policy changes enacted beginning in 1994 with the passage of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, and continuing with the USA PATRIOT Act and the warrantless wiretapping of the Bush presidency,...

  15. 10 Communication during Crises
    (pp. 225-232)

    Four years after the attacks of September 11, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeastern Louisiana. A category 5 storm in the Gulf of Mexico and category 3 by the time it reached the Louisiana coast, Katrina was one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic. The storm was followed a month later by Rita, another hurricane of surprising strength. Thousands of deaths and huge financial losses resulted. While the aftermath of the storm caused a major political fallout, the storm had surprisingly little impact on the general public’s conception of crises, which continued to focus on terrorist attacks....

  16. 11 Getting Communications Security Right
    (pp. 233-254)

    When the Internet was a DARPA effort, what little security there was focused on protecting network communications. As the Internet became a public system in the mid-1990s, the computer-security conversation moved to the risks posed by and to networked systems. A new word,cybersecurity, emerged to describe such perceived dangers. Cybersecurity posited new types of threats: threats to the reliability and availability of the network itself; threats created by use of the network by criminals for communication, theft, and child pornography, and by terrorists for operational planning and recruitment; and threats created by the use of the network to support...

  17. Epilogue
    (pp. 255-256)

    At the end of World War II, the United States entered into a period where it was at the height of its powers. Except for Pearl Harbor, the nation had experienced no serious attacks on U.S. territory, and its industrial strength was unparalleled. Meanwhile much of Europe lay in ruins, the Soviet Union had suffered the loss of 26 million people, and Japan had lost the war and saw much of its manufacturing base in ruins. China was impoverished and in the middle of a civil war. It was then that the paradigm for the next fifty years of U.S....

  18. Notes
    (pp. 257-338)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 339-344)
  20. Index
    (pp. 345-383)