NSA Plans to Launch ‘Perfect Citizen’ Cybersecurity Program

The National Security Agency is trying to protect our most important infrastructures- those of power plants, air traffic control systems and the electrical grid.

In order to do this, the NSA plans to launch Perfect Citizen, a cybersecurity program set to analyze these infrastructures, find their vulnerabilities, and develop capabilities to fix them. In an email sent Thursday to InformationWeek, “NSA refuted parts of an earlier Wall Street Journal report that the effort, called Perfect Citizen, would monitor communications or place ‘sensors’ on utility company systems, instead calling it ‘a research and engineering effort.’ “

The major question is whether or not the NSA has the right to perform these actions in the first place.  How far will Perfect Citizen go?  What methods will be used in order to do what the program is trying to do?  Will this program infringe upon infrastructure owners’ privacy?

The NSA Web site explains that “The Information Assurance mission confronts the formidable challenge of preventing foreign adversaries from gaining access to sensitive or classified national security information.”  But it doesn’t explain to what extend they’ll go to in order to do this.  You can’t plug all of the holes in cyber security unless you start reading employee emails, scanning financial documents, and monitoring company Internet use to see where every little bit of information is going.  Of course the NSA says that no monitoring would happen in Perfect Citizen, but how can you fix vulnerabilities without doing so?

Perfect Citizen is only one step on the road to complete government control over technology.  It may seem like a leap to some, but not to myself.  I understand the government wanting to protect our country and its citizens from incoming attacks, but there’s only so much you can do before you start breaking the Constitution.

I put this on the same line as George W. Bush’s wireless tapping escapade during his presidency.