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White House includes piracy in definition of 'cyber threat'

updated 09:45 pm EST, Thu February 14, 2013

Circular language in previous bill, address labels pirates as terrorists

In a clarification of language seemingly against the aims of the executive order, the White House has defined some terms found in the President's call to arms for US Internet security. Actions noted as a "cyber threat" include, but are not limited to, web site defacement, espionage either against a government or a business, denial of service attacks, destructive malware, and theft of intellectual property.

White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden defined the threats in an email to The Verge. When asked what the vague term "critical infrastructure" mentioned in the executive order referred to, she wrote that the order "relies on the definition of critical infrastructure found in the Homeland Security Act of 2002."

The 2002 bill points to a 2001 bill posted in the wake of the September 11 attacks, and it defines "critical infrastructure" as "systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters."

The structure of the executive order, as well as the possible implementation of CISPA to meet the presidential executive order requirements leads to a situation where the theft of intellectual property, no matter how small, could result in terrorism laws being applied against the "thief." The president threatened to veto CISPA the first time around, as he felt it did not address civil rights or citizenry privacy issues, but with the issue being prominent post-state of the union address, his intention is now unknown.

The Department of Homeland Security has been ordered to release information on how this order's implementation puts US citizens' privacy and civil liberties at risk, and how the Secretary of Homeland Security can "minimize or mitigate such risks." The Department of Homeland Security has had the most complaints against it over any other federal agency for violating civil rights and citizen privacy of any agency over a 25-year period, despite having only been extant for 13 years.



By Electronista Staff
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