Department of Justice secretly gave internet service providers immunity when conducting surveillance

Madison Ruppert

End the Lie

According to documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Department of Justice secretly authorized the interception of electronic communications on certain parts of AT&T and other internet service providers’ networks.

Previously, EPIC obtained documents on the National Security Agency’s Perfect Citizen program which involves monitoring private computer networks. This latest revelation deals with an entirely different program first called Defense Industrial Base Cyber Pilot, or DIB Cyber Pilot, though it is now operating as Enhanced Cybersecurity Services.

While this type of activity might be illegal under federal wiretapping legislation, the Obama administration gave the companies immunity when monitoring networks under a cybersecurity pilot program.

“The Justice Department is helping private companies evade federal wiretap laws,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC. “Alarm bells should be going off.”

The alarm bells should get louder when one realizes that while this collaboration between the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the private sector began focusing only on defense contractors, the program was massively expanded.

Thanks to an executive order dated February 12, 2013 entitled, “Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity,” the program was widened significantly.

The order expanded it to cover other “critical infrastructure industries” which includes “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.”

Declan McCullagh, writing for CNET, points out that this includes “all critical infrastructure sectors including energy, healthcare, and finance starting June 12.”

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