NSA Wants “EZ Pass” Control for Internet
July 30, 2012
General Keith Alexander, the NSA boss, wants the government to centralize the internet and force users to use a system analogous to EZ Pass.
EZ Pass is an RFID transponder system used for toll collection on roads, bridges, and tunnels in the United States.
“What we need for cybersecurity is something analogous to that,” Alexander told the annual Def Con computer hacking conference in Las Vegas.. “Think of us as the EZ Pass on the highway.”
“When you go down the highway, and you go down the EZ Pass lane, what you’re doing is sending that code. That system is not looking in your car, reading the e-mail, or intercepting anything, it’s just getting that code,” he said.
In other words, the government should vet all users with a checkpoint. “All you need to pass is the fact of a signature and IP address in real time, and we can take it from there,” said Alexander.
The super secret cryptologic intelligence agency wouldn’t track and scrutinize your behavior on the internet, according to Alexander. The EZ Pass “system is not looking in your car, reading the e-mail, or intercepting anything, it’s just getting that code,” he insisted.
EZ Pass, however, does not simply “get the code” and allow access to the highway. It trades “a bit of privacy for a load of convenience,” the New York Times pointed out in 2005.
The NSA’s latest scheme to track and trace the online behavior of Americans – despite Alexander’s assertions to the contrary – is part of a long history of poking into the private affairs of Americans.
Following Truman’s executive order creating the super-secret intelligence agency in 1952 as an instrument of the national security state, the NSA launched Operation Shamrock. The secret operation illegally intercepted the telegrams of Americans without a search warrant and the telecoms of the day fully cooperated, according to L. Britt Snider, a congressional investigator who uncovered Shamrock.
A few months after the 9/11 attacks, then president Bush “secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials,” the New York Times reported in 2005.
NSA officialdom attempted to portray the warrantless searches as “a sea change” and new territory for the agency – insisting that all previous searches were conducted on overseas communications – despite Operation Shamrock and the distinct possibility the agency has engaged in likewise activity over its 60 year history.
In order to convert a decentralized internet into a massive centralized surveillance and tracking system, the government will have to sell us on the largely bogus threat of cyber attacks and the over-hyped prospect of “dirty numbers” shutting down power grids and the computer networks that run America’s infrastructure.
In fact critical infrastructure is not connected to the internet and the threat posed by hackers (who may or may not be government operatives) is largely an issue for under-protected government and corporate networks.
Alexander peddled his scripted propaganda line in February when he told the Wall Street Journal that the hacktavist collective Anonymous may soon have the capability to take down the power grid in the United States through a cyberattack. Techies up to speed on the technology, however, dismissed Alexander’s propaganda as absurd.
Jerry Brito, senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, told SecurityNewsDaily that while Anonymous is capable of defacing websites and engaging in disruptive denial of service attacks, it would take the resources of government to knock out networks. As an example, consider the United States and Israel taking down Iran’s nuclear infrastructure with finely honed malware.
The government and its super-secret intelligence agencies will not rest until they convert the internet – in fact, the entire telecommunications system – into a real-time surveillance and tracking tool.
Unfortunately, we are but one manufactured false flag event away from that possibility becoming a reality.