Homeland Security official says cyber defenders will respect civil rights
October 28, 2010
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – A high-ranking Homeland Security official says the agency will protect Americans’ civil liberties and privacy while it partners with the military to protect the nation’s computer networks.
An agreement with the military announced two weeks ago “in no way changes our respective departments’ promises to protect civil liberties and privacy,” Rear Adm. Michael Brown said Wednesday at the National Symposium on Homeland Security and Defense in Colorado Springs.
Brown is assigned to Homeland Security as assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications.
His boss, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, is scheduled to address the symposium on Thursday.
Homeland Security announced Oct. 13 that computer experts from the supersecret National Security Agency, part of the Defense Department, will work with DHS to protect the computer networks that have become the backbone of financial, communication and transportation systems.
That agreement raised concerns among civil liberties groups, who said safeguards would be needed to protect citizens’ civil rights.
Brown said the partnership won’t infringe on civil rights or expand the military’s role.
“The agreement does not give the military authority to operate inside the U.S. in the event of a cyber attack,” he said. “What it does do is formalize the process by which DOD and DHS will work together to protect the nation’s cybernetworks and increases the clarity of focus of our respective roles and responsibilities.”