NSA official feels access to more data is the way to go

9 Jan 2015

Following the Sony Pictures hack, the US National Security Agency (NSA) has called for greater access to companies’ information to stop future cyberattacks.

Mike Rogers, head of the NSA’s Cyber Command, fears that there’s “little price to pay” for stealing US government or corporate data.

In response, it’s fair to query what price there is to pay for stealing swathes of personal data. You won’t get a satisfactory answer, though.

“What we’ve seen in the last six to nine months in general (…) trends are going in the wrong direction,” he said in The Wall Street Journal.

Rogers implored business executives to share more information with the government to help prevent cyberattacks, something the NSA has been publicly calling for ever since former CIA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the organisation’s appetite for meta data.

Heard it all before

Only last November Robert Hannigan, new head of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), called for similar support, asking tech giants and communications operators to open their doors and release private information.

Hannigan wrote “some technology companies are in denial” about their misuse by certain terrorist groups, most notably the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Then Stewart Baker, a former lawyer for the NSA, claimed encryption is bad, pitting tech companies against governments.

Now the NSA itself has taken up the baton of irony. “Doing more of the same and expecting different results, my military experience tells me, is not a particularly effective strategy,” said Rogers. Indeed.

Elsewhere, Snowden has been quoted today on PBS, following his interview for a documentary film called Nova, due out later this year.

Snowden claimed the US continually relies on attack when it comes to online activities, and that securing the web is perhaps a better approach.
“We need to be focusing more on creating a more secure, more reliable, more robust, and more trusted internet, not one that’s weaker, not one that relies on this systemic model of exploiting every vulnerability, every threat out there.”

Surveillance image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic