July 8th, 2010
(RawStory) – The National Security Agency has begun work on an “expansive” spy system that will monitor critical infrastructure inside the United States for cyber-attacks, in a move that detractors say could end up violating privacy rights and expanding the NSA’s domestic spying abilities.
The Wall Street Journal cites unnamed sources as saying that the NSA has issued a $100-million contract to defense contractor Raytheon to build a system dubbed “Perfect Citizen,” which will involve placing “sensors” at critical points in the computer networks of private and public organizations that run infrastructure, organizations such as nuclear power plants and electric grid operators.
July 8, 2010
In an email obtained by the Journal, an unnamed Raytheon employee describes the system as “Big Brother.”
“The overall purpose of the [program] is our Government…feel[s] that they need to insure the Public Sector is doing all they can to secure Infrastructure critical to our National Security,” the email states. “Perfect Citizen is Big Brother.”
“Raytheon declined to comment on this email,” the Journal reports.
Some officials familiar with Perfect Citizen see it “as an intrusion by the NSA into domestic affairs, while others say it is an important program to combat an emerging security threat that only the NSA is equipped to provide,” the Journal states.
The program is reportedly being funded under the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, a program launched by the Bush administration in January, 2008, and continued under the Obama administration. The initiative is budgeted to cost $40 billion over several years.