FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The National Security Threat in the Digital Revolution

September 13, 2019 at 1:03 am Leave a comment

NSA official says technology could upend U.S. national security infrastructure

 

170719-N-YG104-022An opinion piece on the New York Times website this week (September 10, 2019) sounds an alarm over the cyber threats posed by the digital revolution sweeping through all aspects of U.S. society.

Glenn S. Gerstell, general counsel of the National Security Agency (NSA), says it is “almost impossible to overstate the challenges” and “profound implications for our federal security agencies” that the general onrush of technology presents. The NSA leads the U.S. Government in cryptology, the study of codes — both creating and breaking them — which encompasses both signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance (or cybersecurity) products and services. The agency also enables computer network operations for the United States and its allies.

Unlike previous transformational technologies like railroads, electricity, radio and airplanes — which took decades to reach widespread use — cell phones, the Internet and social media have spread and shaped society in a time frame without precedent, Gerstell writes in his lengthy article.

Air Traffic Control for Food for Thought

(U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Crysta Gonzalez)

One example of the many challenges he cites is understanding how adversaries might use artificial intelligence (AI) in the future, including data poisoning — feeding misinformation to AI systems to corrupt or defeat them, such as causing a driverless vehicle to ignore a stop sign.  What are the implications for future autonomous weapons such as drones or armed robots? What are the protocols by which they will be controlled?

The sheer amount of data generated by individual and commercial activities will require enormous investments by the United States and its allies to upgrade national security and surveillance systems — perhaps much more than the roughly $60 billion the United States already spends annually on the intelligence community, which includes the FBI, CIA and a dozen other civilian and military agencies.

But it will take more than money to cope with unprecedented technological change, adapt to a world of continuous cyber conflict, navigate concepts of privacy and power that comes with access to big data, and to counter the effects of malign use of the Internet, according to Gerstell.

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Top photo: Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Sarah Villegas, U.S. Navy.

 

 

 

 

 

Entry filed under: Counter Terrorism, Homeland Security, International Crime, National Security and Defense, Skills and Training, Technology, Unconventional Warfare, Unmanned Systems, Washington, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , .

FRIDAY FOTO (September 6, 2019) FRIDAY FOTO (September 13, 2019)

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