Cyber cops on their way?

Obama urged to establish new office for regulating Internet

A panel of web experts from government, private and the military sectors released a report yesterday urging the next president to establish a new office of cyberspace security and begin federal regulation of the Internet.

The report, "Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency," from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank established during the Cold War, alleges the Department of Homeland Security has failed to secure the Internet and new measures are needed despite inevitable concerns about online privacy to keep America safe.

"We still have an industrial-age government that was organized a century ago," said Jim Lewis, one of CSIS's directors, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. "The DHS has a 1970s-style solution to a 21st century problem."

"The United States must treat cybersecurity as one of the most important national security challenges it faces," the CSIS panel asserts in its report. "This is a strategic issue on par with weapons of mass destruction and global jihad."

To back its claim, the panel cites a litany of cybersecurity breaches that it claims hit sensitive areas in 2007 alone:

"The unclassified e-mail of the secretary of defense was hacked, and DOD officials told us that the department's computers are probed hundreds of thousands of times each day," the panel reports. "A senior official at the Department of State told us the department had lost 'terabytes' of information. Homeland Security suffered break-ins in several of its divisions, including the Transportation Security Agency. The Department of Commerce was forced to take the Bureau of Industry and Security off-line for several months, and NASA has had to impose e-mail restrictions before shuttle launches and allegedly has seen designs for new launchers compromised.