In yet another reversal on a campaign promise, President Obama has changed direction on private communication networks. In May, the Obama Administration had promised to not allow the National Security Agency to screen private-sector networks, as the Bush Administration had allowed.
According to the Washington Post, the Obama Administration has reversed its direction on this issue, continuing the Bush-era “warrantless wiretapping.” AT&T will be the first system to be used.
AT&T was sued over its role in assisting the Bush Administration for this program during their tenure.
Personally, we believe this program would likely protect civil liberties, as the Bush Administration plan did. In truth, the Bush Administration plan actually required probable cause to monitor private networks, the test phase of the program under the Obama Administration does not appear to have any such restrictions. This is worth noting only in as far as it demonstrates a serious difference in campaign rhetoric versus actual policy.
There is however the risk of abuse in any program such as this. While the government is watching to protect our cyber infrastructure, citizens should monitor the program to protect their civil liberties.