Breaking up the NSA
In a Wired series on how to “save the net,” Bruce Schneier argues the best reform for the NSA is a full break up. Founded over 60 years ago, it may be time to unplug the NSA.
The earlier nature of electronic communication allowed the NSA to surveil passively, tapping into global networks. But the modern Internet, Schneier argues, is now a “single global Internet infrastructure that requires active attack to eavesdrop on.”
Having too many missions overburdened the Space Shuttle, raising costs and limiting value for individual missions. Schneier has a similar view:
the problem is that the NSA has too many missions: a military mission dedicated to network attacks and political espionage, a law enforcement mission focused on individual bad actors across the globe, and a defensive mission devoted to protecting the nation’s information infrastructure.
Schneier argues that NSA’s mission domestic and international mission should be run by separate organizations, but that:
When I present this proposal to military-minded people, the most common reaction is to say it would be inefficient. There would be duplication of effort and redundancy of expertise. That’s true. My counterargument is that efficiency is not the most important goal here; security and liberty are. Deliberately making the police less efficient is how we currently protect ourselves from overreaching police power.