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27 May, 2009 08:46

US may soon get a “cyber tsar”

President Obama is expected to announce his decision to appoint a senior White House official who will be in charge of protecting the nation's networks aimed at preventing cyber attacks on various sectors.

American internet users are asking themselves whether they are living in a slowly but surely culture of surveillance. The debate is whether the appointment is in the interests of national security or is the federal government merely snooping on internet users, looking at what they are reading, watching or sharing?

Interestingly, there is a bill currently making its way through Congress which, if passed, will result in a major power shift over the internet from private users and companies to the federal government. This means that government will have unprecedented power over the internet.

Barack Obama drafted his campaign aiming to make cyber security a top priority in his administration, so the appointment of a cyber tsar reporting directly to the president is no surprise. The appointed person will be able to tell Barack Obama, at any time, about whatever happens in the virtual world.

It is obvious that Obama’s administration is taking some drastic steps in this issue.

US research and analyses has shown that if a full-scale internet crisis was to happen right now, the US government would not be able to deal with it because there is no central cyber command.

American governmental officials are desperately trying to avoid what they call a “cyber Katrina”. All these different fragmented departments of the government and different bureaucracies do not share information with each other.

In case of a major internet crisis they would not be able to come out with an adequate concerted response and that is what the US governmental officials are really trying to avoid.

One central cyber commander will ensure that all different cyber agencies will respond to a common threat concurrently.