To combat cyber attacks, the U.S. may need more than new cyber defenses. It might need a whole new piece of Internet infrastructure. So says former CIA director Michael Hayden, who served under President G.W. Bush, and he’s not the only one. Several lawmakers and the current Cyber Command chief Gen. Keith Alexander are toying with the notion of creating a “.secure” domain where Fourth Amendment rights to privacy are voluntarily foregone in order to keep that corner of the Internet free of cyber criminals.
The idea goes something like this: China and other regimes around the world inherently have an upper hand when it comes to cyber defense because their lack of civil liberty protections lets the government freely monitor online activity. Things like “deep packet inspection” (which gained notoriety during Iranian election protests back in 2009) that let governments monitor citizens traffic also let them monitor for unusual activity.That activity could be cyber criminals at work, or it could be foreign-backed cyber warriors and cyber spies working to weaken a nation’s infrastructure or penetrate sensitive government systems. Regardless, other countries are better protected. The U.S. Internet, by virtue of its adherence civil liberties, is more like the wild west. Everyone does everything online anonymously, and while that’s great for liberties, it’s also dangerous when cyber criminals/foreign hackers are roaming the cyber countryside.