The NSA director and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, Admiral Michael Rogers, told a Washington cybersecurity forum that legislators need the creation of a legal framework to regulate the operations conducted by law enforcement and intelligence-gathering organizations worldwide.
Rogers urge to “come up with a legal framework that enables us within some quasi-process to address… valid concerns if I have indications to believe that this phone, that this path is being used for criminal, or in my case, foreign intelligence or national security issues.”Rogers said. “We fully comply with the law,” “We do that foreign intelligence mission operating within (a legal) framework.”
The Admiral Rogers explained that in order to contrast the numerous threats against the country, including the terrorism, the authorities need access to encrypted devices, and more in general, to break the encryption used to protect sensitive data.
Rogers shared concerns expressed by FBI Director James Comey about decision of IT giants like Apple and Google to implement data encryption by default in their solutions, including mobile devices.
“Broadly, I share director Comey’s concern,” Rogers said. “Most of the debate I’ve seen is that it’s either all or nothing, that it’s either total encryption or no encryption at all.”
Roger remarked the importance of technology for our society and the necessity to address every threat that could abuse it.
NSA Director Rogers explained that the US is losing between $100 billion and $400 billion worth of intellectual property to theft each year. The NSA director reported as an example the continuous attacks against Department of Defense contractors that are exposing also the military secret to risks of theft. The US Intelligence needs the cooperation of private companies to protect its citizens.
“We have shown in other areas that through both technology and a legal framework and a social compact that we can take on tough issues, and I hope we can do the same thing here,” he said.
The document disclosed by Edward Snowden raised the indignation of many Governments worldwide for the “aggressive” surveillance programs of the US intelligence, the leakage of the secret documents has a significant impact on the US intelligence and its activities.
“Snowden has had a material impact on our ability to perform counterterror operations,” Rogers argued. “Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know what they are talking about.”
The NSA director didn’t comment on the latest revelations made by Snowden related to the malware secretly spread by the Agency to compromise the hard drives of computers worldwide and the hack of the SIM cards manufacturer Germalto.
During the discussion, the cryptographer Bruce Schneier explained that it is not possible to prevent the threat actors from accessing encrypted communications while allowing U.S. authorities to do so.
Schneier also asked to Rogers how to assure Americans that U.S. tech products are safe, and the NSA provided the following reply:
“Thats why we need a framework,” said the NSA Director Rogers “This is a legitimate question. ‘What is the economic impact?’ With policy and laws we can get to a better place.”
(Security Affairs – NSA Director Rogers, Intelligence)