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Nsa Documents on 'perfect Citizen' Program Raise Many More Questions

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nuclear power plant control room

The "Perfect Citizen" program aims to protect aging Internet-connected systems such as those at the nuclear power plant shown here.

Credit: Tennessee Valley Authority

More than two years after The Wall Street Journal disclosed the Perfect Citizen program, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) released documents from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) detailing the initiative, but redacted material in the documents continues to provoke questions from digital rights groups. The issues concern whether Perfect Citizen is a program to help protect digital infrastructure from cyberattack, or to monitor private networks.

The Wall Street Journal described Perfect Citizen as a system that "would rely on a set of sensors deployed in computer networks for critical infrastructure that would be triggered by unusual activity suggesting an impending cyberattack." At the time of disclosure, NSA's Judith Emmel said the system "does not involve the monitoring of communications or the placement of sensors on utility company systems." But NSA blanked out sections of the recently released documents covering three of the five technical mandates that set the scope of Perfect Citizen, as well as many descriptions of the skills required by specialized software engineers running the system.

EPIC's Jeramie Scott says his group needs the missing information to verify the extent of Perfect Citizen. "There is something going on here, and we need more information to confirm the extent of this program," Scott says.

From eWeek 
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