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How far can Homeland Security take domestic surveillance?

Technology is all around us. It's responsible for that IPOD or IPHONE you take for granted, it's the reason we all have laptop computers. If technology didn't evolve, we would never have new and exciting gadgets to play with every year. You get to the point where you wonder what amazing innovation they are going to come up with next? What fantastic invention will they market to the public that you just have to have to make your life easier? Yes, technology does simplify life, almost to the point where we really struggle without our Blackberry's or computers. But with the good always comes the bad. You aren't being paranoid if you think that big brother is watching over you, and you might not even believe the extent that new technology can go to both protect and monitor you.

After 9-11, President Bush declared a global war on terror. Suddenly one of the most talked about news items was "Homeland Security" and thousands of jobs were created for those with security training or a homeland security degree. For many, this was the first glimpse into how never-ending changes to technology are benefiting people who may not have the best interests of the general public at heart. Homeland Security has several purposes, the most important in that they attempt to console the people of the USA into feeling some sort of comfort again after such a vicious attack on their country. We saw immediate changes in how we travel, socialize, and even shop. The other not so hidden purpose of Homeland Security is that it gives the Government free reign to step on civil liberties in such a way that under any other circumstances would have resulted in a massive public outcry.

The war on terror gave President Bush and his team an open invitation to monitor for, seek out, and condemn those who were deemed terrorists in his own country. Eight years after 9-11 and one newly elected President later, the USA is still under constant surveillance by the Government. Assuming that their role is to protect us from terrorists, many consider that the powers that be have every right to go to extremes in order to protect our country's independence. Others, knowing the technology that has been utilized in our countries to seek out terrorists, aren't so sure they want that type of monitoring in the USA. Yes, they are protecting our independence from the terrorists, but who is protecting our personal independence from the government?

In Iraq and Afghanistan, retinal eye scans are the military's choice to keep an eye on local terrorists. The massive database of suspected individuals and inventory of eye scans has resulted in suspects being dealt with quickly and efficiently. With this technology, they can identify a suspected terrorist and shoot them immediately. There is no need for conversation, detainment, or to put the solider in harms way. If that sounds scary to you, that's because it is. Can you imagine this type of technology in the USA? Although you may feel secure knowing that you are protected from the crazy people who hijack airplanes and plot to kill innocent citizens, this type of monitoring would mean that the Government knows everything about you, including where you went shopping that day and what you had for lunch.

Yes, the USA needs protection after 9-11. It's clear that there are terrorists who are gunning specifically for the country and that they continue to make efforts to gain entrance. The protection that has resulted due to progress of technology is mind-boggling. However, if the new innovations that are being used in the war on terror make their way to the USA, you can guarantee that the war on terror will never truly be over either. What started as a means of protection has evolved into an enterprise, where fear fuels the industry. It remains to be seen whether the fight against terrorism will give the government a legitimate reason to expand on domestic surveillance to the point where we all feel we are under a microscope.

Read More about this topic:
National Cyber "Czar", New Cybersecurity Platform
Homeland Security is Top Priority
Combat Terror with a Homeland Security Career

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National Cyber "Czar", New Cybersecurity Platform

Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Senator Joe Lieberman will offer a legislation to systematize a White House cybersecurity adviser. He told the Chamber of Commerce during a Cyberspace Conference meeting in Washington that the post will require Senate confirmation.

Although President Obama said last May that he planned to appoint a cybersecurity coordinator without requiring Senate confirmation, the position continues to be unoccupied. On the contrary, lawmakers say that cybersecurity coordinator would report to both the National Security Council and the National Economic Council; thus, he must be subjected to Senate confirmation.

Lieberman said that the cybersecurity coordinator would manage cybersecurity activities over all federal agencies, provide tactical leadership and guidance to the president and control power and assets to make modifications as needed. The cybersecurity adviser is needed "to ensure that the classified work conducted by Department of Defense and intelligence agencies is informing the defensive actions taken by our domestic agencies."

Lieberman also stated that Congress must provide the Department of Homeland Security the necessary power and human resources to supervise the federal civilian networks to protect against malicious traffic. Although DHS already has the same authority through a presidential order, he recommended that the department could expand its personnel via legislation and gain support from other federal agencies to succeed. (To learn more about entering the Department of Homeland Security, read this information about earning your homeland security degree.)

Furthermore, Lieberman stated that DHS must identify the weaknesses in the IT systems of businesses, especially the financial, power, and transportation infrastructures, and protect them from cyber attacks. He added that DHS should also identify the most critical cyber infrastructure and ask its operators to perform risk assessments to identify existing vulnerabilities. DHS will then work with these companies to decide the best way to mitigate the vulnerabilities but will not mandate a one-size-fits all strategy to bolster security.

Lieberman also discussed his plans for DHS to establish a voluntary cybersecurity standards program to encourage businesses to comply with specific standards through a certification program and award them a seal of approval that will be placed on the company's website, similar to the standards of Good Housekeeping or Energy Seals.

Lieberman also expressed his plans to tighten federal acquisition policies to guarantee IT wares are preconfigured with security controls and grant agencies employment and salary flexibilities to attract competent IT security experts.

While Leiberman laid out his proposal to the executives of the Chamber of Commerce, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano disclosed the new 61-station National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in northern Virginia. This center will merge the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team and the National Coordinating Center for Telecommunications. Napolitano also displayed vivid charts and maps of possible cyber threats and suspicious internet traffic. He also revealed that the watch center will allow high-tech teams to monitor government networks to work better together.

Read more about this topic:
Fighting Cyber Crime, one computer at a time - Cyber security focuses on issues such as identity theft, computer hacking and viruses, and other horrific crimes such as the use of child pornography and cyber stalking. 20 years ago there was no need for specialists in this area, because our technology simply wasn’t what it is today.

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Homeland Security Officer: Career Profile

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Its mission is to secure the nation from the many threats we face. DHS is primarily responsible for protecting the nation from terrorist attacks and responding to natural disasters. It makes sure that all US borders, seaports, and airways are secure. They also analyze, research, and develop innovative security technology that would help in performing their jobs during natural disasters or terrorist attacks. They also analyze intelligence reports to prevent, deter, and detect any threats to the homeland.

A career in homeland security gives an opportunity to protect and serve the country and its citizens.

Homeland security is a new career, but there is a vast employment option available. Several different agencies employ homeland security officers including the US Capitol Police, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, the US Secret Service, the Federal Protective Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Transportation Security Administration and Park Services. Each department offers the opportunity to work in intelligence operations, either as an undercover agent or an active duty officer. New career opportunities for security officers are created each time.

Ideally, a homeland security officer should have excellent communication skills and computer savvy to be able to deal with the latest technology. A homeland security officer should also be a reliable individual with good judgment and has the ability to stay calm during chaotic situations.

A homeland security officer is required to have a four-year college degree in criminal science, forensics, computer science, accounting, etc. He may also need to have a specialized homeland security degree, depending on the field.

As part of the application process, each agency of DHS has a different series of tests that an applicant must complete. The first part of the application process for a homeland security officer is the physical fitness portion. Thus, an applicant must be in top physical condition to effectively carry out the rigorous duties of the job. The applicant must also go through a rigorous training camp or academy, which can go from six weeks to ten months, depending on the requirements of the agency you are working for. After passing the training, the applicant must pass another final test to be permanently hired.

When hired, the new homeland security officer will be assigned in an area where he is needed most. Although he cannot choose his first assignment, his family can join him from this point onwards. Working schedule also varies. He may be asked to work on a long shift and rotating schedule during odd hours. Homeland Security Officers receive good benefits and job security.

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