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The U.S. Department of Defense may have funded the research that led to the Internet, but freewheeling innovation created the patchwork of privately owned technology that makes up the Internet today. Now the U.S. government is trying to wrest back some control, as it adjusts to an era when cyberattacks on U.S. corporations and government agencies are common.
At the RSA computer security conference yesterday, representatives of the White House, U.S. Department of Defense, and National Security Agency said that safeguarding U.S. interests required them to take a more active role in governing what has been a purely commercial, civilian resource. But some experts are concerned that the growing influence of defense and military organizations on the operation and future development of the Internet will compromise the freedom that has made it a success...
The NSA and DoD intend to shape the way private companies build and use Internet infrastructure, and have corporations help them respond more actively to detect and clean up after an attack does take place...
...Richard Hale, the Department of Defense's deputy chief information officer for cybersecurity, said that his department had begun sharing classified information about cyberdefense with 36 industrial companies deemed to be vital; in return, these companies are expected to share information about any attacks they experience.
Speaking alongside Hale and Plunkett, the Obama administration's Howard Schmidt said the days of the Internet developing organically and without a centralized imperative to build in security or control channels needed to end. "Let's not just roll it out like we used to do and then fix the problem," he said. "We really have to change that around, to give anybody trying to intrude into our systems a harder time. If we don't do this, we all suffer."