Digital times mean digital crimes. But catching and convicting criminals, or even nations, that dabble in digital espionage, cyber attacks, and cyber terrorism is no easy task. Google – and the U.S. State Department – recently pointed the finger at China for a string of sophisticated cyber attacks on U.S. companies, but proving guilt in the matter will be tricky. Then there are the buckets of data that intelligence agencies pull from captured laptops and hard drives in terror sweeps; we have the files, but it can be difficult to figure out who's aiding America's enemies or what they are up to. Enter DARPA's Cyber Genome Program, aimed at creating a paternity test for digital artifacts.
The DoD's future-tech think tank has issued a call for technologies that will bolster America's digital defenses by collecting, identifying and tracing the lineage of software, data and digital files. To wit:
The Cyber Genome Program will encompass several program phases and technical areas of interest. Each of the technical areas will develop the cyber equivalent of fingerprints or DNA to facilitate developing the digital equivalent of genotype, as well as observed and inferred phenotype in order to determine the identity, lineage, and provenance of digital artifacts and users.
The ability to look at a file and trace it back to its source would help intelligence and law enforcement not only seek justice when cyber crimes are committed, but intercept threats as they are unfolding in cyberspace.
Of course, there's the dark side to all this. If this kind of digital "genome" is developed, it means the government can trace any document you create straight back to your PC – and you. The law-abiding among us may not mind, but the privacy protection types will likely have something to say about the government snatching data from the Web and tracing it back to the source. If Facebook and "To Catch A Predator" have taught us anything, it's that someone is always watching what we do online, but we might have felt a bit more comfortable when it wasn't necessarily Big Brother.
I am in favor of this...the only ones who should be affraid are those with something to hide in the first place. if you are son concerned about something being traced back to your computer, either done use computers, or use public ones.
It's sad that hostile forces are motivating the government towards an ever more invasive stance. In this case, it might not amount to much, because the technology might not be reasonably possible.
However, it is a bad sign. The framers of ths Constitution understood the need for privacy. It's not that what you are doing is wrong -- it's that SOMEONE MAY PERCEIVE IT AS A THREAT. The fact that that someone is in the government is no guarantee that they are right.
We march ever closer to 1984.
"buckets of data" is quite an intresting phrase. It sounds rather unappealing.