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Perfect Citizen

Background

    On July 8, 2010, The Wall Street Journal published a story which revealed the National Security Agency's plan to launch a program to detect cyber assaults on government agencies and private companies. The program, dubbed "Perfect Citizen," would employ sensors in computer networks that would be activated by unusual activity. Allegedly, the program would not monitor computers persistently.

    Raytheon Corp., a defense contractor, won the classified contract valued for up to $100 million dollars, according to sources familiar with the project. When asked for further information, NSA and Raytheon spokespeople declined to comment. The WSJ obtained access to internal Raytheon emails; one which stated "Perfect Citizen is Big Brother." Raytheon refused to comment.

    The government has increasingly gained interest in enforcing its technological infrastructure because of suspected Russian and Chinese surveillance efforts. Recently, a US Cyber Command office, headed by Lieutenant Keith Alexander, was established under US Strategic Command to conduct cyber space operations. "Perfect Citizen" would be an additional attempt to strengthen US cyber security. Because the program is still in its beginning stages, many of the details have not been worked out. Generally, "Perfect Citizen" would be renovate outdated computer systems that were put in place before Internet connectivity.

    Latest News

    • EPIC files FOIA request to learn more about Perfect Citizen: EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the National Security Agency regarding the new secret cybersecurity program known as "Perfect Citizen." According to the Wall Street Journal, the program "would rely on a set of sensors deployed in computer networks for critical infrastructure that would be triggered by unusual activity suggesting an impending cyber attack," although the agency has claimed that there "is no monitoring activity involved, and no sensors are employed in this endeavor" but has refused to release the details of the program. In its request, EPIC has sought contracts, memoranda, and other records relating to "Perfect Citizen." For more information, see EPIC Cybersecurity and Privacy.
      • News Items

        • NSA offers explanation of Perfect Citizen, CNET News, July 9, 2010.
        • NSA: Perfect Citizen Is All About R&D, Not Eavesdropping, Tech News World, July, 9, 2010.
        • U.S. Plans Cyber Shield for Utilities, Companies, The Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2010.
        • NSA's "Perfect Citizen" Program: Big Brother or Cybersecurity Savior?, Daily Tech, July 8, 2010.
        • NSA says 'Perfect Citizen' is a research program, Computerworld, July 8, 2010.