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by CSO Contributor

NSA Proposes Backdoor Detection Center; Floridas MATRIX Raises Privacy Concerns; U.S. Scrambles for a System to Check Foreigners; Lawyers Pressed to Give Ground on Client Secrets

Aug 11, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

NSA Proposes Backdoor Detection Center

According to a story in The Register today, the National Security Agency’s cybersecurity chief Daniel Wolf is calling on the U.S. Congress to fund a new National Software Assurance Center dedicated to developing advanced techniques for detecting backdoors and logic bombs in large software applications. Wolf, declaring hidden malware to be “a growing threat,” bemoaned an absence of tools capable of scouring program source code and executables for evidence of tampering. In prepared testimony Wolf proposed a federally funded think-tank that would include representatives from academia, industry, government, national laboratories and the national security community, all working together and sharing techniques.Floridas MATRIX Raises Privacy ConcernsGainesville Sun, law enforcement officials say MATRIX will speed up criminal investigations by allowing police to perform quicker searches of information that is already publicly available. But critics say the system would allow police to assemble electronic dossiers on every Floridian, even those not suspected of crimes. The project is funded by a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, and organizers expect another $8 million from the Department of Homeland Security. Twelve other states have signed up to add their records to the MATRIX database. The Sun says Florida officials counter criticism that the program is like the once proposed but now dropped Total Information Awareness program in that it doesnt include data mining.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is putting together a computer network called Multistate Anti-Terrorist Information Exchange, or MATRIX that would allow police to analyze government and commercial records on every Florida resident, and the agency is planning to share that information with police in at least a dozen other states. According to the

U.S. Scrambles for a System to Check ForeignersDenver Post, a system to track foreign visitors as they enter and leave the country, which Congress has ordered to be up and running by year’s end, is far from ready. Transportation Secretary Asa Hutchinson says the system will be ready, but critics accuse the government of rushing to implement new controls, warning that a poorly designed system could clog airports, costing millions and even hurting security. The plan is for government agents to photograph and fingerprint the estimated 28 million foreign visitors who enter the country each year. Agents would cross-check their identities against terrorist watch lists. Even more notably, government inspectors would for the first time check out visitors when they leave.

According to a story in todays

Lawyers Pressed to Give Ground on Client SecretsNew York Times says that government regulators and prosecutors, impelled by a wave of corporate scandals, tax evasion and concerns over terrorism, have taken steps that seek to limit what some lawyers say is a core principle of their profession: the ability to protect their clients’ confidences. But even the American Bar Association seems prepared to cede some ground on the issue, and will consider changes to its model code of conduct. The SEC, IRS, Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department have all adopted separate rules for greater lawyer disclosure, but without working in concert. As the Times reports, each agency is reacting to a different crisis but the overall result is worrying to many lawyers and law professors.

A story in todays