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Broad-based U.S. push to tighten Internet monitoring

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The White House has moved this month to beef up its capacity to tap phones and police the Internet. But those expanded powers are heating up a long-running debate on security versus privacy.

The Washington Post reported on Saturday:

"President Bush signed a directive this month that expands the intelligence community's role in monitoring Internet traffic to protect against a rising number of attacks on federal agencies' computer systems.
The directive, whose content is classified, authorizes the intelligence agencies, in particular the National Security Agency, to monitor the computer networks of all federal agencies -- including ones they have not previously monitored.
Until now, the government's efforts to protect itself from cyber-attacks -- which run the gamut from hackers to organized crime to foreign governments trying to steal sensitive data -- have been piecemeal. Under the new initiative, a task force headed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) will coordinate efforts to identify the source of cyber-attacks against government computer systems."

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