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For Immediate Release
July 28, 1999
WASHINGTON, DC - The Electronic Privacy Information Center
(EPIC) today reiterated its concerns that governmental efforts
to protect the "critical infrastructure" pose serious threats to
the privacy and civil liberties of American citizens.  EPIC
repeated its warning in the wake of reports that the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is about to embark upon a
comprehensive program of monitoring non-military Government
computer networks and communications networks used by crucial
industries like banking, telecommunications and transportation.
In its report "Critical Infrastructure Protection and the
Endangerment of Civil Liberties," released in October 1998, EPIC
noted that the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure
Protection (PCCIP) had proposed
     the development of a large-scale monitoring strategy
     for communications networks. Borrowing techniques that
     have been applied to hostile governments and foreign
     agents, the PCCIP brings the Cold War home with an
     open-ended proposal to conduct ongoing surveillance on
     the communications of American citizens.
EPIC noted in its report that "these proposals are more of a
threat to our system of ordered liberty than any single attack
on our infrastructure could ever be."
According to EPIC General Counsel David Sobel, the new FBI
surveillance plan "demonstrates that privacy concerns are being
swept under the rug."  He warned that, "There is a real danger
that a Cold War mentality is developing within the federal
government when it comes to the perceived threats of the
Internet and communications technology."
Since the publication of its report, EPIC has been monitoring
implementation of the PCCIP recommendations, including the
"United States National Plan for Information Systems
Protection."  That plan calls for the establishment of a Federal
Intrusion Detection Network (FIDNET).  The FIDNET system would
be linked to a similar system in the Defense Department known as
the Joint Task Force/Computer Network Defense (JTF-CND), which
monitors all Defense Department networks.  Earlier this year,
EPIC filed a series of Freedom of Information Act requests
seeking the details of these initiatives.
"Critical Infrastructure Protection and the Endangerment of
Civil Liberties" is available at:
EPIC's archive of materials on Critical Infrastructure
Protection is available at:
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