The NSA will be dropping humans for computers. NSA head Keith Alexander announced this at a cybersecurity conference in New York City Thursday. He says 90 percent of the NSA’s system administrators will be replaced with computers.
Alexander says this change was already starting before Snowden’s intelligence leaks. Sources say Snowden’s former position at the NSA was system administrator. As a result of his leaks, removing humans from sensitive positions is being done faster, but not fast enough, Alexander says.
RT says that the NSA currently employs nearly 1,000 system administrators. The NSA chief says the agency wants to lower the number of people who work with important information.
Alexander says that they aren’t choosing machines just because they won’t leak information. Much of what NSA system administrators do, like sending data and watching over network security, could be done more efficiently by machines. The NSA head says that computerized administrators will make the agency’s networks safer, faster, and more defensible.
While NSA chief Keith Alexander never talked about Edward Snowden during his presentation, it is clear this was at least part of the change. Since Snowden’s massive leaks about US intelligence operations and data mining programs, security has been stepped up at the NSA.
According to The Atlantic Wire, current human system administrators are now being watched much more closely. USB flash drives, which Snowden is believed to have used, are now heavily restricted. They also say that NSA administrators must use a “buddy system” whenever sensitive data is accessed.
How the NSA was planning to automate their system administrators was not made clear. However, Alexander says it will rely on a cloud computing-type system.
Clearly, NSA head Keith Alexander and his agency believe cold, motiveless computers will be able to do Edward Snowden’s job better and with less whistleblowing.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons / NSA]