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New US Cybersecurity Measures Target US Cyber Activists, Journalists

02.04.2015 11:32

After high-profile hacks of Sony Pictures, US Central Command and JPMorgan Chase and others Obama called the threat of cyberattacks a "national emergency." 

US President's new order allows the government to levy economic sanctions against individuals overseas who are to blame for cyberattacks that damage the "national security, foreign policy, economic health or financial stability of the United States." In addition it allows the government to apply sanctions against individuals and entities who knowingly use and receive the data stolen, which draws concerns about foreign news outlets interested in publishing sensitive US material. The ability to target foreign news agencies publishing materials which the US government considers pose danger to national security could be considered a form of censorship.

A large number of foreign outlets have already published information from top-secret documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The publication of those documents – some of which accuse the US intelligence community of infiltrating computer systems to eavesdrop on targets – compromise national security, the government asserts. WikiLeaks, the infamous secret-spilling organization, wasaccused of endangering US national security when it published State Department and Pentagon documents taken by US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. After coming under pressure from the US government, the companies that processed donations to WikiLeaks stopped servicing the group.