Module 4: Challenge Impacting U.S. Intelligence Capabilities in Meeting Emerging Threats

In previous Learning Modules, we explored some of the challenges the U.S. and its intelligence community faces in staying in front of the emergence of new technology and the ability to use social media (Module 3), addressing AI capabilities that seem to be improving beyond our imagination (Module 2), and the evolution of digital communications that provide global interconnectivity of U.S. adversaries (Module 1). We also examined some of the challenges we face when social media giants like Facebook are left to self-govern (Module 3).

In Module 4 we will take a look at three other digital communication challenges that threaten our Intelligence capabilities, including:

Legal, Moral and Ethical considerations in controlling the U.S. digital environment;
The challenge of controlling cyberwar tactics and the digital influence of powerful Nation States, such as Russia and China; and,
Challenges in controlling newly developing cyberwar skills of smaller, aggressive adversaries who have the same access to emerging technology, such as:  Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and rogue terrorists.
Consider the legal, moral and ethical concerns of using broader government control of the digital environment such as Privacy Rights and Social Media.  How far should the Government go?   
In Module 3, we observed Facebooks knowledge of vulnerabilities and the companys failure to act.  Considering how widespread similar vulnerabilities maybe in corporations across the U.S., and the general laisse faire attitudes of businesses in addressing cyber threats, is there a need for stronger U.S. regulation and control to protect privacy rights and reduce unlimited access to social media?


1. Ethics and the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a complex network of interactive and technical components that allow objects to communicate while also allowing individuals to use apps to perform unlimited things in businesses, their homes and in their communities.  Yet, as IoT continues to grow and mature, little has been done to proscribe regulations that ensure IoT capabilities are enhanced with ethical considerations or that IoT opportunities cannot be used to open pathways to attacks through cyberspace.  Is there a need for stronger federal policy and government regulation of the IoT environment?  When considering this question, we may want to note that globally, upwards of nearly 27 billion mobile phones, containing countless apps can now be connected or manipulated.

See also:

2.  Consider the governments  challenges in controlling Russias and Chinas digital influence in the U.S. and abroad:

The Senate Intelligence Committee published reports in December, 2018, detailing how Russian agents have controlled social media against Americans and how technology companies have done very little to help curtail it.  According to the report, social media giants like Google and Twitter (similar to Facebook), have evaded and misrepresented themselves and the extent of Russian activity on their sites.  This type of activity may also open pathways for China cyberwar tactics.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


3.  Consider government challenges in controlling access to emerging technology by smaller, aggressive nation state adversaries, such as North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia or any nation or terrorist group with sufficient funds to purchase technology.

Let’s consider the last question offered during our reading assignment with a few extra thoughts.

Considering all that we have discussed, the global interconnectivity of our personal telephones, the vulnerable nature of our businesses and home systems to being attacked, cybercrimes and the control of cyber criminals my rogue nation states, the accessibility to systems to apply ransomeware and malware, and the general openness of the social media tools we use…

PROMPT:  How can the Intelligence Community gather the intelligence from enough resources to ensure that the U.S. is not overly vulnerable or at a minimum, even in its most vulnerable state that the government knows “WHAT WE DONT KNOW” and can institute action to exert control or influence to counter possible impacts that could arise through IoT?

Please answer the above prompt by using the sources and articles cited above and please weave in points 1, 2 and 3 in answering the above primary question so it is a seamless and cogent response including all of the points the module touches upon.