Defense Ministry upgrades systems to fight WikiLeaks-style breaches
Network users must accept being monitored despite claim that new code upholds constitutional right to privacy
The Spanish Defense Ministry has upgraded the security of its information and telecommunications systems to prevent cyber-attacks, curb abuse and prevent a WikiLeaks-type situation, in which millions of classified documents from the Pentagon and US Department of State were made publicly available.
The more than 50,000 users of the Defense Ministry General Purpose Network (WAN PG), which connects the central headquarters, the Chief of Staff of Defense, the three armed forces, units deployed abroad and other ministry bodies, must now sign a form that entails accepting and observing a network user code.
This user code, which was approved last April, empowers the Defense Ministry's Information Security Operations Center to continually monitor, record and inspect the information and telecommunications systems, allowing for early detection of possible security glitches and, if necessary, pursue the proper course of action to ensure damage control.
This oversight affects all services rendered through WAN PG, including communications, databases, email and internet use.
The code proclaims its desire to guarantee "the preservation of fundamental rights recognized in the Spanish Constitution," such as privacy, secrecy of communications and personal data protection -- yet it reserves the right to monitor and inspect the way users employ the network, whether they be military personnel, civilian workers or contractors.
No user will be able to allege that this oversight is a violation of his or her privacy, as the code determines that the ministry's infrastructure and equipment are only for official use, and cannot be used for private purposes.