The federal government may be expanding its monitoring of online communications in the name of thwarting cyberattacks.
A top cybersecurity official at the Department of Homeland Security said in an interview with CNET that it's considering greater use of a federal technology that provides the department information in order to help prevent online attacks.
Called the Einstein technology, it's currently only used by federal networks, but DHS's Greg Schaffer said the government might expand its use to "critical infrastructure spaces" in the private sector.
Not much is known about how Einstein works, and the House Intelligence Committee once charged that descriptions were overly "vague" because of "excessive classification." The White House did confirm this week that the latest version, called Einstein 3, involves attempting to thwart in-progress cyberattacks by sharing information with the National Security Agency. Earlier reports have said that Einstein 3 has the ability to read the content of emails and other messages, and that AT&T has been asked to test the system. (The Obama administration says the "contents" of communications are not shared with the NSA.)