Privacy Hawks Skeptical of Anti Cyber-Crime Crusade

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Cyber criminals now threaten millions of Americans, according to the federal government.

"There are 1 million cyber-crime victims every single day globally. Last year, there were twice as many cyber-crime victims as there were newborn babies," Adam Palmer, Norton Security's lead cyber security adviser, said.

In the battle against cyber-crime, Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano is looking for a few good men and women at San Jose State University, located in the heart of California's Silicon Valley.

"We need young people who really understand this technology, who are creative and innovative and are thinking ahead, and we need you to say, 'You know what? I can contribute my talents in a unique and fundamental way," she told a group of computer science majors.

Despite security systems on most computers, the problem of credit card theft and the stealing of sensitive records continues to grow. The situation has the feds looking for ways to team with private industry.

Students like San Jose computer science major Daniel Khawaja said Napolitano's pitch could cause them to look for a government job.

"The big draw, I think, would be at the cutting edge," he said. "I mean, when it comes to things like security and technology, government does tend to be at the forefront."

But critics say that can be a problem. UK Internet adviser Sir Tim Berners-Lee, one of the founders of the modern Internet, is concerned about a British surveillance bill, which gives government sweeping oversight of Web activity.

"The amount of control you have over somebody if you can monitor their intimate activity is amazing," Berners-Lee said. "You get to know every detail, you get to know in a way, more Internet details of their life than any person that they talk to."

So while millions of Internet users in America and elsewhere applaud the effort to fight cyber-crime, there are concerns about the federal government taking on a big brother role in the name of catching high-tech bandits and terrorists.

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