The Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring traffic on government websites and other networks to detect vulnerabilities. That makes sense, especially now when cyberattacks against the government and its contractors appear to be at an all-time high.
But, now DHS wants to destroy all records over three years old from the project - called Einstein - because it says they're no longer of any value. Some experts disagree and others think the mass deletion might be part of a government cover-up.
The type of information DHS collected included personal information, email and contact data from government employees and citizens who visited government websites. It also included intrusion detection on government networks, information about known malicious Web activity, analysis of malicious data and technical information created for the government and citizens.
DHS reasons the files -- which include data about traffic to government websites, agency network intrusions and general vulnerabilities -- have no research significance.
Not all digital security experts agree with DHS, though. For instance, SANS Internet Storm Center keeps all of its data on malicious Internet activity for 12 years. Keeping track of old data gives researchers a valuable resource as they try to fight more modern digital threats, according to SANS dean of research Johannes Ullrich.
That's not the only controversy. Some privacy advocates believe the deletion could cover up the government's faulty data collection methods.