The U.S. is invoking Cold War-era national-security powers to force telecommunication companies including AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. to divulge confidential information about their networks in a hunt for Chinese cyber-spying.
President Barack Obama will put off decisions on the most controversial aspects of the U.S. government’s data-collection programs, including those faulted by phone and Internet companies that say customers are losing faith that their privacy is protected.
The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.
After eight months of disclosures on U.S. spying on allies and foes alike, the fix proposed by President Barack Obama and top lawmakers still would let the government access phone and Internet records.
A blackout that swept parts of North America in August 2003, leaving 50 million people in the dark for as long as four days, provides a glimpse of the havoc a cyber attack could inflict on the nation’s power grid.