Friday, May 29, 2009

Internet Security

President Obama is talking about making an interwebs secuity czar. Why a country like the USA has "czars" is kinda weird, but, whatever.
When I was a lad I got involved with radio through an outreach kinda thing conducted by Antioch College's WYSO. This required getting an FCC license. Part of the education to getting the license was explaining the importance of maintaining the security of the transmitter and protecting it from foreign misuse. This notion was reinforced after reading Che Guevara's seminal work, Guerilla Warfare where he states that one of the first things you do when capturing a town is to capture the radio station. You can cut down on the fighting a lot if you tell people the fighting is over & the revolutionaries have won. Sucker punch a DJ v a firefight with the local constabulary.
As soon as I saw the internet with email and vast stores of just non-sensitive personal data, I saw a need for security. With the networks carrying vast sums of cash, very sensitive data and all the news and information that radio & television broadcasters carry, security is even more important. In fact, it is important on a national security level. While a "czar" might be a step in the right direction, I think a licensing procedure for the administrators of these systems and servers would also help in requiring a bit of responsibility by the individual to the state/citizenry.
While the FCC is hardly my favorite entity due to their capitulation to big businesses that they are supposed to be regulating, they actually have a valid role to play as, essentially, traffic cops. They (are supposed to) make sure that the airwaves are not infiltrated with the lies and propaganda of our enemies. While the interwebs are a bit different since the average shmoe can access sites all over the world, it is important to keep our guys on the up and up and our transmissions legitimate.
I don't know how a licensing system could be worked out. A radio is pretty much a radio, a TV is a TV but computer networks vary quite a bit and a server isn't just a server.
While the president of the USA & leader of the free world tends to think top down, I think a better step towards national cyber security would start at the bottom. Maybe it's because I am a bottom feeder.

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