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Tech at Night: Susan Collins, Queen of Denial

Tech at Night

Wow, my Tech at Night graphic is now out of date. I was already late to the iPhone 4 party because of the iPad and because I had waited for the legendary White iPhone 4. But now that I have an iPhone 4, having the 3GS in the graphic seems wrong somehow. Time for a new one if I get a good idea. Comments welcome.

Anyway, I want to be very clear about the Internet Kill Switch plan. The plan by Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman has now passed the Democrat-controlled Senate Committee claims to be a grand venture for “Cybersecurity,” but the plain fact is the plan as written is unworkable as a security venture, but only works as a tool to let the government control or even destroy the internet.

Yes, just like in Egypt.

Susan Collins, Queen of Denial, claims her plan is nothing like what’s going on in Egypt because her motives are pure. I believe her motives are pure, but I also believe she simply doesn’t understand the issues at hand. Look at any map of the Internet and it becomes clear that the Internet is a huge network of networks, interconnected in countless ways. The Internet is designed to be robust and able to route around broken connections. That’s its job.

Susan “Cleopatra” Collins and Joementum would have us believe that it’s workable to give the President the authority to control every single link between the US and the rest of the world and in fact the authority to hit the kill switch upon a claim of emergency powers. They’d also have us believe that it’s nothing like what the President of Egypt did when, in fact, it’s exactly happened there. Hosni Mubarak declared an emergency threatening national security, and hit the kill switch. And now they want to give our own Barack the same powers.

Of course, the immediate threat in America isn’t some dictatorial coup. Much more likely is a simple mistake. America lived for decades quite uncomfortably under the threat of a hair trigger launch of the Soviet Union’s ICBMs. Do all of us who rely upon the global Internet to make our livings really want to live under the threat of a hair trigger cyberattack by our own government?

The fact is, pulling the plug is not a substitute for security. If we want to secure our networks then let us secure our networks. Replace legacy Microsoft Windows systems with hardened SELinux boxes. After all, we paid for the development of SELinux by the NSA. Audit all code running on government networks, and release that code to encourage the private sector to follow the government’s lead in security.

But giving the President of the United States the power to emulate a tyrant like Hugo Chavez or Hosni Mubarak is simply not an option in a free society that depends on the Internet as much as we do in America.

Anyway, it’s not like cybersecurity is something we’re having trouble dealing with now. Bayshore Networks points out that the so-called Anonymous thugs (who use 4chan as their mouthpiece and made Wikileaks their cause) are particularly easy to catch, even in other countries. We just need to up our efforts to start catching state-backed attackers, such as those that hit Google.

And speaking of Google, the chickens continue to come home to roost there as Search Neutrality lives on. I categorically oppose… [snicker] I mean, I absolutely denounce the idea of regulators [hee hee] imposing [ha ha] neutrality upon Google. I think [heh heh] Google would agree that the market should decide.

OK yes, we’re all going to get a great laugh at Google getting blowback from the Net Neutrality fight, in the form of more Search Neutrality fighting. But in the end we have to hope Google gets away without regulation, learns it lesson, and starts fighting innovation-killing regulation from now on.

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