Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Government Wants To Control The Internet

The government is obviously making a big push towards gaining more control over the internet. I'm not sure how this is going to play out for our benefit, but I can see both sides of the coin. The major issue I have is giving the government any more power. Here are a few things that are currently going on now with cybersecurity and the United States government.

Internet Kill Switch

At first glance this is absolutely terrifying. Giving this much power to the government over a private company is outright scary. This is still in its early phases of legislation, but I can see some good with the government monitoring the infrastructure of national critical systems (Nuclear plants, Dams, etc.), but giving them the power to cut them off from the world seems a little intense. I think improved regulations, monitoring, and vulnerability assessment/remediation against these sites would be better than a kill switch. At least here they're taking a proactive approach. Plus the ISP could always cut them off if needed in a real disaster. I think we need more details as to what classifies a company under this law and under what conditions would they be "switched off".

This was a scary line:
A company that objects to being subject to the emergency regulations is permitted to appeal to DHS secretary Janet Napolitano. But her decision is final and courts are explicitly prohibited from reviewing it. 

Broader Wire Tapping

This one annoys me the most. In efforts to catch bad guys the government wants to have the ability to listen in on anything they want over the internet, including Skype. This is a serious breach in privacy to the majority of America. I don't know why we keep thinking the bad guys are stupid? Once they allow us to tap into these areas they'll start using something else or putting encryption against their communication; we still won't catch them and we'll be the ones being tapped.

Internet Identity Management

The issues I have with this are who is going to run it, why are they creating a single point of failure and why are they making a push for this? I don't think this is going to stop cyber crime in the least. If anything, once a hacker gets your credentials for one site he has it for all others. I'm not sure I by into this yet for home use.

“This is going to cause a huge shift in consumer use of the Internet,” said John Clippinger, co-director of the Law Lab at Harvard.  WOW!! You're a director at Harvard and you don't think people use the internet enough for commerce?

The new system will probably hasten the death of traditional passwords, Clippinger said. Instead, users may rely on devices such as smartcards with embedded chips, tokens that generate random codes or biometric devices. I hate to break it to you, but if you're putting in a random code its still a password.

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