Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Bill would give president emergency control of Internet"

CNET, Aug 28, 2009:

"[Bill would] permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity." emergency.

"The new version [of a bill winding thru the US Senate--S.773 (excerpt)] would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat."

It would also set up a "cybersecurity professionals" certification and require some private-sector servers to be managed by someone with the certification.

Industry players are "troubled," the article says.

No shit.

"Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat and chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. 'We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs--from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records,'Rockefeller said.

"The Rockefeller proposal plays out against a broader concern in Washington, D.C., about the government's role in cybersecurity. In May, President Obama acknowledged that the government is "not as prepared" as it should be to respond to disruptions and announced that a new cybersecurity coordinator position would be created inside the White House staff. Three months later, that post remains empty, one top cybersecurity aide has quit, and some wags have begun to wonder why a government that receives failing marks on cybersecurity should be trusted to instruct the private sector what to do."

Thank you. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Over and over, government players rear back on their hind legs and arrogate to themselves the authority to direct the actions of the rest of the nation (and the world), most commonly in areas in which government institutions themselves have failed to show any competence. They can't protect their own records; they can't organize their own cybersecurity; let them boss us around on these topics.

But then, nobody ever got elected or reelected by announcing that the government shouldn't get bogged down in some no-win situation, or should stay out of some area where it has no competence, or learn a lesson from its own failures and figure out a way to get out of the way instead of wading in deeper.

No, you get reelected by seizing on crises and taking advantage of the automatic assumption -- which the press will be happy not to even think to question -- that the first, best, and sole solution set lies in the exercise of more government power.

Well, why not. It's not like anybody is ever going to hold you to any standards of competence or performance. The city is incompetent at its basic job of protecting New Orleans, so the state government fails to intervene, leaving it to the feds to jump in -- too late. Make speeches, take helicopter rides, criticize partisan rivals (only), pass enormous spending bills -- and two years later you have a tale of waste, fraud, and only incremental improvements. But not to worry: The press isn't going to hold your feet to the fire. And if they do -- if there is a front-page multi-day story on how awful the government performed even at its most basic tasks -- well, still not to worry, because they won't follow up and keep hammering -- they've published their investigative report, now it's back to business as usual.

Next election, no worries because the press won't lean on you about your failed promises, your incompetence, or the government's general failures.

So we have what should be a big fat laugh: The feds want to take over private Internet network companies in times of 'crisis,' defined by the President -- who this year happens to be Barack Obama, but remember that recently it was one of the George Bushes, and it could be somebody like that again in the future -- and this new knucklehead will have the power you thought safely in the hands of your favorite political party, whichever one that is.

We are all idiots. Blind leading the blind? Dumb leading the dumb!

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