I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
– “Eye In The Sky” – Alan Parsons Project (HT:Sing365.com)
There was a point pretty soon after the 9-11 attacks, where I used to get in a lot of arguments with other Conservatives. Something about the entire “USA Patriot Act” gave me the creeps. I understood the need to eviscerate Al Qaeda and wasn’t in any mood to express mawkish sympathy over offended Muslim Civil Liberties. However, as the USA Patriot Act became law and The Department of Homeland Security became a massive bureaucratic fiefdom, I kept wondering “What would Hillary do with this power if she were President?” Now I regret Barack Obama’s victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic Primaries of 2008. This is particularly true as this parlously totalitarian administration casts Sauron’s Eye upon the Internet.
The Department of Homeland Security now seeks to extend all cybersecurity regulations that currently govern the usage of USG computers to the civilian government agencies. Where Federal workers use networks and equipment bought and paid for by taxpayers, the DHS operates well within the bounds of decency . In accordance with a memorandum from Peter Orszag dated 6 July 2010, the DHS has the following controls over government Internet connections.
DHS activities will include (but will not be limited to):
• overseeing the government-wide and agency-specific implementation of and reporting on cybersecurity policies and guidance;
• overseeing and assisting government-wide and agency-specific efforts to provide adequate, risk-based and cost-effective cybersecurity;
• overseeing the agencies’ compliance with FISMA and developing analyses for OMB to assist in the development of the FISMA annual report;
• overseeing the agencies’ cybersecurity operations and incident response and providing appropriate assistance; and
• annually reviewing the agencies’ cybersecurity programs.
If we discuss this in terms of Internet bought and paid for by the government and intended for official business, Mr. Obama and his regulators probably have professional and moral responsibility to stop the losers at SEC from surfing the porn. I voice no objections to DHS activities so far….
Recently, the administration has stated intent to draft legislation that would extend the .mil ban on pornography and hate sites to all civilian agencies. If the Obama Administration had left it right there, I’d give them the old golf clap and hope that Congress would wave it through. However, this bill comes with provisos that could impinge significantly upon private sector data management and storage operations.
Retired General Dale Meyerrose now works as a government contractor for Cyber Security issues with The Harris Corporation. He offers an explanation of why the Federal Cybersecurity regulations could lead to a regulatory spill-over into the private sector.
“If you think about it, cyber is borderless. So, it’s blurring definitions. It’s blurring frames of reference. I like to say it’s full of familiar terms but unfamiliar paradigms and shifting definitions. What I mean by that is, it represents a developing language that we’re still trying to put some body and framework behind. . . . Cyber is blurring the lines between public and private — military and non-military — national and international.”
The government cybersecurity problem is further complicated by the national security issues involved. The Pentagon operates under constant espionage attack via the Internet. Gen. Meyerrose describes the situation below.
“If you think about it, the Pentagon ends up with 2 million attacks a day — plus. And that’s going up — and yet the Pentagon still remains effective in cyberspace.”
(Federal news Radio, Ob. Cit.)
Combine this obvious requirement that the Federal Government take an active interest in what happens on its Internet connections with the fact that the Internet is so interconnected that regulations will impact what happens outside of just government networks and a threat to civil liberties springs into existence.
The proposed cybersecurity law would put more power into the hands of a highly politicized agency that has published an extremism dictionary so offensive that it was canceled within hours of publication. If you ever really wondered about The Phineas Preisthood or the iniquitous worshipers of Thor, the DHS can give you the lowdown. Frightened by the Nordic awesomeness of the feral Viking Kitties, they seemed to neglect mentioning the people who offered “religious counseling” to the nut-job who shot people up at Ft. Hood. However, Secretary Napolitano was all over Rightwing Extremism and the potential for recruiting new “Rambos” like a cheap, poorly-tailored suit.
Clearly, any effort this agency made to regulate the Internet would occur in synonymy with their unrelenting efforts to demonize the political right. Quite possibly, the DHS could become a speech police on any Internet network they became able to influence through this legislation. Thus, the Obama Administration cannot be trusted to regulate any aspect of Internet usage without intelligent, fair-minded, adult supervision. Speaker Boehner, consider this coming fight an opportunity to redeem yourself.