[ISN] Cyberwar Hysteria Aids Consultants, Hurts U.S.: Susan Crawford

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:33:29 -0500 (CDT)

By Susan Crawford
July 24, 2011

On Feb. 3, President Barack Obama and the entire West Wing lost access 
to e-mail for more than seven hours. A tree-trimmer had accidentally cut 
the lines running out of the White House data center. White House 
Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer sent a bulletin via Twitter -- the 
only way he could get the news out, he said -- letting the world know 
that "Verizon is working to solve the problem."

A single, careless scissor snip had compromised the center of the most 
powerful government in the world. Staffers accustomed to constant, 
twitchy BlackBerry attachment were stopped in their tracks. "It felt 
like a snow day," one adviser told the Washington Post.

The federal government clearly has some housecleaning to do when it 
comes to running its own networks. Relying on a single data connection 
to ensure that the leader of the free world can communicate seems 
shortsighted. Redundant, competing backup systems would be better. 
Rather than focus on the shortcomings in its own electronic operations, 
though, the Obama administration -- spurred by vendors such as Booz 
Allen Hamilton -- is opening the door to centralized monitoring of any 
private communications in the name of increased security.

Familiar Bush administration politics of fear, as well as vendors' 
desires, are animating the current policy push. You can hear the 
drumbeat in communications from the defense and national security 
elements of the administration: William Lynn, deputy defense secretary, 
told the National Defense University earlier this month, "In the 21st 
century, bits and bytes can be as threatening as bullets and bombs."


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Received on Mon Jul 25 2011 - 22:33:29 PDT

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