It has always been a game of cat and mouse, hide and seek – the white hats verses the black hats. For as long as I can remember, and I’ve been involved in technology since 1980, even before the IBM XT computer debut in 1983 – people, hackers really, have been trying to access data and information they were not authorized to access.
Fast forward to today where hackers are still trying to gain access to other people’s information, whether it is specs on a new cell phone, credit card information or to steal personal information.
Over the years there have been many iterations of security regulations and laws. Although, just because a government passes a law doesn’t mean everyone is going to follow it, especially if they are from another country. The ghost of these laws lives on in another version of itself. However, our lawmakers are always playing catch-up with hackers and cyber criminals.
Until our lawmakers take a proactive stance instead of a reactive one, we will always be playing catch-up to these iniquitous mischief-makers.
Despite our lawmakers inability to advance their surveillance capabilities – FBI director Robert Mueller is asking congress for a broader reach of the current law, enacted in 1994 called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. The law was undated in 2004 to allow broadband networks.
What Director Robert Mueller has told congress is - law enforcement is increasingly unable to bring criminals to justice because of the rapid advances in technology. He is right – our government is on average ten years behind in technology. I have consulted for many local and state agencies who still have Windows 98 desktops, Windows NT and Windows 2003 servers – many of these systems have not been updated in years or have had security patches in a while.
Director Mueller is asking for a proposed law that will require firms, such as Internet Service Providers and companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, Fourspuare, WordPress, Blogger, Bing, Yahoo and Google, to build in back doors for government surveillance. In a sense – wiretapping.
OK – I can get behind bringing our government and lawmakers up to current technology standards and giving them some latitude to catch these high-tech bandits.
Nonetheless – this does seem like an invasion of privacy depending on how this power will be used. As you can imagine the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group in San Francisco, says there’s no need to expand wiretapping law for the Internet.
There is no mention of “due process”, the requirement that the government must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person.
I am really torn on this topic because I have seen the damage these cyber criminals can exacted. Although I don’t think Big Brother should be nosing around our personal information unless there is a specific threat and due process has been served.
So – what are your thoughts on this topic. I would love to hear from you about your thoughts, concerns, past experiences and fears.
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