Richard Clarke, who was the Special Advisor to President George W. Bush on cybersecurity until 2003 and is now currently Chairman of Good Harbor Consulting, a strategic planning and corporate risk management firm; has demonstrated precisely why certain people shouldn’t have any input whatsoever in legislation regarding technology.
In a Op-Ed article in the New York Times that was published yesterday, Mr Clark made the genius suggestion that all net traffic that enters the US should be inspected. The precise paragraph in the article was:
Under Customs authority, the Department of Homeland Security could inspect what enters and exits the United States in cyberspace. Customs already looks online for child pornography crossing our virtual borders. And under the Intelligence Act, the president could issue a finding that would authorize agencies to scan Internet traffic outside the United States and seize sensitive files stolen from within our borders.
He then goes on to say:
And this does not have to endanger citizens’ privacy rights. Indeed, Mr. Obama could build in protections like appointing an empowered privacy advocate who could stop abuses or any activity that went beyond halting the theft of important files.
So just how the hell would you suggest that this is implemented then Mr Clarke? To give you an idea, here’s a typical day on the internet. I’d truly love to hear any suggestion as to how you could, in your expert opinion, inspect said traffic, and of course how you would go about financing such an operation. And yes, of course citizens’ privacy rights would be endangered.
The really scary thing is, is that there are people like this in the US government, and other governments, that hold positions whereby they are able to have major input into new laws that govern technology and the internet as a whole.
If you don’t understand how something works, please don’t try to tell people how things should be done. There is already a pretty scary piece of legislation (CISPA) that looks set to pass in to law without giving them any other stupid suggestions.