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Proposed Bill: Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (SB773)






By John 'J' Trinckes
July 6, 2010

In, yet again, another attempt to take control of the Internet, I came across this ironic story: Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security Secretary, told a gathering of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, “Fighting homegrown terrorism by monitoring Internet communications is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security”…."The First Amendment protects radical opinions, but we need the legal tools to do things like monitor the recruitment of terrorists via the Internet.” She goes on to say that it is wrong to believe that if security is embraced, liberty is sacrificed.

Are you serious? I have to ask, how is the Department of Homeland Security ever going to accomplish the task of monitoring all Internet traffic and filtering out only that information relevant to the recruitment of terrorists? I may be going out on a limb here, but I guess this could be analogous to the Gulf oil crisis. If all the Gulf waters are synonymous to all of the Internet traffic and the oil/natural gas spilling into the Gulf is similar to relevant terrorist traffic – we can see how inept the government is in ‘filtering’ out the information. Better yet, try and connect the ‘dots’ with all of that information ‘gushing out’ to get something actionable that could be used to prevent a future terrorist act. By no means am I making fun of this disaster. The response has been utterly disgraceful and negligent. I was using the analogy as just another example of the incompetence of this administration.

Here is a solution, why don’t we go after the terrorist leadership and disrupt the terrorist cells in the first place. That way, there will be no need for recruitment efforts to take place. Why wouldn’t we want to utilize our resources in a more efficient manner than attempting to setup a ‘witch-hunt’ throughout the Internet? Let’s go after the root cause of the problem and not try to fix the symptoms. The symptoms will take care of themselves.

I guess Napolitano has never studied her history books. She needs to take a lesson from one of our forefathers:

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." -- Benjamin Franklin


The article continues with a suggestion that the Obama administration is reaching out to more liberals. (That’s what we really need right now, more liberals running the show), but let’s not waste good catastrophes in the name of security. The story states that “underscoring her [Napolitano] comments are a number of recent terror attacks over the past year where legal U.S. residents such as Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad and accused Fort Hood, Texas, shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, are believed to have been inspired by the Internet postings of violent Islamic extremists.”

So I suppose the Internet is the root of all evils. Although I can admit that I do get inspired by Internet postings, especially those that I read from NWV, I’m not going out and committing any acts of terrorism. (Unless they want to consider this article an act of terrorism, oops – I almost forgot, didn’t the DHS define all of us constitutionalists as terrorists?) I guess you better stop reading now before you are monitored by the Internet police, but I digress.

I believe these individuals were predisposed to cause harm and the Internet had nothing to do with their actions. Even to call these individuals legal US residents makes my skin crawl. With the ‘red flags’ that were apparent, especially in the Fort Hood incident, it utterly amazes me that Napolitano could even make the above remarks. Napolitano and the administration’s inability to protect the true citizens of this country, enforce the laws of this country, and the lack of respect for the Constitution of the United States does not build my confidence in the government abilities to do much of anything besides spending our hard earned money.

Napolitano added, "We can significantly advance security without having a deleterious impact on individual rights in most instances. At the same time, there are situations where trade-offs are inevitable." Seriously? Let’s pick this statement apart, shall we? For those that may not know what deleterious means, it means ‘harmful often in a subtle or unexpected way’. This is interesting in that most of our rights are always given up in subtle or unexpected ways over time. In retrospect, Napolitano is saying that she really doesn’t know what effect advancement in security will have on individual rights. (I can most definitely tell you that it probably won’t be good.) I always love the subjective approach of using ‘in most instances’. In government talk, this means more times than not. We are already subjected to more encroachments on our civil liberties as we pass through the screening centers of our airports.

We are now subjected to full-body scanners that can show every intricate detail of our bodies. Don’t worry; however, these images are not being saved and only the TSA security screeners are looking at them. This makes me so warm and fuzzy inside. [I’m just waiting for the day that a celebrity’s scanning picture gets posted on the Internet. – There we go again, that evil Internet place. – Better yet, how about an image of one of those professional law makers or government administrators that we are supposed to trust. Not that I would ever want to see those pictures, but it will happen.]

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How can we forget the statement that trade-offs are inevitable. Of course they are. Whenever we allow government to take care of all our needs, we are no longer a free society. Napolitano needs to relearn her history lessons.

“This is just one of those reasons why I hate stupid people.”

2010 John 'J' Trinckes - All Rights Reserve

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John 'J' Trinckes, Jr. (CISSP, CISM, CEH, NSA-IAM/IEM, MCSE-NT, A+)

John ("Jay") is a Senior Information Security Consultant and former law enforcement officer. Jay is the author of a new book, “The Executive MBA in Information Security”, published by CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, An Aurbach Book, due out in October, 2009. Jay holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration/Management Information Systems from the Union Institute and University and has been a member of numerous security industry associations such as the FBI's InfraGard®, Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), International Association of Technology Professionals (IATP), Information Systems Audit and Controls Association (ISACA ®), and the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2). When Jay isn’t working, he likes to spend his spare time with his family and friends.











We are now subjected to full-body scanners that can show every intricate detail of our bodies. Don’t worry; however, these images are not being saved and only the TSA security screeners are looking at them. This makes me so warm and fuzzy inside.