Feeds

Volunteer snoops coming to an ISP near you?

Operation Cyber-TIPS

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Congress has been working on legislation to create a militia composed of 'technology experts' who will manage the telecommunications infrastructure in times of national emergency.

The Senate bill passed last week emphasizes disaster response, not terror prevention, with such things as patching leaky government servers and databases, setting aside bandwidth and developing interoperable standards for emergency communications, and organizing local teams of geeks ready to lend a hand putting it all back together in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

All that sounds quite reasonable and the initial budget of $35 million refreshingly modest. But before we applaud, let's recall two things. First, most people in government actually expect some al-Qaeda kiddiot crew to fry the Internet with worms and ping floods one day; and second, we've seen a tremendous interest by the current administration in encouraging citizens to rat each other out for 'suspicious behavior'.

One example of this trend is the Department of Justice (DoJ) Operation TIPS, a pilot program establishing a snitch-network of workers eager to report on citizens. The postal service was originally solicited, but demurred.

So while there's no language in the bill referring to any sort of communications or Internet monitoring, we have to wonder if the agency about to be created might find ways of exerting pressure on volunteers to 'keep an eye on things'.

It seems plausible that volunteer geeks whom the agency deems trustworthy to rat and keep their mouths shut (consider the irony of trusting someone who squeals) might be in for a bit of gentle arm-twisting.

Both the Senate and the House have passed measures; the next step is to sort out the differences and portion out the pork in conference committee. The senate version is S-2037. The House version is included in its Homeland Security legislation.

On a related topic, we note that EFF Chairman Brad Templeton has just put up an ironic Web page where citizens can rat on TIPS rats in return. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.