Feeds

Microsoft-loving (former) security czar calls for closed internet

Vint Cerf's firing squad awaits

Boost IT visibility and business value

Richard Clarke, the man who served President Bush as a special adviser for cyber security, has a five-point plan for saving the internet.

Speaking at a Santa Clara University conference dedicated to "trust online," Clarke called the net "a place of chaos in many ways, a place of crime in many ways," but laid out several means of righting the ship, including biometric IDs, government regulation, and an industry wide standard for secure software. He even embraces the idea of a closed internet - which seems to have sparked a death threat from net pioneer Vint Cerf.

"A lot of these ideas go against the grain. A lot of these ideas are ones people have already objected to - because of certain shibboleths, because of certain belief systems, because of certain idealogical differences," Clarke said. "But if we're going to create trust in cyberspace, we have to overcome some of those shibboleths, overcome some of those ideological differences, and look anew at these ideas."

According to Clarke - who was also a special assistant to the President for global affairs and national coordinator for security and counter-terrorism - about 35 per cent of all U.S. citizens would rather shoot themselves than carry a national ID card. But he thinks they're being silly. He believes biometric IDs are an essential means of fighting online crime.

"One thing you could do with a biometric ID card - if you wanted to - is prove your identity online," he said, as if taunting his critics.

Yes, he realizes that internet mavens value online anonymity. But he insists this has nothing to do with biometric internet IDs. "One of the ideological underpinnings of the internet is that we're anonymous," he said. "Well, guess what? We're not anonymous. Amazon and DoubleClick and all those other companies already know everything about what you're doing online." ID cards don't eliminate anonymity, he explained, because anonymity is already gone. Then he added that Bill Gates agrees with him.

Next, Clarke called for more government oversight of the net. According to his rough calculations, 75 per cent of all U.S. citizens are against government regulation of any kind. But he thinks they're being silly too. "You don't want government regulation? Then just let your kids eat all that lead off their toys."

In short, he believes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should force ISPs to crack down on cyber-crime. "[The FCC] could, for example, say to all the ISPs, 'You will do the following things to reduce fraud, bot nets, malicious activity, etc."

Isn't the government one of the problems where online privacy is concerned? It is, as Clarke pointed out. He also called for a nonpartisan organization dedicated to fighting abuses of government power. "What if we had a champion in the government who we trusted on privacy rights and civil liberties? What if we had a government advocate with real power to ensure that the government doesn't violate privacy rights."

That's three points from the five-point plan. Two more to go.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.