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

Vint Cerf's firing squad awaits

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Number four: A secure software standard. "We should look, as an industry, at improving the quality of secure code, so that we don't need to issue software patches, so there aren't trap doors - intentional or otherwise," he said. "This is not a revolutionary idea. We put this in place a long time ago for electrical appliances."

This is Clarke's least controversial notion, but you have to wonder how effective it can be. Removing all bugs from electrical equipment is one thing. Removing them from software code - some of the most complex stuff ever invented - is another.

In discussing secure software standards, Clarke slipped in another plug for Microsoft. "This is an idea Microsoft has already championed," he said. And then he said it again. Bill and gang sponsored the conference.

And, yes, Clarke's fifth and final idea is a less than open internet. "Another idea that's already been rejected that I think we should look at again is the idea of a closed internet," Clarke said. "Why should the part of the internet that's connected to the power grid be open? Why should that part of the internet that runs nuclear laboratories be open? Why shouldn't there be a closed internet? There are already relatively closed internets - and now we need to think seriously about expanding them."

Several years ago, when Clarke suggested the idea to Vint Cerf, the internet founding father had a fit. "[He] implied he was putting together a firing squad to take me out," Clarke said. ®

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