[svlug] national security, taking it personally

Rick Kwan kenobi at coruscant.lightsaber.com
Fri May 12 13:13:29 PDT 2000

Thanks to Rafael <raffi at linwin.com> for pointing out the paper at:
I skimmed it and found it very interesting.  It makes me think that
we should target a information campaign at government decision
makers.  (Set of simple charts in PDF that they could freely use
might fit their attention span.)

Among the problems described on the page...

  * an assumption that dragging a file to the trash can icon would
    delete the data of the file from the computer.

  * mixing of government classified and sensitive personal data on
    the same computer or media.  (Apparantly, the classified data
    was thought to be destroyed.)

  * an assumption that communication via modem and ISP were reasonably
    secure.  (Timeframe was 1995-96, when the general public was much
    less informed about the Internet.  But this person should have
    known better.)

This particular case involves a former Director of Central Intelligence
(DCI), and his inappropriate use of computers after his resignation.
Here, the computers are Macs.  Potentially, it is good intentions
being carried out in an inappropriate manner.  Alternatively, this
is a serious espionage case; by default, it must be treated as one.

I can imagine a whole host of elected officials and their staff members
operating in the same misinformed manner.  It would be natural for
them to:

  * remove personal financial and other data from PCs before
    returning computers to the government.

  * have more concern for their personal data than the government
    data.  (They are potential targets of exploitation.)

This should hit home with them and make them take national security and
choice of platform very personally.

--Rick Kwan, Lightsaber Computing
  rick.kwan at lightsaber.com

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