The International Internet Health System – is this the next fight between civil liberties and government/business vested interest?
It’s only October, but I’m willing to predict that 2010 will be defined as the year in which heavyweight, seriously targeted cybershit emerged. At the beginning of the year we learnt that Google and a few other mainstream corporations were specifically targeted by possi/probably Chinese government hackers; and more recently in the second half of the year we have had Stuxnet, a Trojan designed specifically, we are invited to believe, to take out Iran’s nuclear development programme.
There is absolutely no proof whatsoever about who is behind either of these attacks. However, within weeks of Stuxnet being labeled as a cyberweapon, the BBC reports:
The UK’s critical infrastructure – such as power grids and emergency services – faces a “real and credible” threat of cyber attack, the head of GCHQ says.
The intelligence agency’s director Iain Lobban said the country’s future economic prosperity rested on ensuring a defence against such assaults.
UK infrastructure faces cyber threat, says GCHQ chief
Frankly, I would have been happier if he hadn’t said this. Anybody and everybody with any knowledge of the internet, technology and information security threats and defences knows very well that this is at least potentially true; and has been potentially true for several years.
So why is he saying it now, when even the technically naive know from Stuxnet that infrastructures are vulnerable? Why now, when national budgets are being reviewed? Is Iain Lobban simply after more money – a bigger budget?
Actually, I think not. I fear it is worse. The BBC report continues by quoting him:
“There is an opportunity which we can seize if government and the telecommunications sector, hardware and software vendors, and managed service providers can come together.
“It’s an opportunity to develop a holistic approach to cyber security that makes UK networks intrinsically resilient in the face of cyber threats.”
Compare this statement to that of Microsoft’s Scott Charney a few days earlier:
Simply put, we need to improve and maintain the health of consumer devices connected to the Internet. This will benefit not only users, but also the IT ecosystem as a whole. To realize this vision, governments, the IT industry and Internet access providers should ensure the health of consumer devices before granting them unfettered access to the Internet.
Scott Charney, Microsoft: Collective Defense – Applying Public Health Models to the Internet
Have you ever had that feeling you’re being prepared? Manipulated? Buttered? The internet is dangerous. It is uncontrolled. Uncontrolled is a synonym for anarchy. Government abhors anarchy like Christianity abhors the anti-christ, and business abhors stagnating profit. Neither bureaucracies nor business likes the internet as it is. Control is what both want. They didn’t get key escrow. RIPA doesn’t give them what they want. They didn’t get ID Cards. So why not simply control who can use the internet in the name of an International Internet Health System? That would give them what they want.
I may be wrong. I hope I am. But just in case I’m not, let’s get ready for the next fight between civil liberties and the government/business vested interest: say ‘No‘ now to an International Internet Health System.