[Editor’s Note: The following post is by TDV Editor-in-Chief, Jeff Berwick]
Outgoing Homeland InSecurity Secretary Janet Napolitano warned her successor on Tuesday to move quickly to prepare for an inevitable large-scale cyber-attack against the United States.
According to Napolitano, “Our country will, at some point, face a major cyber event that will have a serious effect on our lives, our economy and the everyday functioning of our society."
This is a typical, ridiculous government statement that is nonsensical.
If there are entities in the US, such as a power station that is connected to the Internet, the owners of that power station should work to ensure its internet-connected systems are secure. If it's Amazon.com, they should ensure all their systems are as secure as possible. The same goes for millions of other Internet-connected businesses.
Where is there this need for a government to protect them? Does the equivalent of Napolitano in the state of Florida spend their day trying to make sure that everyone in Florida is safe from a cyber-attack? Does each mayor's office of each city make it a priority to make sure that, say, the City of Detroit is safe from a cyber-attack?
Of course not! That's because the internet is without borders. Governments are based on borders, and violence and theft.
Is there a NATO equivalent of Homeland Security protecting the North Atlantic Treat Organization countries from overseas attack? Of course not! And even if they were, if you ran an internet based business would you leave your security up to them?
This is just another instance of government trying to find a job for itself where it is not needed. Oh, and robbing you every year to start with in order to find their make-work projects.
You know who is trying to protect the Internet? The Internet! From government!
THE INTERNET WORKS TO PROTECT ITSELF
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) develops and promotes Internet standards (effectively the free market architects of the internet), cooperating closely with the W3C and ISO/IEC standards bodies and dealing in particular with standards of the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It is an open standards organization, with no formal membership or membership requirements and all participants and managers are volunteers.
"There has been a complete change in how people perceive the world," since Snowden exposed the NSA's massive surveillance efforts, and while "not a silver bullet," the chief technologist at security firm RSA notes, "anything that improves trust in this digital world is a noble aim."
The IETF held emergency meetings after Snowden let people know of the NSA’s activities.
From the Financial Times:
Key architects of the internet have started to fight back against US and UK snooping programmes by drawing up an ambitious plan to defend traffic over the world wide web against mass surveillance.
The Internet Engineering Task Force, a body that develops internet standards, has proposed a system in which all communication between websites and browsers would be shielded by encryption.
So, while Napolitano is warning that we need government to protect the internet the free market on the internet itself is working to protect itself from government!
THE US GOVERNMENT: FURTHER DESTROYING THE US ECONOMY
While the US government claims to be trying to protect US based internet businesses they have actually been mortally damaging them.
An industry group, the Cloud Security Alliance said last month that 10 percent of its non-US members have cancelled a contract with a US-based cloud provider, and 56 percent said they were less likely to use an American company.
Translated into hard dollar amounts, another report this month from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) said US cloud providers stand to lose $22-$35 billion over the next three years because of the publicity surrounding the PRISM program. The overall distrust among consumers and businesses in other countries will affect US tech industry bottom line as well. "The risk is that a country like Germany will say you have to be a German company to provide data services in Germany," Daniel Castro, author of the ITIF report told AFP. "I don't think that helps anyone. We do benefit from free trade and the robust competitiveness in the tech industry."
According to the report, the US dominates cloud computing market both inside the US and around the globe. US firms could see loses between 10-20% of the international market over the next few years.
Castro explained that the NSA dragnet "will likely have an immediate and lasting impact on the competitiveness of the US cloud computing industry if foreign customers decide the risks of storing data with a US company outweigh the benefits."
Internet business is fleeing the US after the world found out about the NSA's PRISM program. We were one of them. We always had plans to have all our servers and systems based outside of the US but after Snowden revealed the true depth of the spying we moved even quicker and just in the last few weeks alone we now have all our servers and systems offshore (mostly in Iceland).
The government is never here to protect you. And, as the US government yet again proved, all they can do is cause damage. The free market takes care of itself just fine on the Internet. The thought that some government agency can do what technology companies and organizations around the world already do is ludicrous.
I suggest to all people, especially Americans to get most of their Internet business outside of the US. Not only is it very susceptible to the prying eyes of the US government but Janet Napolitano has warned of a major coming cyber-attack. Like most attacks it will likely be the US government doing the attacking, to scare people into thinking that they need protection, from the government.
As well, move to encrypted email, encrypted chat and try to be as secure as possible. We often show ways to do this at The Dollar Vigilante newsletter (subscribe here) including a recent write-up on an excellent encryption based alternative to Skype.
All kinds of free market solutions will be racing to market including one that we've had a hand in developing called The Sixth Flag which is a completely encrypted and cloud-based desktop. That is soon to be released and TDV subscribers will be the first to hear about it.