February 28, 2013

Cybersecurity … can it be anything more than fear + handwaving = “we must have a law!”

Filed under: Business, Government, Law, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 00:01

At Techdirt, Mike Masnick fisks “the worst article you might ever read about ‘Cybersecurity'”:

There has been a lot of discussion lately about “cybersecurity” “cyberwar” “cyberattacks” and all sorts of related subjects which really really (really!) could do without the outdated and undeniably lame “cyber-” prefix. This is, in large part, due to the return of CISPA along with the White House’s cybersecurity executive order. Of course, the unfortunate part is that we’re still dealing in a massive amount of hype about the “threats” these initiatives are trying to face. They’re always couched in vague and scary terms, like something out of a movie. There are rarely any specifics, and the few times there are, there is no indication how things like CISPA would actually help. The formula is straightforward: fear + handwaving = “we must have a law!”

However, I think we may now have come across what I believe may top the list of the worst articles ever written about cybersecurity. If it’s not at the top, it’s close. It is by lawyer Michael Volkov, and kicks off with a title that shows us that Volkov is fully on board with new laws and ramping up the FUD: The Storm Has Arrived: Cybersecurity, Risks And Response. As with many of these types of articles, I went searching for the evidence of these risks, but came away, instead, scratching my head, wondering if Volkov actually understands this subject at all, with his confused thinking culminating in an amazing paragraph so full of wrong that almost makes me wonder if the whole thing is a parody.

[. . .]

There’s been plenty of talk about these Chinese hacks, which definitely do appear to be happening. But, what economic activity has been undermined? So far, the hacks may have been a nuisance, but it’s unclear that they’ve done any real damage. It is also unclear how CISPA helps stop such hacks, other than making Congress feel like it’s “done something.”

Are there issues with online security that need to be taken seriously? Yes, absolutely. Do we need legislation to deal with those problems? That’s debatable, and we’re still waiting for some evidence not just of scary sounding threats, but that this kind of legislation will actually help. Unfortunately, this article keeps us waiting. But, it did make us laugh. Unintentionally (we think).

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