Skip to main content

PRIVACY OR SECURITY: MUST WE CHOOSE?

I try not to get caught up in the hurly-burly of the 24 hour news cycle. I don't subscribe to the English-language television and radio options that are available to me here in France. Instead, I depend on the written word - on paper and online - giving me the ability to step back a bit and see if I can detect a bigger picture. So I skip over the latest Trump silliness. (No, we didn't meet with the Russians. Wait a minute. We did meet with the Russians but not about Clinton. Wait a minute. The Russians said that the meeting would be about Clinton, but it really wasn't.) I skip over the latest missteps by Theresa May and her gang of Brexiteers. (If you're an English-speaking expat in Europe, you know what I'm talking about.) And I only take passing notice of the latest Tour de France updates. (Is it me or are there more disabling crashes involving favorites this year than previous?)

If I don't worry about the latest political dustup that has everybody else on tenterhooks, what is it that causes me to pause and wonder about the fate of mankind? Trophy hunting? GMOs? Rogue ice shelves in the South Atlantic?

No. I'm worried about cyber security.

I'm not concerned about my bank account. It's simply too small to be noticed. And I've done what I can to prevent viruses and hijacking. I worry that the predictions of the sci-fi authors are coming true. If it is online, it's hackable. Therefore, it's public. And since everything is online, everything can be hacked. And everything is therefore public. Period. Our government has discovered that it can't keep secrets. WikiLeaks has become a fashionable social media hero. Folks applaud. Shine a light, they said.


That's when I began to worry. Not because my nude photos might be published. (Because there aren't any.) I began to worry because documents aren't the only things that are online. Ask Iran's nuclear scientists about Stuxnet. Better yet, ask the folks who run our own nuclear power plants. In case you missed it, they've been hacked. They're safe, we're told. Special technology. You can hack the company headquarters but you can't effect operations. Yeah, the Russians hacked us. But they couldn't get anywhere.

Yet...

And it's not just nuclear power. It's the entire power grid that I worry about. And the financial markets. And traffic lights. And flight controllers. And the machines that pack my toothpaste tubes. Once hacking became acceptable, even noble in certain circumstances, all bets were off.

That's why I am not a fan of WikiLeaks. And that's why I think Snowden is no role model. And that's why I want my NSA back. That's right. I want a well-funded, high-tech, black as a black hole government agency at my cyber back, protecting me against well-funded and well-fed North Korean hackers. Against Putin's former KGB buddies and their cyber-fluent successors. Against the neighbor's kid in his onesie in the basement. I want Tommy Lee Jones or Helen Mirren taking charge. I want the equivalent of a Sean Connery or Jason Bourne cyber-agent unleashed.

We are always fighting the last war. We had to build a modern armed forces from scratch to face the Japanese and the Germans 75 years ago because we thought that two oceans protected us. And now, we are spending $400 billion to build jet fighters that we won't be able to deploy if our Command and Control is hacked and useless.

I don't demand accountability. I demand safety. That means stepping on some Constitutional toes. And you know what? If it saves the world from planes falling out of the sky or lye getting injected into my toothpaste tube or the whole world getting a look at my naked selfies, I'm all for it.

For more of my political opinions, I keep a dedicated page HERE.





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days. Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December. The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the f

THREE YEARS IN FRANCE - AN AMERICAN EXPAT'S REFLECTIONS

Have you wondered what it might be like to pick up and move to another country? Americans are lured to retirement havens in Mexico, Costa Rica, or Panama. They say that Eastern Europe is beautiful, safer than the evening news might suggest, and relatively inexpensive. Southeast Asia is hot, but it's cheap. Remember, though. I'm not talking about investigating a vacation home, time share, or other form of shared ownership. I'm talking about a permanent, sell out and ship the furniture sort of  move. For most Americans, the thought has never crossed their minds. Think about it. Think about moving from one state to another, from one town to another, even from one neighborhood across town. Add the need to learn a new language - if you aren't multilingual already. Add the need to deal in a new currency and the need to learn the ins and outs of currency exchange. Add metric measurements. And a new healthcare system. And a new bureaucracy to navigate. Daunting? You betcha!

AU LAVOIR, COLOMBIERS - RESTAURANT REVIEW

We live in a town that doesn't do very much to encourage growth or tourism. The streets are rough and bumpy, the tinted glass has been broken out of the street light nearest our house since we moved in three years ago, and the fountain in the square was activated this week for the first time since we arrived. Oddly enough, many of us like it that way. Quarante is a quiet little village, not on a main road to anywhere, but with a fine baker, two excellent butchers, and a bar that serves edible if not exciting food. We could use an ATM (cash point, money wall...) and a gas (petrol) station but otherwise, most of us are happy that Quarante is a backwater. Colombiers, on the other hand, seems determined to do everything possible to turn itself into a crowded, overdeveloped, cash hungry example of all that folks like us are looking to avoid when we move to the rural south of France. Ugly apartment blocks? Check. Newly constructed condos with a 'view', meaning you can see a tin