Cyber-Civic Responsibility

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Brent Huston

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More and more we are a folk who expect others to protect us from society’s ills and to take care of our dirty work for us. We have police and courts to protect us from violence and larceny. We take it as certain that someone will pick up our garbage, keep our electricity flowing and make sure that our water is clean. And rightly so! After all, isn’t that why we elect officials? Isn’t that why we pay all those fees and taxes that hit us from every side? Life is so complex now that no one has the mental and emotional resources to think and care about every little thing that affects us. We have to draw the line somewhere just to cope and remain sane.

Unfortunately, most of us have put information security and the unrestricted use of our delightful new cyber-toys on the wrong side of that line. We dismissively expect the ISPs, the software developers, the anti-virus personnel, the government, and who knows all else to keep our information secure for us. And they try their best. The problem is that “they” simply can’t do it. Although computer use seems like old and well established technology to many of us, it is really in its infancy and is expanding explosively in unexpected directions. None of the regulations, devices or software packages designed to secure networked computers really work well or for long. They are always too limited, too weak and too late.

The only thing that really has a chance of working is if we all start taking responsibility for our own share of the problem. We need to change our complacent attitudes and realize that it is our civic duty to become actively involved in this concern. It won’t be easy or pleasant. We will need to keep ourselves well-schooled on the subject. We will need to endure security procedures that make computer use a little less convenient and free. And we will need to keep close tabs on the regulators and manufacturers and demand that effective security becomes an integral part of the system. Remember, our place in the world and even our physical safety depends on it! Isn’t that worth a little of our time and patience?

This post by John Davis.

This was cross-posted from the MSI State of Security blog. 

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