The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'secrecy'
Did you know that, in the US, the destination of BSE-tainted meat is a state secret? Well, not quite, but it is illegal for government agencies to tell the public about where tainted meat was sold. Which has led to the absurd situation of the government calling a recall without notifying the recipients of tainted meat, i.e., essentially as a PR exercise to reassure the peasantry that everything is OK whilst protecting the profits of agribusiness.
"I do think that the USDA has erred in its judgment here. It has sacrificed the public's health in favor of the beef industry,'' said [Alameda County health officer] Iton.
(There's one way to be safe: if you're in the US, stop eating beef.)
After 9/11, governments quickly pulled formerly public information and restricted areas of scientific publication to keep them out of the hands of terrorists. Now DARPA, the US Department of Defense's research funding body has cancelled funding for OpenBSD security research because open-source software could help terrorist nation-states. Is this an isolated incident, or the start of a governmental purge of open standards and open-source software, and the start of a "national security"-driven shift towards proprietary standards kept on a strict need-to-know basis? After all, if Cisco, Microsoft and TRW hold the keys, the reasoning goes, Saddam Bin Laden can't use the technology to kill us. And replacing publically documented standards and open-source software with secret black-box technologies has numerous other advantages, from surveillance hooks to catch more terrorists, paedophiles, tax cheats and miscellaneous troublemakers to tremendous "peace dividends" such as end-to-end copyright enforcement and whistleblower-proof rights management for documents; not to mention handsome dividends for the shareholders of the keepers of the keys.