Air Force Aims For Full Control Of Any And All Computers
Initially, this post was written for a different audience, but I believe it is something that should be of interest to mental health professionals. Although I have a love for computers, I also have a great distrust that anything transmitted from them is secure or private. We need to think of HIPAA requirements, electronic billing, chats with clients online or on the telephone, the elecronic medical record, and so on. Everything on the internet is forever, stored in memory somewhere, and accessible from more and more sources, legal or not A post on this topic geared specifically to the purpose of this blog will be done soon.
Does that read too much like a scare headline from the Far Left? It isn't. Wired News online reports that the US Air Force itself has made it. In an April 13, 2008 article by Noah Schachtman, it is stated that:
The Air Force wants a suite of hacker tools, to give it "access" to -- and "full control" of -- any kind of computer there is. And once the info warriors are in, the Air Force wants them to keep tabs on their "adversaries' information infrastructure completely undetected."
I have included links to both the Wired article and to the Air Force website to allow readers to judge for themselves where we are headed. Most of my regular readers know that I border on the paranoid in my responses to be watched by recording cameras at stoplights, at toll road transponder lanes, and on our streets and intersections. I strongly object to being listened to, phone tapped, having my mail read, or just generally being observed in any manner unless someone has reason to believe I am committing a crime or am planning one.
On the other side of this topic, I want my government to protect me - from criminals, from street muggers to multi-national corporate muggers, from enemies foreign and domestic, to preserve our constitution, and defend our land. I appreciate the brave people in the military services and in the public sectors who serve us and take care of us so well and who we too often take for granted.
At a deeply frightened level, I know that a current "World War III" would be fought like no other. China has demonstrated to us their ability to blind and disorient our spy and navigation satellites by shooting down one of their own. In turn, our "accidental" transport of six W80-1 variable yield live nuclear warheads From Minot AFB in ND to Barksdale AFB in LA was given much more publicity than I would expect any military organization to allow the media. I do not see these incidents as unique, or even highly significant in the bigger picture, of which the public sees only tiny fragments through a glass, darkly. If an enemy had unfettered access to any of the Internets or grids that control our distribution of electricity, natural gas, vehicle fuel, traffic and transportation flow, food and water distribution, public and military communications, financial tractions (commercial, investment, and banking,) ... well, you get the picture. Our nation would be brought to its knees in a grinding, chaotic halt. In a much more localized manner, the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) of a conventional atomic weapon or an "E-Bomb" destroys MOSFETs, FETs, transistors, and the like if not Faraday shielded, thus disabling electronic devices in the area of the explosion. The government and Military knows this in infinitely greater detail than do I.
On a personal, much less significant level, I have been affected wrongly by the same type of capabilities as are needed to defend our nation. I sold a car to a friend who ran through four "I-Pass" toll stops without paying. I received a ticket for four infractions, complete with a very clear picture of the back of the car with my plates still on it, and a statement that not being the driver was no excuse for not paying the tickets. In another incident, Medicare gave the Veterans Health Administration all of my personal and business information (including SSN, EIN, bank routing numbers, addresses, etc.) without any notification to me. I found this out when the VHA notified me that a portable hard drive with this information on it was missing. At least they had the decency to notify me and provide for one year of credit fraud alerts. I have no doubt that, despite the precautions I take personally, this type of information has been lost, discarded, or stolen far more times than I am aware. As a simple example of the laxity of transactions in the area of credit, I have written "Require Photo ID" on all my cards, along with my signature. It has been checked only once in approximately 10 years.
So what do we do and where do we go with this sort of information? I honestly do not know. The same technology that protects us can destroy us. The same types of devices that allow surveillance of criminals, terrorists, and enemy actions are easily able to be turned on a country's own law abiding citizens. It is, after all, so very much easier to listen in on our own cell phone conversations and take pictures of our own license plates than it is to definitely identify what is happening in an enemy's hardened military site or know if a satellite is armed and has military capabilities.
Copyright © 2008, Thomas A. Blood Ph.D.
"We realize our dilemma goes deeper than shortage of time; it is basically a problem of priorities. We confess, We have left undone those things that ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done." - Charles E. Hummel