Monday, February 28, 2011

with friends like these, who needs security?

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve no doubt heard about the showdown in Wisconsin. All those overpaid free loading hippie teachers ruining the country. The battle over a union busting bill drudges up age old myths pitting private firms against public unions. Make no mistake, big business is watching Wisconsin very closely hoping that the last remaining vestige of collective public power vanishes from sight.

Perhaps that is why during all the recent turmoil, Wisconsin Govenor, Scott Walker took a phone call from who he thought was billionaire donor David Koch. Koch is one part of a conservative powerhouse Koch industries that has made no attempt to hide their union busting agenda. In this country we have pretty much gotten used to corruption at all levels of the government, so the meddling of the koch brothers isn't a big surprise. What does surprise me, is the comment made by Walker during his conversation with the imposture. He suggested “planting troublemakers” in the crowd in an attempt to discredit the pro-union protesters. Which, it now seems, is an alarming trend.

Take the recent news with anonymous.You remember anonymous? Right? That fringe group of radical hackers right out of a 90s film. Anarchists, terrorists, bent on bring down the man. Who in their right mind would provoke a decentralized group of guerilla nerds with the ability to dump the porn filled contents of your hard drive right into the hands of the public?

Enter this asshole.

That’s security services firm HBGary FederalCEO (I mean former CEO) Aaron Barr. In an recent article in the financial times, Mr Barr boasted his prowess by warning Anonymous that he had infiltrated their network, collected information on the core leaders, and threaten to turn it over to police. Dumb move. Within 48 hrs, HBGary’s website was shut down and Mr. Barrs email was hacked, spilling loads of delicious private company secrets into the hands of millions. oh and in case your wondering, Barr decided to step down.

The emails detail a plan by HBGary and 2 other tech firms attempts to win a $2 million contract to “assist” the chamber with their political opponents by planting fake documents, tying the organization to radical activists or creating "fake insider personas" on social media.


These two incidents revel the problem with american political discourse. Political players refuse engage in actual dialogue that enables participants to act more effectively to pursue shared objectives. Instead we have a game of political theatre, fueled by the "news" media, where posturing is more important than progress. Since agreement cannot, or will not be reached, the only alternative is to discredit your opponents as HB gary and Koch industries have tried to do. As if their millions of dollars of contributions weren't enough, now they've got to go around planting fake documents and profiles. This is a deplorable state of affairs, one that i fear will only get worse with time, especially if we allow the huge institutions, with access to unlimited resources operate without some kind of oversight.

Ironically enough, even with all their money and political clout, one of the most well respected security firms in the country clearly didn't have enough security to stop a bunch of nerds from airing their dirty laundry. hopefully this will serve as a warning:

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