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Thread: Grad Student May Be National Security Threat

  1. #1
    AO Security for Non-Geeks tonybradley's Avatar
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    Aug 2002

    Grad Student May Be National Security Threat

    A George Mason University student named Sean Gorman has put together a wealth of information that could prove devastating if it were to fall into the wrong hands. The government has taken an interest and has considered classifying his work- however he obtained all of the information he used in creating it from freely available public resources.

    Perhaps the Freedom of Information Act and similar laws should be reviewed. Obviously there are important pieces of information available to the public which perhaps nobody really has the need to know. While we can't have the government hiding information from the public, we also need to be conscious of the impact the information we share could have.

    The U.S. government is already mis-using and abusing its expanded powers from 9/11 to erode the rights of U.S. citizens and hide their actions and large portions of the budget under the guise of "national security" interests. You don't want to give them any more "reason" to hide information in the interest of "national security".

    Its a fine line to walk.

    Here is the article about the grad student: Dissertation Could Be Threat To National Security

  2. #2
    Master-Jedi-Pimps0r & Moderator thehorse13's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
    Washington D.C. area
    I find this very interesting as there are *tons* of freely available information sources that can be used to build similar programs. What I mean is that you can take the consolidation idea and apply it to something like public water supply locations, etc. It seems that when someone actually compiled the info in one easy to use place it suddenly became an issue. If the industry was actually on top of their game, they would have already had a similar map.
    Our scars have the power to remind us that our past was real. -- Hannibal Lecter.
    Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. -- John Wooden

  3. #3
    AO Part Timer
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    Feb 2003
    Thanks for the article tonybradley. I think the government should be more cautious when pointing fingers. They are the first to advertise on the tv about some "top secret" attack on some other country. I always wondered what is the point of a secret? Somebody is gonna talk. Yet the government wishes to control information. They will never succed. What next, are you gonna take away my right to bear arms also? What the hell is the point of our rights?
    Espically if somebody is gonna decide what we can learn, what we can own, and what we can say? Schools in this country are the biggest problem. School should teach our children how to think, not what to think. Why should a ceo make millions of dollars when an everyday teacher has to get a summer job to survive? Doesn't the government control enough information?
    Your heart was talking, not your mind.
    -Tiger Shark

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2002
    Great find tonybradley. Here goes the government again. They get an opportunity to better defend themselves yet they are trying to conceal information as usual.

    If this guy could find all this information why can't someone else who's up to no good find it? They need to see the good in this guy finiding and block the loose ends to make their vulnerabilities to attack less.

    Just my thoughts on things.
    - The mind is too beautiful to waste...

  5. #5
    AO Security for Non-Geeks tonybradley's Avatar
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    Aug 2002
    Why should a ceo make millions of dollars when an everyday teacher has to get a summer job to survive?
    I totally agree with you there. I have never understood exactly what a CEO does that anyone feels is worth $100 Million plus a year. It seems to be more "who you know" than "what you know" at that level.

    To be a successful CEO requires that you have the right connections in the right places politically and at other companies to get your agenda pushed through. But, in terms of actual work and knowledge they have an army of people (many underpaid) under them who actually come up with the ideas and execute them.

    It seems to a good 'ol boy network anyway. The CEO of one company has CEO's from other companies on his Board of Directors and in return he serves on their Board of Directors. Then they all vote each other pay increases, stock options, stock grants and tens of millions of dollars in "loans" that end up magically forgiven by the Board and never get repaid.

    A CEO can provide value to a company and its shareholders, but not one of them is providing enough value that I think they are worthy of multi-million dollar compensation packages.

    Schools in this country are the biggest problem. School should teach our children how to think, not what to think.

    Don't even get me started on this topic! :-)

    The public school system was originally derived from a Prussian system designed to produce good, loyal soldiers. You can NOT teach a class of 30 kids one way. They all have different ways of learning and are at different levels of comprehension. Each student needs to learn in their own way.

    The public school system devotes half the time to forcing the children to be drones and clones- sit down, shut up, don't be unique, don't think for yourself, and the other half teaching to a standardized test that gets them funding. So, the students don't learn what they should or what they need to- they learn what the school wants them to know to pass a multiple choice test to make sure they get money.

    We homeschool for those and many other reasons. Besides, given the freedom to think and be creative and follow their own methods kids will teach themselves. My 5-year old can read and do math at a 1st or 2nd grade level. Not because my wife or I drilled him or sat him down with a curriculum. Not because any school taught him. Basically, he wanted to be able to play the Pokemon trading card game with his older brother. To do so he needed to be able to read the cards and do the math to figure out who won and who lost or whatever. Driven by his own desire to play Pokemon he taught himself to read and do math.

    My daughter from my first marriage does go to public school. She was officially to be in kindergarten this past year. They promoted her to 1st grade after 2 weeks. She reads at a 5th grade plus level and does math at a 2nd or 3rd grade level. So, the school basically has to dumb her down even after promoting her to the next grade early so that she can come down to the level of the students she is surrounded by.


    I love the United States and wouldn't trade it for any other country in the world, but there are plenty of areas for improvement and corruptiona and abuse pretty much anywhere you look long enough.

    So, lets quit vegging on AO bitching about it all and go do something!

  6. #6
    Priapistic Monk KorpDeath's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    In case all of you couch activists didn't know about this site. Here it is.


    Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.
    - Samuel Johnson

  7. #7
    Macht Nicht Aus moxnix's Avatar
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    May 2002
    Huson Mt.
    When I was in the service and stationed at Ramstein AB in Germany, we got a new radar installed. Unfortunately, they didn't send us the proper manuals to go with it. We requested them, of course, but was told that it could take up to 6 months to get them, for they were classified, and would have to be sent by courier.
    At a loss of how to tune it and bring it on line, one of my fellow techs brought in a "Popular Science" Magazine, that had all the information we needed to get the beastie up and running.
    I won't comment on what I think of our great goverments classification criteria, but I am sure you can guess fairly closely.
    I aggree with cutty:
    If this guy could find all this information why can't someone else who's up to no good find it? They need to see the good in this guy finiding and block the loose ends to make their vulnerabilities to attack less.
    \"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!\"
    Author Unknown

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2001
    I just think it is amazing that people think the world will end if we can't use ATM machines, send an email message, or pick up or cell phone to call a friend across the country. Humans have lived for thousands of years without fiber optic networks. Why would anybody even possibly think that we would perish without it now??? Things could get ugly, and our oh so posh and comfortable way of life could be impacted. But it would not be the end of the world. Most phone companies can recover from a major fiber cut in a matter of hours. My employer has one of the largest fiber networks in the world, and we have emergency restoration crews located across the country/world that do nothing but practice for a real emergency. I'd rather have a terrorist going after a fiber hub in the middle of Kansas somewhere than going after a football stadium full of people.

  9. #9
    0_o Mastermind keezel's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
    *copiez and pastez rant* Hope you don't mind...but I thought it was good. In public school I was the only "smart kid" because my parents were the only ones that taught me anything outside of school and they encouraged me to learn more. This is one of the reasons why I'm studying all this stuff about computers now...not because someone is forcing me to but because (thanks mostly to my parents) I have a drive to always be learning more. I hate the way the public school system operates, now that I look back on it. Also, there are a lot of things about it that remind me of Communism......this scares me. On another subject...I think something should be done to get our Gvt. to realize that security by obscurity isn't working and won't work....so they should start taking some better precautions. I *know* with all those (opinionated ) people out there you can come up with some ideas .

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