June 5th, 2006, 12:00 AM
From Sysadmins To Soccer Moms
We've seen a wave of legislation being passed and proposed the past several years that have sought to bring further regulation to both receiving information from, and publishing information to, the internet. Whether it be attempts at mandating age verification for materials "not suitable to minors", or even legislation that would require ISP-level filtering of content, the end result would be the same: a chilling effect on the free exchange of information and ideas.
The vast majority of this legislation has been spurred under the guise of protecting minors. A common argument in Senate Subcommittee meetings is that parents simply aren't as technologically sophisticated as their children, and lack the understanding and ability to properly protect and monitor their own computers. Truth be told, this is probably a very valid argument, even if the proposed solutions would lack effectiveness.
It would seem to me then, a priority for those who care about freedom of expression and who wish to see the internet remain an open medium for communication, would be to help educate those who currently lack an understanding of ways to monitor and control their private home computers.
One of the quotes I used often to describe AntiOnline was that it was source of information for everyone from "sysadmins to soccer moms". The "fight-back" section, which now lingers on this site horribly out of date and neglected, was once the cornerstone of that ambition.
However, it seems obvious that many of you, perhaps even most, feel that the exchange of ideas and the consideration of opinion should be reserved only for the most "advanced" of you. That indeed those that lack a mastery understanding of security architecture are "lesser" than you, and in fact, they don't even belong on here. Or perhaps on the internet period?
An information security expert is an enabler. His or her job is to make sure that others can use data systems with confidence. Perhaps that confidence is that their work will remain "secret", or perhaps that confidence simply needs to be that their work won't "disappear". Whether we're talking about a mother trying to keep inappropriate material away from her child and her credit card numbers away from scammers, or a governmental agency trying to keep state secrets away from adversaries, at the end of the day, the information security expert's role is still the same.
To be frank, the past several threads that I've read on here seem to demonstrate that many of you don't grasp that concept. While acting like an antisocial tough guy on AntiOnline might score you some of those AntiPoints that you seem to prize so much, that attitude won't serve you well when a client seeks to understand your recommendations, nor does it serve the greater goals of someone who supposedly seeks to protect information for a living.
While I am certainly accustom to the insecure amongst the AntiOnline community using personal attacks against me as a way to validate themselves (Attacking people on the internet is after all, a great way to build self esteem after years of being beaten up on the playground), I was very upset to see attacks against some of the "soccer moms" that are here to gain an understanding of the systems that they use.
Perhaps some of you should spend some time reflecting on what exactly it is you're hoping to accomplish as a "security professional".
"Don't you see what JP is trying to do here?"
You can now all go back to bitching about my gold dot, and the fact that I don't reply to the immature rantings that usually follow my first post in any given thread.
I've also noticed the trend of giving negative AntiPoints to anyone that attests properly expressed opinions similar to my own in a thread, some to the point it's caused them to nearly get banned. Censorship of ideas, how ironic coming from this community of people?
All perfect examples of what happens if you allow children to write on the walls with crayons, without receiving proper discipline for doing so.