European Commissioner Malmström spoke at a conference of the increasing rate of “cybercrime” and how the Internet is increasingly insecure. As a result, she argues, the Europol must receive more resources, jail terms for “net-facilitated” crimes must be raised, and Sweden must join NATO.
An ignored fact in this statement is that the Internet was at its most insecure in 1988, when the Morris Worm changed the design philosophy radically, after the worm had taken out 10% of the connected systems. Year after year since, the net has become more secure. Today, systems are patched rapidly, automatically and efficiently. Nobility is always late to the party, it’s said, but being 23 years late to the party is stretching it quite a bit beyond what’s reasonable, even for a politician.
It could be argued that Microsoft-based systems are still unsecure. I would agree — Microsoft was late to the party, and partially changed its design philosophy as late as 2001-2002, through a company-wide effort. This means that every foundation written before this was not written with security in mind. That particularly includes Windows. However, they have done a decent — not good, but decent — effort in setting up automatic processes for closing security gaps as they are discovered. Therefore, the Microsoft argument is partly irrelevant.
Reason 2.0 was a computer program introduced by Douglas Adams in his novel “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”. While most decision-support software was based on ordering arguments to help the operator come to a conclusion, Adams argued presciently, Reason 2.0 turned the tables and asked the operator first for the wanted conclusion, and then ordered the available arguments to undisputably arrive at that desired conclusion. In the book, the program was a smashing commercial success until the military bought everything lock, stock and barrel.
In this case, it appears that Commissioner Malmström is looking for arguments to give Europol more resources and for Sweden to join NATO, and failed spectacularly in presenting supporting arguments for that conclusion. However, that was only in the eyes of the public (see the comments) — at this political conference (Folk och Försvar, literally People and Defense), politicians and civil servants are accepting the alleged dangers as facts, quite possibly out of the aspiration that it may give them more budget in turn.
It’s quite sad to see the political nobility living in such a reality distortion bubble. It’s also worth reading Emma’s post on how this bubble turns into a War on Humanity by said nobility.