Giving power to the government

In the name of our fears, we give power to government. While I am not a paranoid about government (rather, I am a paranoid about the motivations of most people, which are venal), I see it as foolish to delegate powers that do not need to be delegated:

Federal authorities will remotely uninstall the Coreflood botnet Trojan from some infected Windows PCs over the next four weeks.

Coreflood will be removed from infected computers only when the owners have been identified by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and they have submitted an authorization form to the FBI.

The DOJ's plan to uninstall Coreflood is the latest step in a coordinated campaign to cripple the botnet, which controls more than 2 million compromised computers.

Two weeks ago, the DOJ and the FBI obtained an unprecedented temporary restraining order that allowed them to seize five command-and-control (C&C) servers that managed Coreflood. Since then, the U.S. Marshal's Service has operated substitute C&C servers that have disabled the bot on most infected PCs. - Komputerwelt

We call it "mission creep" and "slippery slope," but the phenomenon is the same: a government, corporation, church group, bunch of friends, poker night club, coffee klatch, etc. will, if given a power, expand to use it.

The entity needs to justify its own existence and/or its salary or cost, so if given a power, it will use that power to find "problems" and fix them. If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you have a hammer the taxpayers paid for, you'd better find a nail.

While right now it's great that Uncle Sap is fixing up our latest round of botnet infections, this will set a precedent for the government to interfere in the future. Maybe they will opt to scan for bad software, bad information or even unlicensed content.

It won't happen right away, but it will never be easier to stop than now.

A more sensible solution is to have ISPs quarantine any machines infected with this virus, which would then force the people owning them to contact the ISPs to figure out what they should do. Costs will be high. They should be passed to the people with the infected machines, so they have financial incentive to learn why they shouldn't surf Russian porn sites at 3 am while drunk and using Internet Explorer 6.0.

We have two options: personal responsibility for those infected, or government stepping in to fix everything, and gaining some superpowers as a result.


  1. Anonymous5:55 PM

    I just found this blog by "accident", and having been feverishly reading every entry. I can't decide if you are an f'ing genius, or absolutely mental! Either way I'm a new fan, keep it up, and Slayer Rules!


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