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January 12, 2007

Opinion about federal regulations for strengtening information security

My opinion about the merits of the arguments made by Bruce Schneier and Marcus Ranum in their debate on "Do federal regulations help?" published in the November 2006 issue of Information Security magazine just got published in the January 2007 issue. The original text I submitted is provided below. It is very close the final version published in the magazine, the edits are mostly done to reduce the size but the original meaning is preserved.

Although both Schneier and Ranum raise valid points about the merits of their preferred approaches to improving information security, I think Ranum's approach is less practical. The main problem with it is that federal regulation is notoriously slow and difficult to develop.

In a fast moving arena, such as information security where the technology moves quickly and the new threats are often impossible to anticipate, this is a fatal flaw. Intuitively speaking, one can give a blanket liability statement that would cover (nearly) all possible misuses of information but cannot define an equally broad regulatory statement with sharp teeth: the broader the regulation, the weaker the meaning, the duller the teeth. To sharpen the regulation's teeth we must narrow its scope but that shortens its lifespan. The last things we want are too many new versions of the Kansas horse laws in our federal books.   

January 10, 2007

CES 2007 trends

The CES show in Las Vegas is on the way. I "hear" from the Net that the major trend this year is mobility and access to Internet services from all kinds of end-user devices. Bill Gates made an interesting remark: for the first time in history the young generation spent more time on a computer than watching TV. All this is good but it also makes me wonder what level of hacker assault it will bring about.

The Information Security Magazine too forecasts a much bloodier 2007 in terms of security problems on the Internet and beyond.

Only time will tell...

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