sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Fifty years on, Eisenhower's farewell address seems quite relevant to the times, and the readers of this blog.

A quibble:
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

In 2011, when any village idiot/realtor can comment on which NSF grants do not have merit, it is safe to say that public policy is in no danger of becoming captive to the scientific-technological elite. (By the way, Jacques Barzun's The House of Intellect is a great exploration of anti-intellectualism in the U.S. [I hope I look that good when I'm 102, and I'm unsurprised the Presbyterians played host.])

However, a core tenet of the contemporary homeland defender's creed is "we don't set policy." The scientific-technological elite, to which you, dear reader, no doubt belong, strives to uphold the Unix ideal, providing mechanism, not policy... capability, not culpability. This is a cop-out. You can't sit Grandma down in front of a bash prompt and tell her she'll be just fine with man man.

Our clients, those whom we serve, likely do not understand what it is we do, what we know, what we can do, and, most importantly, what should be done. If we in the Cyber Industrial Complex* do not act with restraint, if we do not "conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline," then we risk legitimizing the paranoid delusionals, and the lawless actions of their defenders. "Thy will be done" may be the easy interpretation our masters desire, but when our masters are not omniscient, or lack sufficient wisdom, then, ever mindful of our own weaknesses and ever penitent, we should strive to be of good counsel. Machine learning, SNA, disinformation, and old school psyops are good tools, but only if we have good targets.

* Military Cyber Complex is maybe more apt, but less poetic.

Update: Penitence requires more than an apology, but it's a good start.

Update 2: The paper of record 

Comment: What about severing ties to Hunton & Williams? Severing ties to a tiny firm like HB Gary Federal seems like kicking a dead dog.

No comments:

Post a Comment