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Most Americans Want Gov't To Make Internet Safer 439

aicrules writes "Despite the constant prattle of privacy groups and individual privacy advocated, according to a poll reported on by CNN most Americans want the government to be heavily involved in securing the Internet. They want to eat their cake too, though, as those polled also don't trust the governmental bodies charged with such security. They also found that more people trust Microsoft with security. From the article, 'I don't think the public knows what it wants Congress to do, but it wants Congress to do something,...They don't have a lot of confidence that Congress will do the right thing.'"
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Most Americans Want Gov't To Make Internet Safer

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  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:57PM (#12844842)

    From TFS:

    according to a poll reported on by CNN most Americans want the government to be heavily involved in securing the internet.

    Of course that's what the poll said...most Americans who don't want the government involved didn't participate in the survey, for fear that the government would flag them as 'potential terrorists'.
    After all, if you don't want our fine government securing our internet, you must be a terrorist!

    Why do you hate our freedom???

    • Insightful (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bob_Robertson ( 454888 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:14PM (#12845108) Homepage
      Well said, TripMaster. I'd mod this up as "insightful" if I had any mod points.

      I know people on the "No Fly List" merely because they speak out on the net against government intrusion. Heck, I could easily be on the list myself, but since I haven't tried flying since the list was invented I don't know. ...since there is no way to find out if you're on the list until you TRY to board a plane. Idiots.
      • Re:Insightful (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jimhill ( 7277 )
        "I know people on the "No Fly List" merely because they speak out on the net against government intrusion."

        I discovered about a month ago that I'm on the TSA watch list. Sure, they'll let me get on a plane but only after special screening. As for printing a boarding pass from the Web, forget it. I don't know if it's really me, or just the name (firstname lastname...that ought to be enough to identify terriss uniquely!) but I do know that I've been very outspoken on- and offline. My first letter to my C
    • by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <shadow,wrought&gmail,com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:14PM (#12845119) Homepage Journal
      Because, no matter how you cut it, freedom==responsibility. We, as a culture, are trying our utmost to avoid responsibility, be it at a government, corporate, or individual level.
      • by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:36PM (#12845423) Homepage Journal
        People would rather pass laws that take away our freedoms than take the personal responsibility of learning to protect themselves. It's how we end up with bonehead ideas like local cops, the FBI, Homeland Security, etc and no doubt they'd love to create a China-like situation where the Internet is kept safe at the mere expense of liberty.

        End-users have the responsibility to protect their computers and themselves when they go online. If they can't do it, or haven't the time, then it's their responsibility to hire outside help.

        I do think companies should be held legally accountable. Software producers should be open to lawsuits for not providing quick, free, and easy security updates to all their products. Companies that don't bother using those updates, not choosing better products, or not otherwise maintaining their security should also be open to lawsuits and possible criminal charges if they work with sensitive data or their compromised systems are used to attack other systems. In the majority of companies I've worked for security was an issue that was totally swept under the carpet. I think that is the #1 reason the Internet has so many security problems.

        Those that won't be responsible by choice should be punished instead of the rest of us constantly cleaning up after them. I like ISPs that disconnect end-users that are detected to be compromised. I'd like to see that built directly into the protocols that define the Internet. That is where these issues should be fixed - not at the government level or even the software level.
        • It's how we end up with bonehead ideas like local cops, the FBI, Homeland Security, etc

          I don't understand - you don't like local cops, and you don't like federal cops, so who do you want to enforce the laws?

          I agree about the homeland security bit though. 'm not sure what value they provide that other existing agencies could not do.

      • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @04:26PM (#12846029) Homepage Journal
        Because, no matter how you cut it, freedom==responsibility. We, as a culture, are trying our utmost to avoid responsibility, be it at a government, corporate, or individual level.

        Well, OK that's a sentiment I can admire, but some of the details are a bit unclear to me.

        Let's look at some hypothetical situations.

        Suppose I buy a TV set at a big box store, and pay for it with a credit card. Naturally, this puts my identity, address and credit card information into the store's database. Now that store offers real time checking, through a remote application server, to the store's system, so that people can check the web to see if an item is in stock before driving over. It happens the application server is poorly secured, and the store's local systems trust the app server. Black hats penetrate the app server, and use the trust to steal my credit card and other identity information.

        Now, are you saying it is my responsibility to investigate the security practices of a store before buying anything with a credit card there? And that if there were a federal law holding the store responsible for using my information responsibily, or even establishing minimal security practices for handling such data, are you saying this would make me less free?

        How about this. I had an account with a local bank, that was swallowed up by a bigger regional bank, that was in turn swallowed up by Bank of America. One of the things BOA really, really wants me to do is to do my banking transactions on line; to pay my bills etc. Stands to reason, it's much more profitable for them than handling a paper check, and I'm perfectly willing to go along. Now to set up my account, it turns out all I have to do is go to their web site and enter some stuff from my paper statement, and they set up a login for me, from which I can send money to anybody or any place from any place with just a web browser.

        This should give anybody with half a brain the heebie jeebies, because (1) if I didn't set up the account, somebody who snitched my statement could. (2) My money and identity is sitting on the server connected to the Internet, even if I hadn't decided to set up the online account. Even if I didn't opt in, I'd still better pray for BOAs guys to be ahead of the bad guys 100% of the time.

        Now, am I more free because BOA can treat my identity and money this way? Is it my responsibility to audit their security policies? Or -- since I as an individual have absolutely no way to do this even if I had the expertise, does having the huge responsibility of guessing which bank is lying the least when they boast about their security, does that mean I'm proportionally freer? Freer than if I could simply go by the security rating awarded to them by some future Bank Data Security board?

        I do have a few friends who opt out of all this. They don't have credit cards, and they cut up their ATM cards when their bank sends one to them. They do business with one of the last local banks in existence, which has a handful of branches around town. They're not technological illiterates either, quite the opposite. They've just chosen to opt out of any consumer financial convenience that has become common since, oh, 1970. They live in a world of paper check registers, savings pass books, and bank tellers who know them by name.

        Is this what true freedom and responsiblity look like?

        Low transaction costs and rapid movement of money are a public good. Security is a public good. Everyone benefits from these things. But private industry is not in the business of providing public goods. In practical terms, this means a private entity has a choice between handling data in a way that a client should trust, and creating the impression that is doing these things, it will take the option that maximizes its profits. The reason having the fox guard the chicken coop is a bad idea is not that foxes are evil, it's just that we're asking the fox to do something w
        • by psyberjedi ( 650736 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @05:22PM (#12846683) Journal
          The truth is...

          Yes, you are responsible to check on a store's security policy to the best of your ability. Obviously they are not going to give you their router config to look through for mistakes or give you a glimpse at their overall security infrastructure, but you do hold final responsibility. Watch your credit card statements.

          I admit that this is a large responsibility and not simple to do. I do not pretend that I do this myself. The fact is that my lack of effort does not excuse the store from its due diligence to protect my data. They hold the blame for the theft. I still hold the responsibility to make sure I know when my information has been misused.

          When a big bank swallows your little bank, it is your job to know their practices, WITHIN REASON. If you do not do your job, and read the relevant data then you can not complain at the misuse of your information. Of course, there is a measure of responsibility held by both banks to notify you of the merger and any potential changes to the personal data policy within a reasonable amount of time so that, if you disagree with that policy, you can remove your funds and find a new bank.

          Our lax societal efforts to ensure our own security do enable cheaper and faster methods of doing all kinds of things, but we are the ones demanding these faster services.

          If you are in a car on a rainy night and the driver tells you he can go faster, but he may lose control; he can go slower, but it will take longer to get to your destination; or he can stay the same speed and take a mix of risk and time, your choice comes with a certain amount of responsibility for the outcome. The driver holds the responsibility to be able to handle the car at a reasonable amount of speed without endangering the passengers. If you demand he speed and he crashes, you share the blame. If you demand he slow down and you are late, you share the blame.

          Simply because it is inconvenient or difficult to perform your responsibility does not mean you are excused from it.

          Perhaps the real need is to demand that the companies make the crucial information we need to make a decision more available and more understandable.

          Then again, it is our responsibility to demand it.
        • Now, are you saying it is my responsibility to investigate the security practices of a store before buying anything with a credit card there?

          No. However, it is your responsibility to:

          (1) assess the risks of handing someone your credit card to be processed.

          (2) becoming aware of your rights and obligations under the terms of your credit card contract.

          (3) understanding and acting on your right to sue the store if they mishandled your information.

          Now, am I more free because BOA can treat my identity and
    • by penguin121 ( 804920 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:15PM (#12845127)
      how the process works...

      the people> we want the internet secured from identity theft and viruses...
      goverment> we will monitor and log everything you do online to protect you!
      the people> but how will that...
      government> TERRORIST!
    • according to a poll reported on by CNN most Americans want the government to be heavily involved in securing the internet.

      If anything, that only proves most Americans don't realize the internet is not under the government's to secure.

      If they don't like what's on the internet, nobody is forcing them to use it. You can still pay your bills by check, write letters, and shop in brick-and-mortar stores.
    • After reading this, I've gathered that we Americans believe the following: * America wants its Internet secure to protect the homeland from terrorists and evil trolls in turbans * America doesn't want too MUCH security -- after all, if we can't get hot Asian chicks off the Internet, it means we'll have to get off our fat asses and make the trip to the porno store (not fun) * America doesn't like Congress -- no hot Asian chicks * Microsoft will protect the homeland AND hot Asian chicks, ergo, Bill Gates
    • by prell ( 584580 )
      Couldn't we just have companies that will, as a feature of their service, heavily monitor traffic and block or restrict things? Asking someone to control the entire internet is similar to asking someone to control every boat, airplane, car, book, movie, sound wave, ocean tide, and light wavicle that crosses some arbitrary boundary. How would they even control it? What's good and bad?

      So, I think people should either protect themselves, or get some independent group to serve as a filter between them and
  • What people want... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jhon ( 241832 ) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:57PM (#12844854) Homepage Journal
    Most Americans Want Gov't To Make Internet Safer
    Actually, most Americans want an intact Constitution.

    If "most" American's really want the "government" hover over the internet and potentially tramp on rights, there is fairly simple way -- amend the Constitution. It's not EASY, but it is a simple solution.

    My personal favorite from TFA:
    "I don't think the public knows what it wants Congress to do, but it wants Congress to do something," said Dan Burton, the senior lobbyist for Entrust Inc
    How can the "public" know what it wants to do when most people don't even know how congress WORKS? Most don't even know the name of their own representatives. Besides, my understanding of TFA was that it WASN'T a poll of MOST Americans, but of "LIKELY VOTERS". Always need to read the 'fine print'.
    • by Rei ( 128717 )
      What I don't get is what the article had to do with privacy. People, according to the poll, want the government to help stop spam, spyware, and viruses. I.e., they want them, to if anything, help protect their privacy.

      Since when are federal attempts to track down and prosecute spammers, for example, a bad thing? I mean, unless you think that everything the government does is always bad...

      Now, if this were a poll about whether the government should mandate censorware, block pornographic content, support
    • It really depends on what you define as "safer." Asking that better safeguards be implemented. Right now you have ISP's which are havens to botnets, spammers, and other various problems. Maybe we can't deal as much with the IP's in Asia/Europe/etc but there are plenty here that are regularly spamming, portscanning, and generally running rampant as a bot/script-kiddies.
      • Correct. Safer does NOT equal trampled rights. However, many of the proposed solutions in the past have had problems with the rights of end users (or at least the appearance of a "big brother-esq" solution) -- at least as voiced by the /. group-think. And I think that was the point the submitter of the article was trying to make.
        • When all you have is a right-trampling-stick, every problem looks like it needs to have its rights trampled. Government can only be used for evil, never for good. Governments exist out of necessity, not because everyone loves them. The government exists as a threat of force to help people get along. If there is anything on the net that needs to be fixed by the government, we first have to figure out how the use of force will help the problem.

          What can we do to make the net safer? Go after people who co
    • If "most" American's really want the "government" hover over the internet and potentially tramp on rights, there is fairly simple way -- amend the Constitution. It's not EASY, but it is a simple solution.

      Actually, that doesn't require "most" Americans. It requires "a majority of the population in 38 states". The relation between the two is left as an exercise for students of mathematics and politics.

    • Actually, most Americans want an intact Constitution.

      Well, with less than 50% voter turnout [] and about half of them voted for Bush (who clearly doesn't want an intact Constitution) I'd say only about 25% actually want that.

      The rest want American Idol, McDonalds, and 19" rims with spinners.

      How can the "public" know what it wants to do when most people don't even know how congress WORKS?

      Indeed. And that includes having a clue about the state of the constitution.

    • Actually, most Americans want an intact Constitution.

      Actually, all that most Americans want is a big screen TV and a PicnicPak bag of Doritos. As long as the government doesn't take their cable away they don't give a rat's ass what it does.

    • Actually, most Americans want an intact Constitution.

      Then we really shouldn't let Congress get away with some of this crap that they have pulled in the past few years.

    • I don't think the public knows what it wants Congress to do, but it wants Congress to do something

      Situations like this are dangerous in that they can lead to the sort of political "logic" that goes something like:

      [P1] <whatever> is terrible!
      [P2] Something must be done! ...
      [P3] This is "something".
      [therefore, by P2]
      [P4] This must be done!

      Then again, TFS also said:

      They don't have a lot of confidence that Congress will do the right thing.

      ...which, ironically enough, can in this con
  • blurb is misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by yagu ( 721525 ) < minus cat> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:58PM (#12844859) Journal

    From the post:

    They also found that more people trust Microsoft with security.

    There is nothing in the actual article to even suggest/support this thesis... (ignoring for the moment the thesis is not well-formed... e.g., "more people than what?, than before?")

    The closest thing I can find from the article says:

    The FBI scored more favorably among Internet users in the survey but still lower than technology companies, such as Microsoft Corp. and Dell Inc.

    I don't think that is the same as "more people trust Microsoft...".

  • by gbulmash ( 688770 ) * <> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:58PM (#12844871) Homepage Journal
    So the conclusions we can draw from this are:

    • Bill Gates should be head of Homeland Security.
    • 2 out of 3 Americans surveyed believe in the tooth fairy.
    • "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics." - Benjamin Disraeli (attributed by Mark Twain)
    If God truly does look out for fools, he's having to put in some serious overtime for the United States.


    • Look at it this way. A goodly chunk of Americans think the Earth is only 6,000 years old.
    • I would not be opposed to more control on the internet. An easy way to stop problems is for the government to ban websites and troubled IP addresses from outside the USA. And it would be lawful because the only person who is having their rights violated is from outside the USA, not a citizen.

      Those who live in the USA must conform to their community standards. Law enforcement can go after them easily.

  • Nuclear War (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:59PM (#12844874)
    They can start by declaring Nuclear war on spammers. Especially those who are known to lie within the US jurisdiction, or promoting products sold by US based companies.
  • Right Thing (tm) from the same people who've brought the internet such gems as the DMCA, the PATRIOT act, and software patents.
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <akaimbatman&gmail,com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:59PM (#12844881) Homepage Journal
    Ah yes, journalisitc integrity takes another nose dive. The correct headline should be "Most Americans Want the Government to Do Their Job".

    If you read the article, you'll find that the survey was about the FTC and FBI executing the same sort of fraud prosecution that they do with brick and mortar businesses. This is a good thing (obviously) because someone must uphold the laws under which companies do business. Failing to enforce laws just because a company "is on the internet" is silly, stupid, and would lead to economic ruin for all involved.

    The survey, to be released Wednesday, said 71 percent of people believe Congress needs to pass new laws to keep the Internet safe. But Kurtz said Congress and the Bush administration should do a better job enforcing existing Internet laws against hackers, thieves and vandals and offer incentives for companies to improve security.

    The problem with surveys like this is that 95% of people never even read a single law. They are completely unaware of what laws exist to protect them and how those laws may be enforced. Coupled with poor enforcement (up until recently, enforcements agencies didn't understand the internet environment) and you've got a wide open door for bad laws like the DMCA. Which, BTW, isn't that bad of a law itself, but it really didn't bring anything new to the table and created more loopholes for civil and criminal suits.
    • by freeclimber ( 812767 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:13PM (#12845098) Homepage
      I work for an online retailer and we lose thousands of dollars every day to fraud. We have attempted to get the government to intervene but unless it is over $50,000 they don't tend to help us. We had a case where a guy stole $25,000 worth of goods from us using fraudulent cards. We knew where he lived but the police/feds refused to do anyhing about it.
  • by ivanmarsh ( 634711 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:59PM (#12844884)
    Do we really want a government that can't secure it's own systems to be responsible for the whole system?

    I'll rely on my own security thanks.
  • by b17bmbr ( 608864 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:01PM (#12844905)
    we want the government to do everything. heatlh care. oh, it's a right. retirement. gimme gimme gimme. education. federal takeover. we want prescription drugs, everything paid fo rby the governemnt. we want to use lawsuits to get rich quick, sue anyone for anything. we live in a welfare mentality. fuck if people care about freedom anymore. and freedom means freedom to fail. you want to make it rich, fine. but people want their desert without getting fat. it's sick.
    • Actually, no. The majority of Americans don't want the government telling them they can't buy drugs from Canada or any other place where they are cheaper. The problem is that the government doesn't listen to the majority of Americans, they only listen to those that can afford lobbyists.

      On the other hand, I find it disturbing that the public fails to complain about clearly unconstitutional roadblocks with random searches that are done on the grounds that "This will help us catch drunk drivers" or "This will

      • The majority of Americans also aren't willing to spend the time and money to fight against usurpations like roadblocks. The roadblocks are considered constitutional because the police are treating everyone equally. You need to have standing with the court to challenge a law, ie be someone who got arrested at such a roadblock.

        You can't challenge a law on the grounds that it's morally wrong. Courts don't decide such things. Congress would need to pass a law saying such things are unlawful. It would take
    • All of those things except education are under the "we want the government to not let us die in huge numbers when it's entirely preventable" umbrella. And yes, we would like the government to do that.
  • by vijayiyer ( 728590 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:01PM (#12844918)
    As usual, people want the government to "do something". Congress will take some reactionary step, and in the process, our freedoms will erode, either directly through laws or indirectly through the requirements of law enforcement (i.e., monitoring). Unfortunately, this mentality seems to be the defining feature of American politics nowadays.
  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:02PM (#12844923)
    It isn't news, and why democracy can suck so badly sometimes.

  • Unfortunately, they don't know or won't care for what they have to do to attain it.
  • I don't... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ilyanep ( 823855 )
    I don't want anyone to make the internet safer except myself. I installed the Firewall. I installed the AV. I installed all the other safety stuff. Not the government, and I don't want them to bud in.
    • I don't want anyone to make the internet safer except myself. I installed the Firewall. I installed the AV. I installed all the other safety stuff. Not the government, and I don't want them to bud in.

      And then when a credit reporting company gets hacked into, none of your precautions will have ultimately helped.
  • There is nothing that the governemt can do except for foceing all ISP to Virus Check the emails that they recieve, and keep their virus scanner up to date. But that is about it. They can't block porn because first there is no 100% or even 75% good filter on that and could block non-porn as well. They can't block SPAM because it could block non-spam as well. If the closed the door to forgen countries over the internet then we will not be able to compete globally. OK I have an Idea this should work pritty
    • by abb3w ( 696381 )
      There is nothing that the governemt can do except for foceing all ISP to Virus Check the emails that they recieve, and keep their virus scanner up to date.

      How about more aggressively pursing internet based fraud, such as identity theft?

  • Most Americans (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:04PM (#12844963) Journal
    Most Americans don't have a clue about the Internet. If they did they would relise the Internet is as secure and safe as you make it. If you open random attachments and goto then you deserve all you get.
  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:05PM (#12844977)
    When you look at some of the members[1] of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, you see names like McAfee and Symantec. Indeed, it is these companies best financial interests for security to be mandated. Of course they want legislation that demands that each and every computer on the Internet runs their antivirus or firewall software. And of course their surveys will suggest that that's what people want.

    [1] ist/ []
  • It seems that the poll question of do you want to have the government make the internet more secure is a little vague. "Secure" in what term?

    Security has many meanings in today's post 9-11 world. Do they mean big brother style filtering for hackers? Software wise in patching the security holes? Security for what?

  • The statistics are clear.

    If they want a safe internet, they musk get rid of Windows and go to Unix (OS X, BSD or Linux.)

    The facts are clear. Windows sucks and that can be expected to continue until Microsoft changes EVERYTHING about their development philosophy, which will require changing all the dev tools.

    Until that happens, Microsoft will be hackable.
  • "Are these morons getting dumber or just louder?"

    -Mayor Joe Quimby

  • 1. Problem -Hackers use holes in operating systems to steal data or hijack computers .

    Answer - Before anyone can log on they must use a highly secure OS with firewall and find a way to stop scanning and stop Chinese and Russian fuckers from connecting into the U.S. network.

    2.Phony internet auction sites are sucking up alot of FBI and local police resources.

    Answer. Make EBAY underwrite(insure and background check) all transactions. There present system of warning people sucks. They are worth billions
  • by FerretFrottage ( 714136 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:08PM (#12845013)
    Sure the internet is fully of sleazy stuff we don't want our kids to see and malware that can render our computers useless, but most of these problems wouldn't exist if people knew what they were doing.

    When you are old enough to drive, you can't just get in a car a go (I guess you can, but not legally). You have to take a driver's test, you need insurance, you might have a driver probation period, etc. Why? Becuase you are no taking responsibility for not only something that can harm you, but others as well. SUre there a gov/state regulations with regards to driving, but basically you can drive to/from where you please.

    Well being that a person's PC can now be used to attack others and spread virsus, that person has the responsibility to learn how to keep there PC up to date with security patches and to stay away from nude B. Spears photos. I've purchased many Dells and none of them come with a warning or label that even attempts to mention that "by taking this PC into your home, you are taking on a great responsibility, etc."

    Maybe something like that is needed because we [Americans] want the government to do everything for us, oh, but don't raise our taxes....just print more money
    • Do you know how to troubleshoot the computer-controlled ignition in your car when it isn't working properly? Then why should you be expected to know how to configure your own firewall?
      • To answer your question, I can do part of the diagnosis, but I can't fix it...

        But what I was trying to say is that as more and more people get on the 'net, they should become educated on the basic "do's and don'ts". The firewire is a perfect example. Should they be expected to know how to configure it like a certified Cisco, but they should be aware that they *should* have one and be prepared to pay someone to set on up or read a few pages of the user's guide to get it working in the firs
  • lower taxes

    more services

    more control over folks that seem threatening

    more privacy for themselves.

    the thing is: most Americans are pragmatic; they settle for a good beer and cheap cable tv

  • There's something to this. Why the hell should I be innundated with pen1s elargement email or v1agra email? It's my right to not have that shit come to my mailbox too.

    I got nailed on by someone. Said they would deliver me a lens for my camera for a decent price.

    I sent the money. Here's what happened []

    Yeah, I was dumb. I got my money back from paypal.

    I filed a complaint with the consumer protection agency. The people never responded so they just closed the case. I was very disappoi
    • Paypal rocks. I wouldn't have sent money if it wasn't for paypal.

      I hate to say it, but you're lumped in with all of these ignorant people asking for more government control of the Net... You see, PayPal is a private, for-profit corporation... NOT a bank. If they decide to hold your funds, not refund them, not pay you, etc. (they do this frequently.. I have lots of secondhand experience from friends and family being fucked by them) it's up to you to get a lawyer and sue them in court. If you paid with a
  • Scary? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wolf31o2 ( 778801 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:15PM (#12845122)

    This sort of thing scares the shit out of me. Besides being an American and working on a faily predominant open source project, I am also a Systems Engineer at a telecommunications company, working on the ISP side of the house. I've seen what government regulation can do on the telco side of the house, and it is truly scary to think that people would actually want the government getting involved in their Internet connection. Without even going into the political aspects of this, how the hell would they possibly be able to do anything on a global, distributed network such as the Internet? Are we going to have the "Great FireWall of America" right along with the Chinese? Better yet, who's going to protect us from ourselves?

    While I can understand people believing that Microsoft is the answer to their prayers, I respond with this. Microsoft should be! They should make sure that their systems have reasonable defaults. They should do more to secure their OS. This isn't just something Microsoft is liable for, everyone producing software should be making their software as safe as possible, out of the box. One thing we definitely do not need is a bunch of fat cat politicians who don't understand nor care about the problem making more laws controlling how things are done on a network that isn't bound by political boundaries, who are only working on the behalf of their "constituents" and "special interests" and not us, the American people.

    Also, who are we to tell other countries what to do? And if we don't tell other countries what to do, then how the hell can the government do anything that would actually be beneficial?

    Perhaps more work needs to be done at the ISP level to ensure customer safety. Perhaps more work needs to be done by the software vendors to ensure customer safety. However, I know for sure that the government really needs to stay the hell out of it. They've proven time and time again that technology is not something that they understand. Couple that with the fact that technology changes much mroe rapidly than a slow-moving government is capable of handling, and I think we all can see where this is going.

    Then again, Joe Sixpack thinks it is a good idea, and they seem to be the guys actually out there running this country, so maybe it is time I start looking at other countries to reside in, rather than allow my personal liberties to be eroded by Joe AOLuser can't figure out to turn on the fscking firewall.

  • by Morganth ( 137341 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:16PM (#12845135) Journal
    Noam Chomsky once said the first amendment says you have to allow for free speech for everyone, not just "free speech for ideas you like."

    If "securing" the Internet means making it less easy for crackers to break into systems, then I'm all for it, but doubt the government will be much help. For that, we should probably be looking at the work done in security research in Universities across the land.

    If securing the Internet means preventing little Johnny from learning about crime ae and murder and sex, well then there is a very simple solution: prevent your child from accessing the Internet.

    Little Johnny can just as easily find those things by wandering around town, entering restaurants, stores, parks and local hangouts. But that doesn't mean we should ban speech in public places. It just means if you want to protect your children from ideas you don't like, then protect them, god damnit. Understand that browsing the web is just like walking around town without parental supervision. Don't blame the publishers: blame yourself!

    I just met a few parents who let their kid browse the web for hours on end. Eventually, they found out this 13 year old girl was sending naked photos of herself to random 40 year olds online with her webcam. So what did they do? Tried to sue the website that allowed her to do that (, of course! Did she ever think that she might be at fault, for allowing her daughter to browse around the web without any inkling of what is Right and what is Wrong in her innocent mind?

    America: land of irresponsible but accusatory parents, who'll shred our constitution if it means they can watch their shitty network TV ("CSI is on!") while their children entertain themselves any way they can, so long as it is state-controlled and state-monitored.
  • "They also found that more people trust Microsoft with security"

    Me: (Swooning to the ground) THUD!

    Me: Getting up, looking at that sentence again...THUD!

    Me: Lying on the ground, having that sentence reverberate through my mind...Head goes THUD!

    • Well, actually, you can trust MS with security. They are not inherently evil, depspite many sloshdat posts to the contrary. The only problem is that the security you are going to get, will probably not be very good.
  • But most Americans have no idea how the Internet works or why it is so vital. They see the Internet as an entertainment device. Like the TV, just another thing. They don't see it as the most amazing medium for free speech humanity has ever seen. Just like in the real world if we want to keep our rights and privacy we will have to put up with some crime. The internet is no different.

    They don't realize that making the internet "safe" will just cripple and ruin it.
  • Please Cue:

    1) The comments about welfare-sucking Liberals that want someone else to do everything for them

    2) The comments about the stupidity of Americans

    3) The comments about irrelevant/flamebait articles

    4) The "Just Use Linux/A MAC[sic]" mantra that is blind chestbeating/dickwaving moreso than some carefully considered solution.

    And don't forget to mod this comment with one each of everything on the list!
  • Remove all Windows machines from the internet.

    No more Zombie nets used to DDOS and act as spam relays.
  • Great - the government will get involved and just fuck things up. For every single good requirement there will be donzens of brain-dead requirements too. A perfect example is C-TPAT (a knee-jerk customers/boarder program in our "post 9/11" world).

    My company is currently going through our C-TPAT validation (our audit is Monday actually) and while there are some nuggest of good ideas and practices I've seen in the C-TPAT documentation, there are reams and reams of requirements that you know were stuck in

  • Cyber Security Industry Alliance, a trade group that has lobbied the Bush administration to pay greater attention to Internet security

    Please dont.
  • by MattW ( 97290 ) <> on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:28PM (#12845323) Homepage
    Only 70% of americans know how many stars are on the flag []

    60% of people cannot name the three branches of American government, 37% could not even name one branch, and 89% don't realize the Patriot Act allows secret search & seizures by the government []

    30% of americans do not know that plants produce most of the Oxygen on earth; only 11% can describe radiation and only 13% know what a molecule is []

    Only 38% of *investors* know what a "no-load" fund is [] (Which I suppose goes to show that just because Americans get involved with something doesn't mean they bother to actually know anything about it)

    Only 50% of Americans know how long it takes the Earth to circle the sun []

    Frankly, we need to stop encouraging people to go vote. If you don't know why it is important to vote, then stay the hell home, because you probably don't know enough to intelligently cast a vote anyhow. "Get out the vote" campaigns are at best drives to sign up supports and at worst just base demagoguery.
    • by NetNifty ( 796376 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:30PM (#12845339) Homepage
      Wasn't it Winston Churchill who said "The best argument against democracy is a five minute chat with the average voter"?
  • I don't believe most people would like the result. Whenever I think of the Internet, I think of those old black and white movies where model T cars were running into each other and it was total utter chaos. For the most part, the internet is still like that.

    But we've established a code of conduct for automobiles and the roadways. Laws and codes of conduct are enforced, people need tests and have to prove they're competent enough to drive and use vehicles on the road.

    Is this really what people want
  • by ArmorFiend ( 151674 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:32PM (#12845365) Homepage Journal
    My wife was telecommuting to work the other day, and a drunk surfer got on the information superhighway doing 95kB/s THE WRONG WAY! My wife got into a head-on, and now I'll have to raise our children alone. :(

    Its time the government stepped in and made the internet safer, so that other people don't suffer my wife's fate.
  • Spin (Score:2, Informative)

    by fark_fan ( 892931 )
    Could the propaganda machine known as CNN be any less obvious? This is disgusting. The majority of Americans want the Internet policed just as much as they want their beautiful wives groped in an airport security screening.
  • Safer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mchappee ( 22897 ) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:36PM (#12845418)
    Of course Americans want the government to make things "safer". "Safer" is a good thing. Now ask if they would like the government to read their e-mail, access their browser history, listen in on their VOIP calls, and know their passwords. You'll get a very different response. That's why government misbehavior is given names like "The Patriot Act", and "The Children's Internet Protection Act". Like the word "Safer", If you oppose those things you sound like you're unpatriotic, or a danger to children. It's pretty stupid. They know that they can get away with just about anything as long as it has a pretty bow around it (or mentions 'terrists').
  • I want to make sure all the internets are safe.
  • "Most americans", it doesnt happen to mention cant check their email without someone holding their goddamn hand through the whole experience.

    The government is the last thing that needs to be involved with making the internet safer, USERS need to be EDUCATED on how to PROPERLY keep themselves SAFE by using ANTIVIRUS, FIREWALLS, GOOD PASSWORD TECHNIQUES and *gasp* COMMON SENSE
  • Personally, from the perspective of someone who will be a parent before too long, I am seriously concerned. I'm very computer savvy but I wonder how I'm going to protect my kids from a lot of stuff on the internet (that is, when they're old enough to use a computer). For example, I've got nothing against pornography for adults, but pornography can cause children a great deal of confusion regarding relationships. I'm very concerned about keeping my children from getting access to hard core pornography before
  • A good first step would be a big lawsuit against Microsoft by victims of DDOS attacks from zombie Windows machines. Microsoft's EULA doesn't protect them against lawsuits by third party victims. I'd like to see some state attorney general file this. Elliot Spitzer could do it.
  • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @04:12PM (#12845860) Homepage
    "I don't think the public knows what it wants Congress to do, but it wants Congress to do something,...They don't have a lot of confidence that Congress will do the right thing."

    This short utterance perfectly encapsulates the main problem not only in governing the internet, but in governing in general. Once people get the dumb idea in their heads that the government is in charge, they start expecting it to do everything for them, including the impossible, forgetting (or not caring) that it's the taxpayer who's footing the bill. Honestly, if it's unreasonable to expect the government to pay for a mechanic to fix my car, why is it reasonable to expect the government to pay for a doctor to fix my broken leg?

  • by orzetto ( 545509 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @05:25PM (#12846706)
    [...]people trust Microsoft with security.

    In related news: people trust George W. Bush with defeating terrorism.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.