Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Open Source Insecurity? Don't Tell the Military

Think of the most high risk, highly classified area for using technology. Military units trying to communicate in the heat of battle. Surely, fighting wars is too demanding, too dangerous, too chaotic to risk using any systems based on open source and open standards?

Think again. War is the ultimate interoperability challenge.

The U.S. military's newest, most advanced battlefield technology is based on open standards and open source. When bullets fly, the U.S. turns to open technologies to ensure interoperability -- to ensure that coalition forces can communicate over secure networks, share classified data in real time, and coordinate combat operations.

Governments who think that open technologies are too insecure, immature and unreliable for mission critical activities could not be more wrong.

Generic statements about the security or insecurity of any technology are useless at best, and usually just propaganda for someone's beliefs. But the U.S. military is finding new ways to apply open technologies to their hardest, most dangerous needs.

Web-based chat, shared whiteboards to map operations, shared databases, file transfer -- and all based on open standards and all scheduled for deployment. Without compromising security, or secrecy. It is the very openness of these technologies that allows the military to ensure interoperability, maintain flexibility to rapidly integrate future innovations, and guard security.

And it is not only the U.S. military; others are turning to open technologies.

Does that make application of open technologies easy? No. Does it mean that every government agency should take notice? Yes.

Categories: opensource, openstandards, military

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Blogging is Sex, Not Masturbation

Blogging, like unsafe sex and political protest, is risky behavior.

According to a new UK study, bloggers are taking big risks by posting derogatory comments and damaging details about their firms, bosses and colleagues. One-third of all bloggers risk losing their jobs over their blogging activities.

I have posted before about the risks to bloggers of being political scapegoats or the target of legal retaliation.

This is different. Blogging is like unprotected sex. It feels like masturbation, but it is unsafe sex with a world of unknown partners.

Or to use another metaphor, this is about self-immolation.

Sitting alone in your office or home, it is easy to forget that blogging is a public activity. It feels private and informal, like writing a diary that nobody reads. It isn't. Blogs, for the most part, are public property, a web-based diary accessible to the world.

Would you go around your office hanging signs on the walls with critical comments of your boss? No? Then take care. Blogging is basically the same thing.

If you want to make a statement, make it. But understand it is for public consumption.

Categories: blogging