Monthly Archives: June 2011

Someone is always watching the watchers

[Short Snippet from this weeks course paper]

With the continued increase of the connectedness of humanity through the internet, coupled with the increase of opportunity to facilitate and hide malicious digital actions, the perpetration of digital crimes is on the rise. However, being that we are in a war against the criminals, and one in which we are rapidly losing ground; it seems all-to-appropriate to relinquish our reticent nature as the good-guys and look to examine ways in which we can fight fire with fire. Online Digital Forensic capabilities provides one of the means to increase our effectiveness through extending the reach of individuals with specialized skills, providing technological capabilities to analyze data in real time, and increasing the speed of data acquisition.

[However, this weeks course work reminded me eerily of] some of the central themes espoused by George Orwell in 1948 when he wrote his exceptional work titled 1984. Through this monumental work, Orwell describes a dystopian type world where there is physiological, psychological, and sociological paralysis brought on by the persistent concern that Big Brother is watching. I could not help but reminisce over the fears held by protagonist Winston that the Party would discover his thought crimes.

On-the-other-hand, as an individual who has been involved in some fashion or another, for over 15 years in the field of information security, I understand, full well, the importance of investigatory needs to protect the innocent from the guilty. These needs often require searching and viewing personal information that suspects believe to be private.

Yet, those of us involved in the societal war surrounding information security, those in a position of authority, and those whose responsibilities involve writing the laws that protect and serve, must not forget the adage attributed to Benjamin Franklin stating that those who give up their fundamental freedoms to obtain temporal safety deserve neither freedom, nor safety (Franklin & Franklin, 1818). And so we must remember that we are also consumers, and reside within the same economy of human existence as our suspects, and therefore, it is prudent to remember that someone is always watching the watchers.

References

Franklin, B., & Franklin, W. (1818). Memoirs of the life and writings of Benjamin Franklin. London: Henry Coulburn.