Category Archives: broadband

Another hub in the cybersecurity Network

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke is slated to be appointed Secretary of Commerce:

Experience in technology policy will also be important for the next commerce secretary, Cantwell said, since he will have to appoint the next director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, oversee the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and provide leadership on issues like cybersecurity.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) does important stuff — like set standards and prescriptions such as the new guide on maintaining data security while teleworking.  This riveting 46 page how to is written in “broad language in order to be helpful to any group that engages in telework. (see NIST release)”

In the executive summary you will find the important steps any individual should take before connecting at home or at the local cafe.

  • Before implementing any of the recommendations or suggestions in the guide, users should back up all data and verify the validity of the backups. Readers with little or no experience configuring personal computers, consumer devices, or home networks should seek assistance in applying the recommendations. Every telework device’s existing configuration and environment is unique, so changing its configuration could have unforeseen consequences, including loss of data and loss of device or application functionality.
  • Before teleworking, users should understand not only their organization’s policies and requirements, but also appropriate ways of protecting the organization’s information that they may access.
  • Teleworkers should ensure that all the devices on their wired and wireless home networks are properly secured, as well as the home networks themselves.
  • Teleworkers who use their own desktop or laptop PCs for telework should secure their operating systems and primary applications.
  • Teleworkers who use their own consumer devices for telework should secure them based on the security recommendations from the devices’ manufacturers.
  • Teleworkers should consider the security state of a third-party device before using it for telework.

Each of the steps are reasonable — but who will invest the resources required to make those steps effective?

Standards are being published and have been published for some time.  Yet, breaches continue to occur.  So, is the current status of policy and policy outcomes optimal or do we need to create another paradigm for cybersecurity?

Leave a comment

Filed under broadband, cybersecurity, electronic medical records, federal cyber security, Policy

Regulatory Transparency – will it change your behavior?

A relatively new policy tool, mandatory disclosure of infromation with a regulatory intent, is being proposed as a means to deal with the net neutrality issue.  In an article announcing Obama’s choice of Leibowitz as FTC chair,  Cnet reports:

On the issue of Net neutrality, Leibowitz stood out from his colleagues in June 2007 when the FTC released a report stating no new laws were necessary. Leibowitz issued an opinion saying existing antitrust laws may not have been “adequate to the task” of Internet broadband regulation.

“Will carriers block, slow or interfere with applications?” Leibowitz asked at a public hearing held by the FTC in November 2006. “If so, will consumers be told about this before they sign up? In my mind, failure to disclose these procedures would be…unfair and deceptive.”

Researchers believe that in order for such transparency to be effective a) the user behavior must be changeable via better information and b) the disclosers’ behavior (i.e. internet access providers AT&T and Comcast) must be changeable in reaction to the users’ choices.  I question whether the users will have a choice even if they possess perfect information to act upon (not even gonna get into the details of whether the information disclosed is comprhensible by the average user)>

Leave a comment

Filed under broadband, Policy, policy tools

Rebuilding the Internet

Current internet policy debate seems to focus on incremental evolution of the Internet — protocols, physical layer infrastructure, security, etc.  But, what if we started from scratch?  Can the ROI on incremental “improvements” beat the ROI (and all the multiples from the ripples of such investment through the economy) of a start from scratch venture?

Leave a comment

Filed under broadband, Policy

Implementing and Evaluating Broadband program at Ag Dept in question

So, what do you do with a $6 billion policy initiative when the agency responsible for administering $1.5 billion has had serious questions raised as to the prior performance of its management of funds designated for rural broaband?

According to the report, $45.6 million went to wire several luxury subdivisions near Houston. About $30 million in loans defaulted, and the agency approved another $137 million in loans even when applications weren’t completed. A separate report from the inspector general in June found that $430,000 went to a Lubbock, Texas high-speed Internet service provider that used the money for pilot lessons for its president and treasurer.

Leave a comment

Filed under broadband