Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Google Afterword

CNN got Schneier to write an article about the Google/China thing. He chose to focus attention on the spying technology that was involved.

An infrastructure conducive to surveillance and control invites surveillance and control, both by the people you expect and by the people you don't.
Every year brings more Internet censorship and control, not just in countries like China and Iran but in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and other free countries, egged on by both law enforcement trying to catch terrorists, child pornographers and other criminals and by media companies trying to stop file sharers.
[I]t's bad civic hygiene to build technologies that could someday be used to facilitate a police state.

And, more security holes are found in IE. This one is interesting since the proposed attack uses a combination of non-critical vulnerabilities to open a wide hole in Windows security. Granted you have to click a malicious link - how often does that happen?

Back on the software freedom front, Albany Senior College is making more headlines by continuing to resist the Microsoft sales-force. They are not the only ones, but they are the most vocal.

By comparison, witness the proprietary world, where the NZ Health Ministry can present price increases in their Microsoft licensing as a "win", with a straight face. Even after the upgrade disaster which saw MS systems in Waikato Hospital massively infected with viruses.

OK - technically the same sort of processes could have lead to similar problems with a free software base. However, this is old hat. GNU/Linux has a security culture which acts to reduce the risk that similar mistakes would happen. Lax admins may still leave the door open for attackers, but, at least, with gnu/linux, they have to open said door first.

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