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Judyth Mermelstein wrote:

| 1. What can be done to raise awareness that there is
| more at stake than public relations problems for some banks
| and IT companies?

Unfortunately, it will likely take a "disaster" (i.e. a bank being cracked
and people losing lots of money, and the public finding out about it) before
the public takes such threats seriously.

| 2. How can one best make it clear to average Internet users
| (not to mention the politicians who know even less about the
| ICTs) that every aspect of everyday life in the developed
| world -- from what's on the shelves of the grocery chains using
| supply chain applications to the delivery of heating fuel to
| outsourced payroll processing and a good deal more -- can be
| disrupted without too much difficulty by anyone with a bad
| attitude and reasonably good programming skills?

I think some politicians are starting to get it.  But I question whether we
will ever be able to adequately engage the public, most of whose eyes glaze
over when the tech talk starts up!

| 3. Is there any way of demonstrating in non-technical language
| that such disruptions cannot be prevented by dispensing with
| civil liberties and launching a programme of systematic spying
| on everyone with a computer, but *can* be prevented by other
| means like better-tested software, systematic attention to
| suspicious activities and more backup systems through which
| data can be channelled if the more-visible ones go down?

I think we need to urge protection of our civil liberties for their own
sake, and treat vulnerabilities as a seprate, unrelated issue.  By bringing
them together in the conversation, we risk perpetuating the authoritarian
concept that they are somehow related, when, of course, they aren't.

| It seems to me that any kind of Internet governance which
| doesn't include attention to these issues is guaranteed NOT
| to serve the public interest. Am I nuts? Is it my imagination
| that most discussions of Internet policies side-step these
| questions, or are these important matters being dealt with
| in back rooms while all the public hears about is the need
| to dispense with privacy and personal security in the hope
| that this will prevent cyberterrorism?

You are correct.  There has been a strong government movement for years, at
least here in the US, to attempt to shackle the Internet and related
technologies to make them easy to police.  Those forces have used the
current terrorist threats to push through dangerous new laws that they have
been politicking for for years.  We should not allow that.

I sense that the US Congress is starting to wake up to the fact that they
went too far.  We as citizens need to let our Congresscritters know that we
do not view the current terrorist threats as reason to abrograte the
freedoms and protections afforded by our Constitution.  Citiozens of other
countries need to be equally active in attempting to block or overturn such
legislaton and/or rulemaking,

Bruce Young
Portland, Oregon
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