A tactic to get Cyber security bill passed?

It raises the question: How much do you trust your government to protect you?

With open borders, the recent debacle in Benghazi, and a military weakened by budget cuts, cumbersome Rules of Engagement and an open homosexual policy, how much faith do you have that our federal government and Defense Department is doing everything it can to defend us?

And how much more latitude do you want to give these elected and unelected bureaucrats to “protect and defend”?

The New York Times reports that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is warning that the United States is at risk of an attack tantamount to another Pearl Harbor, saying there is an emerging shadow war of cyber attacks and counterattacks already underway between the U.S. and Iran.

Also that “Iran’s cyber warfare capabilities are considerably weaker than those in China and Russia, which intelligence officials believe are the sources of a significant number of probes, thefts of intellectual property and attacks on American companies and government agencies.”

Panetta is pushing “for legislation on Capitol Hill that would establish new standards at critical private-sector infrastructure facilities – like power plants, water treatment facilities and gas pipelines – where a computer breach could cause significant casualties or economic damage.”

But last August, the Times reported that “a cyber security bill that had been one of the administration’s national security priorities was blocked by a group of Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who took the side of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and said it would be too burdensome for corporations.”

Panetta disagrees that new legislation would be costly for business: “The fact is that to fully provide the necessary protection in our democracy, cyber security must be passed by the Congress,” he recently told the Business Executives for National Security. “Without it, we are and we will be vulnerable.”

Panetta is encouraging President Obama to circumvent Congress by issuing yet another executive order that would force private industry to share information with the government. More here.

Who’s got your back?

President Obama, for the 8th time, blew past a deadline to issue a report due Oct. 15 to label China as a currency manipulator by purposely devaluing its money to gain competitive advantage in its trade practices. Obama said he’d wait until after the election to deal with it.

According to CBS News, the International Trade Commission projects that 2.1 million jobs have been lost to China as a result of stolen patents and property rights from American-made goods, like the computer you’re using.

So, again, how much do you trust this administration to protect and defend you?

140 characters equal to Joe Biden’s toothy grin.

If you were among the 51 million Americans who watched last Thursday’s vice presidential “debate,” your numbers are diminishing, according to Nielsen ratings. In fact, in 2008 the vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and then-Republican challenger Sarah Palin was viewed by 69.9 million.

According to Nielsen, this vice presidential match-up also was bested by the Oct. 3 debate between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, said to be among the ten most-watched debates in the last 30 years, attracting 67.2 million viewers.

How does this compare with the popularity of online social media? Twitter reported that the debate generated four million Tweets, “3.5 million of which occurred during the 92 minutes of live action.”

From the official Twitter blog: “Of those 4 million Tweets, 26 percent were about foreign policy; 21 percent discussed the economy; and 16 percent were regarding taxes. However, several of the moments that inspired the most Tweets per minute were quips the candidates made. Tonight’s top Tweets per minute (TPM) peaks were:

– Biden: ‘Now you’re Jack Kennedy?’ (58,275 TPM)
– Ryan: ‘They got caught with their hand in the cookie jar turning Medicare into a piggy bank for Obamacare.’ (55,540 TPM)
– Biden discussing the timeline for leaving Afghanistan (54,944)”

The immediacy of on-the-ground images holds particular appeal for Twitterers, who uploaded behind the scenes photos, including this one by Zac Moffatt, depicting Gov. Romney watching the debate while relaxing over pizza with a debate contest winner:

Photo Caption: @MittRomney debate contest winner Christine watches the debate w/ the Gov over pizza #RomneyRyan2012 #tcot pic.twitter.com/oDUcZDoc

See more photos here.

Adam Sharp (@adams), head of Twitter’s Government, News and Social Innovation wrote, “We’ll be back again in just five days for next Tuesday’s town hall debate between @BarackObama and @MittRomney.”

Surfin’ Safari will be there too, monitoring the torrent of tweets that presidential debate is sure to generate.

TweetDeck updated

Twitter’s TweetDeck app has been updated on its supported platforms – web, Chrome, Mac and Windows. Find it at web.tweetdeck.com or to the Mac App Store. TweetDeck is an application whose multi-column format allows you to follow others’ tweets, trending topics, and to manage and monitor the twitter stream. To learn more, watch this video.

Google spying on Gmail users? Bah!

Does Google Gmail conduct clandestine scans of your emails for words and content? That’s what two men are claiming in a lawsuit they’ve brought against Google for what they say is a deliberate violation of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act. The pair alleges that Gmail snoops through private communications without obtaining the user’s permission.

Google, however, calls it humbug. Only computers do the legwork, and no humans peruse the emails, the company claims, while maintaining that neither of the plaintiffs can back up their claims.

In a bit of irony, Google Chrome’s plug-in Privacyfix lets you manage privacy settings for a plethora of websites that track your movements online, including Facebook and Google. According to The Blaze, the product is now beginning its beta test.

“The Google Chrome plug-in Privacyfix works by alerting you to potential privacy ‘risks’ before you start dishing out personal data, according to the write-up about the plug-in on Google Chrome’s store.”

Speaking of snooping …

Two Bronx high school students who got a “creepy” vibe from an IT technician at their school created a fake Facebook page to entrap the offender. It worked. The tech was fired for taking the bait.

Speaking of creepy … U.N. creep.

A United States Ambassador is warning that a proposal to give the United Nations more control over the Internet is gaining momentum in other countries.

According to a report in The Hill, “U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer warned last Friday that a proposal to expand the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) authority over the Internet could come up at a treaty conference in Dubai in December. European telecommunications companies are pushing a plan that would create new rules that would allow them to charge more to carry international traffic.”

The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association proposal could force Google, Facebook and Netflix and other websites to pay fees to network operators around the world.

Kramer said the idea of an international Internet fee is “gaining more interest in the African states and also in the Arab states,” and added the United States delegation to the conference “will have to redouble its efforts to convince other countries that the proposal would only stifle innovation and economic growth.”

Bits & Bytes

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