Ideas, Linked; Ideals, Inked.

Rep. Ed Markey: “Shoot the messenger.”

So, nobody is a stranger to my criticisms of Republicans. I consider myself Roosevelt Republican/Roosevelt Democrat (Rooseveltian?). TR and FDR both got one thing right – the role of government was to protect people and places from forces which have power. (EDIT: Noting Sieg’s Mommy’s comment below, both FDR and TR definitely overstepped this line that I draw, in significant and alarming ways. So, I’m not really a Rooseveltian any more than I am anything else.)

Now, readers reader, who do you think has more power: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or a PhD student at Indiana University?

Right. That’s what makes me made so frustrated about this story from Wired. Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) completely misses the point. In fact, this student was trying to demonstrate a loophole that should be closed. But DHS has done nothing about this. He simply created a system which makes clear how dangerous and easy it is to exploit a flaw pointed out by Slate’s Andy Bowers back in 2005. Now, how do I know this student isn’t trying to exploit the loophole, or allow others to? First, his website. Second, in interviews, he has stated that he has not used it, but wanted to show how easy it would be to dupe the supposedly “enhanced” security of the TSA.

Now, I don’t like the no-fly list. Like most TSA programs, there is no accountability, the people it tries to prevent are likely aware of means to foil the system, and people who are “caught” are likely not security threats. However, as long as we’re going to use it, we might as well make it work. If any Pat Terrorist wanted, s/he could simply use a method like this one and still endanger passengers. Along with a slew of other DHS and TSA actions (RFID passports, liquid bans), they are not making things safer.

So, Rep. Markey, come off it. Seriously. The great thing about this country is free speech, including speech that the government may not like. Telling people how the government f’ed up is a patriotic act. Especially because we are the government. Soghoian (the dude) is a security expert who is taking advantage of his expertise to demonstrate how wimpy our security is. Should being a whistle-blower be celebrated? Shouldn’t Markey stand up and talk about how the DHS and TSA have wasted taxpayer dollars and there’s still a simple way to beat the system? Honestly, Ed, don’t go after the guy who’s trying to help America. Instead, why don’t you try to help America too?

EDIT: 30 Oct 2006 – Parenthetical in first paragraph.


Filed under: Politics, Tech

3 Responses

  1. Web Widget: Illegal Tool or Political Speech?

    Wired Blog & News and Bob Schneier are just two examples of the latest scandalous web widget making the rounds of the blogosphere: a fake NorthwestAirlines boarding pass generator, created by an Indiana University Ph.D. student, Christopher Soghoi…

  2. Sieg's Mommy says:

    Are you sure you want to be a Rooseveltian? Have you forgotten that after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor Roosevelt gave the go ahead to require innocent Japanese civilians in California to sell their homes at well below market value and to live in concentration camps for 3 years? The conditions were deplorable. Then there was that whole Supreme Court fiasco, where he tried to change the format and force some of the older members out, even though the S.C. is for life.

    Maybe you’re not a Rooseveltian entirely.

  3. vijtable says:

    Good call, Sieg’s Mommy. The Japanese internment was terrible. In fact, TR’s acts as a war-monger were also horrible. My point is that while I seem to criticize Republicans more, it is simply because they seem to be doing more abusive things with their power.

    Speaking of power, the FDR Supreme Court thing was more complicated – the cause of the fiasco was the fact that the Supreme Court was threatening to shut down the federal work programs as unconstitutional. Did FDR abuse power during his presidency? Certainly. The Supreme Court thing, however, was less than clear.

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Idealink by vijtable is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
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