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Monday, December 20, 2004

Open Source, Open Societies

The New York Times > Technology > On the Open Internet, a Web of Dark Alleys: Even if the government is able to shore up its networks against attack - one of many goals set forth by the intelligence reform bill passed last week - the ability of terrorists and other dark elements to engage in covert communications online remains a daunting security problem, and one that may prove impossible to solve.
The lessons of open source are hard to learn. Control is destructive and will not lead to success. In order to protect the network and protect the communication assets, we must be creative. Creative in this context does not refer to clever new ideas, but to the invention and production capacity of the society. The reason one is not concerned about the release of open source code is because the economics are shifted from history to the future. Rather than banking on what has been, one banks far more on what will be. This same principle is possible in security in an open society and an open networked economy. Take a proactive, forward oriented approach. Seal and protect and attack. But attempting to control the possiblity that the enemy is communicating amongst themselves, is a loser strategy. It is rather like the thought police mentality of a totalitarian state. An as a totalitarian strategy, it opens the doors to other totalitarian tendencies that can lead to the destruction of our society far faster than the occasional attacks of fringe criminal organizations.

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