Saturday, October 31, 2009

Congress Ethics “Furor” Over White House Cybersecurity Breach

All is Not Well in the White House IT Pumpkin Patch

WASHINGTON – House leaders on Friday called for an "immediate and comprehensive assessment" of congressional cybersecurity policies, one day after an “embarrassing data breach” revealed details of confidential ethics investigations and resulted in the termination of a staffer. Whether this breach is of a rotten pumpkins in the pumpkin patch persuasion or just another silly, silly little “youthful indiscretion", the incident raises questions about  the federal IT department's policies and protocols.

Ethics? Another “youthful indiscretion” from the White House? Politicians are always “youthful” when it comes to excusing crime.

Although recently appointed chief information officer (CIO) Vivek Kundra is responsible for oversight of federal technology spending, he may or may not be wondering what all the fuss is about with this latest White House cybersecurity ethics panel breach that has sparked furor and questions over competency and responsibility on the Hill. So many questions. As LWOH reported, Kundra can never be accused of not having federal bribery sting, crime-worthy direct reports.

Is the White House cutting corners on cybersecurity or did the CIO budget more than enough taxpayer loot to spend on souped-up firewalls and data security? Were the IT hiring choices competent but the technology choices abysmal, vice-versa or both? Whose ultimate decision is it to ensure smooth and cybersafe policies and protocols for sensitive government data?

Security breach? What's the big deal? It's not every day that, back in his early twenties, the current Chief Info Czar gets arrested for shoplifting four shirts at J.C. Penny's and THEN goes on to bag a gig as Chief Information Officer of the United States Federal Government. Huh? All that personal, discreet and confidential ethics data? GET OVER YOUSELVES, silly rubes, still clinging to data and flimsy peer to peer networks....

So what's being done about the technical problem? More legislation! We don't know what that means, per se, but many in both the public and private sectors would certainly agree that a review of technical and ethical core competencies at the highest chain of command in the federal department of information is the first place to start. In the meantime, we can always count on more legislation to protect sensitive cyberdata:

Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is drafting legislation to protect sensitive government documents from public exposure through peer-to-peer technology.
"Unfortunately, this incident underscores the very urgent need to address the problems associated with peer-to-peer software," he said.
Towns was also mentioned in the disclosed document as having once been under scrutiny by the Office of Congressional Ethics for allegations he improperly received a Maryland homestead tax credit.”

Happy Halloween!


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