Thursday, April 8, 2010

Security Expert Warns of Gaps in Homeland Defenses

Former CIA operative Charles Faddis provides U.S. News & World Report with six potential domestic targets that he says are particularly vulnerable to a catastrophic terrorist attack:
  • Military bases
  • Rail and metro systems
  • Chemical plants
  • Liquid Natural Gas
  • Dams
  • Bio labs
Now a private consultant and author of Willful Neglect: The Dangerous Illusion of Homeland Security, Faddis says an attack on passenger rail is his worse fear. While Faddis acknowledges that DHS is correct that we can't protect everything, authorities shouldn't use that slogan as a way to dismiss all criticism of the status quo.
We need to do a better job securing the places that have a potential to produce mass casualties. That should be a priority. Is that going to stop terrorists from driving a truck bomb into a McDonald's? No. But it should stop them from driving that truck bomb into a chemical plant and killing thousands.

Appeals Court Blocks FCC's "Net Neutrality" Regulatory Authority

This so-called (and perhaps improperly named) net neutrality thing is a tangled web (no pun intended) of bureaucratic-speak. No one is losing any sleep over Comcast's problems, but in general we certainly don't want the Internet regulated by the same people that orchestrated socialized medicine. Therefore, Tuesday's decision from the D.C. Circuit must be a good thing:
A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that regulators had limited power over Web traffic under current law. The decision will allow Internet service companies to block or slow specific sites and charge video sites like YouTube to deliver their content faster to users.
The court decision was a setback to efforts by the Federal Communications Commission to require companies to give Web users equal access to all content, even if some of that content is clogging the network.
The court ruling, which came after Comcast asserted that it had the right to slow its cable customers’ access to a file-sharing service called BitTorrent, could prompt efforts in Congress to change the law in order to give the F.C.C. explicit authority to regulate Internet service.
That could prove difficult politically, however, since some conservative Republicans philosophically oppose giving the agency more power, on the grounds that Internet providers should be able to decide what services they offer and at what price.
Net neutrality seems like such a benign term, especially to those who still believe in heavyhanded government oversight. The editors at NationalReview Online insist that net neutrality is anti-consumer.