Truer words were never spoken. I was wondering why the United States was looking so very prison-like in recent years. It appears the reason is that the DHS is working to make us safe. Well, that’s a real load off of my mind.
In all seriousness, the DHS chief was talking recently about how it was largely impossible to protect the United States from cyber attack. He wasn’t actually advocating a prison state, really. He was letting the DHS off the hook for its recent failures in cyber security.
The implication of his words was that it wasn’t from incompetence that government security systems had been breached. It was from freedom. You know, in order to preserve freedom, we need badly designed security systems and inept white hats. Here are the DHS Chief’s comments in better context:
At the same time, [DHS Chief Jeh] Johnson acknowledged that in the war against hackers, the need to protect privacy and connectivity makes the web security a difficult operating environment.
“I can build you a perfectly safe city, but it will look like a prison,” he warned.
As DHS Secretary, his goal, he said, was to harmonize the need for security and the preservation of “the freedoms we expect as Americans.”
“Cybersecurity involves striking a balance,” he said. “I can build you a perfectly secure email system but your contact will be limited to about ten people and you would be disconnected entirely from the Internet and the outside world.”
Yes. A perfectly secure internet is one that does not exist at all. We get it.
Though Johnson’s comments were in the context of web security, one could easily make a similar remark about DHS protocol in other arenas: from the airport to our borders. The same truth applies: the only perfectly secure and safe country is a prison state. Most people apparently think that our freedoms are an acceptable sacrifice for a little feeling of security.