The Indian Informaticist

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January 15, 2010 by David Gillaspie

At DG’s B&B we don’t need hackers to crack source code for information.  A good English breakfast is all it takes to spill the beans.  A visitor from India provided more than anyone asked for:

“It is very amusing, you know, how great nations manage themselves.  Yet also tragic.  We celebrate the shrinking world that brings us together, yet insist on maintaining autonomy.  We want this, we don’t want that, and we are continually shocked to learn that ‘this’ comes with ‘that.’  If you take one, you get the other without asking.

For example, in my country we have traditions and customs from beyond recorded history.  It the same the world around.  You can question why, but do so while respecting the very issues you question.  If anything is resolved, it is done on its own schedule.

I recall the splendor of the Beijing Olympiad, the never before seen spectacle of the ceremonies, the intense competition and awards.  I remember the man responsible for directing the ceremonies stating that such an exercise could happen in only two places, North Korea and China.  Only in those places would the people be able to do as requested.

He said it could never happen in America because of rules, and coffee breaks.  The law would prohibit the training needed for the desired outcome.  He seemed pleased with the way the world received his show.  Very beautiful indeed.

But there is another aspect to the coming out party in China.  It is a result of my work, my passion. 

You see, I am an Informaticist and a network security analyst in India.  It is who I am more than what I do.  And what I see is troubling.

We learn that Chinese hackers enjoy discovering the encrypted Google accounts of dissidents.  What happens to those people, the dissidents?  Is there a knock on the door in the middle of the night, or do people simply disappear along with anyone questioning what happened to them?  One can only surmise.

If it is true that Google and Microsoft are the most heavily protected programs, yet penetrated by hackers, who in our cyber world is safe?  I would say no one.  Not you, not me, and not the most sensitive information held on computers.  I am not talking about medical records.  I am referring to national defense and infrastructure.

The bonds between two great powers do not grow in strength when one is undercut by the other.  If China controls billions of dollars in manufacturing for the American market, do they also need American help to control the manufacturing base, the people?  Yes, it would seem so.

Who in the world does not envy America’s freedoms?  Where is the individual trusted to seek their own level in society?  Where is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness guaranteed in writing?  To be American is to possess such a warranty

One drop of such notions in a sea of conformity sends a ripple that becomes a tidal wave, much like the fluttering wings of the butterfly in one part of the world creates a hurricane in another.  I have never seen this, but it is a troubling idea.

Will a company such as Google leave China instead of aiding their interior security network?  Some say yes because of the small number of users, yet a small number of users in China may equal the entire population of the U.S. 

It is business, of course, and not personal, as demonstrated many times in the excellent film The Godfather, but it is more.  It is trust, a commodity in short supply. 

Just as I trust DG’s B&B for outstanding food and service, we must trust our partners to stay within established boundaries.  For example, we cannot allow Ty Murray, The Cowboy King, to come to India and ride our bulls.  That is unheard of.  And neither can his wife, Jewel, though I much enjoy her music.

To further cooperation and understanding, there must first be trust.  If that if forfeited, what is left?”

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