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Themes for a New Year ....and Beyond

January 1st, 2000

Swish!  In the movie StarGate, our heroes are transported by cyber-magic through a transparent, liquid-like barrier.  They find themselves on a distant planet, in a world eerily like our ancient past, but very new to them.  And the adventure begins....  

Does this remind you of last night?

The shimmering barrier we passed last night was merely an artifact of our calendar, just as insubstantial in the physical world as the special effects of dozens of "B" movies, hyped all out of proportion like a Hollywood premier, but leaving our minds and spirits transported into a new era.  Freed from our mistakes of the past (Y2K anyone?) we're off to create a new year, century and millennium filled with the revolutionary Information Technology we all dream and scheme to develop (incidentally making us rich as we "change the world for the better"!)

Ok folks, lets get serious.  What have we learned and where should that take us?  We claim we're not mere users of computers, but developers of a revolution as profound as those inspired by other technological innovations like the printing press, the written word and language itself.  We view our "information revolution" as natural succession from the Industrial Revolution.... Yet we waste our time arguing over browsers, servers, programming languages, operating systems and other artifacts of history delineated by barriers just as ephemeral and insubstantial as the calendar change we just went through.

It's time to focus on what really counts!  Here are some themes proposed for the new year:

  • Information Security requires more than hype, snake-oil, encryption or any amount of supporting technology.  It requires an understanding of the items of real value to us, the risks to those items, moral and legal underpinnings for dealing with these risks, a judicial and executive or managerial framework for enforcement of rules and, most of all, accountability upon the part of developers, employers, customers and all citizens of the Information Revolution.  New Year's resolution:  every Tuesday let's review one element of the fundamentals of Information Security as suggested by the month's news and build the type of secure future we need.
  • Software Development (and all "development" for that matter) is only partially an engineering discipline.  Like architecture, it is intimately tied to art and the understanding of the human concepts of beauty and form.  It is also tied to an understanding of human limitations and the potential of imagination.  We need a revolution in the way software is developed and sold in this country.  Open systems, open sources, GNU and various other licensing schemes are just the beginning.  We must work to develop a framework for software development that is neither "cottage industry" nor "big brother" dominated.  To do this within the context of "accountability" as mandated by Information Security will be a neat trick.  Let's develop these concepts together every Thursday, building toward a "developer's alliance" to reshape the software industry.
  • Information Revolution encompasses the awakening of the mind like never before.  Telephone, radio, TV, computers and the Internet are all enabling technologies that are moving the world's people in powerful ways.  Anyone who's mind bears any spark of imagination an holds any sense of history must be in awe of the potential before us.  Most Saturdays I will try to extract from the torrent of news on the revolution in information technologies one potential "wave" to catch and ride into the your future.  And in this e-World, riding waves can also "make" waves for ourselves and others to ride!
Copyright 2000 Information Security Analysis LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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