richard clarke’s five steps to save the internet

Richard Clarke recently spoke at a conference and listed five steps to save the Internet. Here is a brief on the five steps:

1. National biometric ID
2. More government oversight of the Internet
3. Nonpartisan government oversight to protect privacy
4. Secure software standards
5. A closed Internet for critical services like the power grid

1- I don’t like the idea of a national ID or using biometrics, but I do know that social security numbers are antiquated and broken. They’re just not working anymore in our ultra-efficient information age. I agree change needs to happen; I don’t know what solution I would like. Something similar to what all the cyberpunk visionaries have written about for decades is most likely inevitable. An inevitable evil. I’ve long felt that a major hurdle for the Internet deals with identity; trusting it and verifying it. And no, I don’t think OpenID is the obvious solution.

2- I don’t like this either, and hopefully it won’t happen; but I am surprised ISPs and the Net have held out this long and this well. Hopefully it stays that way.

3- Maybe I’m old-fashioned already, but isn’t privacy oversight covered by the judicial branch?

4- This is obvious that we need better standards. Is the government the proper standards-bearer? I doubt it, and I definitely wouldn’t hang my hat on getting this done enough to make an ultimate difference. It will help, as part of a blended improvement to cyber security and software security.

5- Hrm, again, I might be old-fashioned, but I call this either a private network or a network with strong perimeters and controls. I think Clarke is looking for attention and media drama by calling it a closed Internet, but I don’t think that’s what he’s really meaning to talk about. Why do you need a closed Internet and how is that different from a private WAN network? Open access to the web and other services? You mean like the walled garden from AOL? I’ll dismiss this point because it is just bait and hype, nothing more.