Forewarned is forearmed. A new MSNBC report predicts that 2008 will see continued cyber attacks, and better organized ones, that threaten individuals, businesses, and governments.
Progressives have special concerns in this regard. We at the Commonweal Institute consider Personal Choice and Privacy to be one of our core principles. The Internet is a commons, shared by all (well, all who have access to it), which needs to be protected from those who would use it maliciously, as well as those who use it dishonestly for commercial or for political/social control purposes. Use of taxes to support detection and enforcement mechanisms to protect all of us from cyber attacks may be one of those issues that could attract wide support, not limited to progressives. The advantage to having such policing done by a government agency, rather than a private corporation, is that the U.S. government belongs to We the People, so we can demand openness and accountability. I’d sure trust a government agency more than I’d trust some contractor like Blackwater.
The looming threat to social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn) and other social network-facilitating communication methods (e.g., cell phones) described in this article will be of particular concern as social networking continues to grow exponentially. As more progressives join such social networks and get their friends and colleagues to do likewise, the opportunity for detailed mapping of the progressive political network rises as well. Such maps could be used by adverse political elements who would target progressives. Of course, network mapping could also pose risks to the broader society, not just progressives, if done by the intelligence or military agencies, military contractors, foreign governments, or terrorist groups.
Moral of the story? Be alert, be careful, take precautions.