Bruce Sterling advocates greater law enforcement measures be taken online
Famous sci-fi and nonfiction author and Wired contributor Bruce Sterling advocates more law enforcement on the Net.
Most of the advancements in Internet commerce since the dot-com bust have been illegal, Sterling noted, including spamming, identity theft, and "phishing," which is theft of credit card numbers or other personal information by directing customers to bogus Web sites to change their account settings. "If you advance into mayhem, that's not advancement, that's driving into a ditch," he added.
I'm not sure I agree with this statement. There have been advancements across the e-commerce board recently, however, it may be that legitimate Internet users are currently losing the arms race against malware writers. It is more disturbing though, when you consider malware as a business itself, and not as a bored teenager at home screwing around.
The authors of the Witty worm targeted users of Internet Security Systems Inc.'s products, while the Bagel and Mydoom virus authors attempted to turn infected computers into spam-sending machines, Sterling said. "Bagel and Mydoom are the future of virus-writing because they have a business model," he said. "Those are organized crime activities. ... These are crooks." Virus and worm writing will grow as a weapon for terrorists and warring nations, he predicted...
"This is the birth of a genuine, no-kidding, for-profit ... multinational criminal underworld," he said. "I don't see any way it can't happen. We're going to end up getting pushed around by bands of international electronic thieves in a very similar way to the way we've been pushed around by gangs of international Mafia and international Mujahideen terrorists."
This is scary stuff, on the other hand, people are becoming more and more suspicious of statements that attempt to tie terrorism to just about everything that's wrong on planet Earth. But then you hear about things like this - terrorist have been making millions by running cigarettes into New York from southern states where the taxes are much lower. These guys are pretty resourceful.
Inforworld article re Sterling here.