Why We Can't Trust Government on Technology

-By Warner Todd Huston

Free market advocates have for years been fighting the anti-capitalist left over government control of the Internet, a battle that has reached a temporary plateau when Obama's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) arbitrarily decided that it was in full control of the Internet and by fiat implemented the left's long-sought net neutrality rules. This isn't the only technology kerfuffle that the federal government is involved in, either.

Another techno-mess has been raging over a contract being considered by the Department of the Interior for its new email/messaging system using a cloud computing solution. The fight has been between Microsoft and Google and the results tends to prove that the government is as tech stupid as a Luddite on steroids. It tends to show that the government simply can't be trusted with technology issues, whether net neutrality or otherwise. The situation is a bit complicated, but what is afoot is that the government has instituted new rules requiring that technology solutions for contract must satisfy the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), rules that are supposed to assure safer, more secure information tech for today's terror-era communications.

Yet, even as the government has insisted that tech companies get FISMA certified, the Dept. of Interior has decided to award its contract for its new email system to a company whose solution is not FISMA certified while at the same time ignoring a company that is.

That's right, after making new rules that are supposed to keep enemies from hacking our government's secure email systems, that same government is awarding its contract to a solution that does not meet the very new rules it wrote.

Does any office in the government have any clue what any other office is doing?

Of course, from a conservative's perspective, neither of the two companies battling for the government contract are favorites. The company that is claiming fowl is Google, a left-wing, anti-personal privacy giant. The company likely to get the contract is Microsoft, run by loony leftist Bill Gates. Regardless, Google has a point with its complaint against the government.

As it happened, Google feels strung along and is charging that the Dept. of Interior never intended to offer anyone else but Microsoft the contract. A good case can be made for this too.

Anyway, what happened was that the government passed its FISMA law and Google went to the trouble to get FISMA certified with its email cloud computing system and then applied for the Dept. of Interior contract. They say they were led to believe they were seriously in the running.

But it looks like the government is picking the Microsoft solution even though Microsoft never bothered to get FISMA certified.

Of course, there are more ins and outs to this story and it is a bit more complicated than I put here, but what I have is the basics. The main point for our concerns here is that the government has, yet again, caused a mess because it has no clue what it is doing on issues of technology.

... and we want to hand our healthcare over to these dolts? Good luck with that.

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