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The Fantasy & Reality of 2004


A Wired News feature which collects the 2004 'wish-lists' of well-known experts is a 'must read'. Here are three excerpts.


Simon Davies, director of Privacy International:


"I wish everyone would become more aggressive about protecting their civil liberties in 2004.



"What probably will happen is that government will continue to lie and manipulate in a determined effort to confuse imagery and reality. Government has become a master of deception. It has set out to compromise the fragile freedoms that remain, while at the same time providing agencies with a constantly expanding spectrum of powers. Public officials proclaim their support for individual rights and privacy while silently engineering their demise. I do hope people can learn to become angry about this trend."


George Smith, virus researcher and senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.Org a defense affairs think tank:


"I wish people would treat regular virus frenzies like an IQ test. If you convene a congressional hearing in the aftermath of the next PurplePeopleEater Worm, fly 'experts' across the country to purse their lips and utter noises of concern, spout estimates of economic damages that are the same magnitude as a yearly expenditure to reconstruct Iraq and get angry at a Department of Justice flunky over its inability to hang someone, you flunk.


"What I'd like to see happen once would be for someone to have the nerve to stand up in such a national forum and call the exercise good phlogiston, state the electronic infrastructure's not fixable, that more education will never fix our computer virus 'problem' and that we'll all be back in three months to say the same thing for the rest of you nincompoops.


"But it won't happen -- everyone will continue to pretend they have an IQ of 60."


Robert Ferrell, security researcher and author:


"My 2004 wish is for Bill Gates to call a press conference and announce that, as a result of a visit from the ghosts of disgruntled customers past, present and future, he's hired Ross Anderson to oversee a complete retooling of all Microsoft products with out-of-the-box application security in mind. No new versions of any Microsoft software will be issued until this effort has been completed.


"What undoubtedly will happen is that Bill Gates will allow Steve Ballmer to continue spending way too much time thinking up new ways of embarrassing himself and the company in public with his cheesy 'motivational' hoopla while aggressively avoiding any implementation of actual security engineering best practices beyond the occasional utterance of empty phrases like 'Secure Computing Initiative.' Meanwhile, more Microsoft executives will leave to run various government agencies with the same level of attention to quality they displayed in the private sector."

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