Comments on UCITA

by Willis Ware

August 17, 2000

There is a continued push by law enforcement for broader access to Internet communications and to Internet traffic.   The thrust by law enforcement is generally seen by the technical and user community as a serious threat to privacy, and a major deterrent to the development and evolution of good security -- in fact, even a potential contributor to weakening of security.

Moreover, the ongoing efforts of the legislative process, primarily at the federal level but also at the state level, to deal with various issues relevant to the Internet are also raising similar concerns in regard to privacy and security.

Add to these two observations the fact that copyright issues are seen as favoring big business (e.g., DVD, MP3); and the fact that the UCITA threat acts to relieve software vendors of important responsibility. One has to conclude that in addition to the usual past and present inertia and unwillingness of organizations to embrace security, there are other new forces in the world that could well impede rapid progress in widespread and sound information security. The only force in favor of rapid progress would seem to be that of critical infrastructure protection.