October 11, 2010
TRI CEO Tom Glocer of the Imminent Threat of Cyber Attack
As I've mentioned before I like Tom Glocer's personal blog and I am not repeating it now just because I'm in the midst of Westlaw negotiations that may go badly as in "good-bye Westlaw" badly. Meaning, I was promised a response that is now overdue.
Tom's a busy CEO of a publishing empire but I wish he would write more thought pieces. "[T]his medium seems best suited to reflections – on my work, on the future of media and technology, or on the joys of sport and family life," writes Tom in probably the most serious and atypical post I have read on his blog. In Cyber Defense -- A Call to Action, he writes "I want to convince you that all peace-loving people, regardless of country, face an imminent threat: the threat of cyber attack on the technological infrastructure upon which we and the societies in which we live increasingly rely." A snip:
Ultimately, I believe that the answer lies in creating a “super net” or overlay internet among trusted and authenticated institutions, akin to the role mil.net served for the US Department of Defense. We are slowly evolving from an unpoliced network of anonymous nodes to a multi-layered network of authenticated institutions and individuals. Just as individuals must be approved to receive a security clearance from their government, so can their machines be identified and approved. What emerges, need not be an Orwellian nightmare of government control. Rather, I can imagine a layered internet in which the nuclear arsenal is controlled by the highest and most secure level, the power grid, air traffic control and ATM networks are secured by a sufficiently robust next layer, but an open cyber frontier -- a wild west -- remains for individuals to roam free of government control and authentication, but also open to attack and abuse.
No system will ever be perfectly secure, but I would like to think that we can find the collective will to act before a harmful attack calls us to action.
While securing the Net is pretty damn important to TRI, I don't believe it motivates Tom's post one iota. And in an effort to not eliminate my one chance in a million to share a pitcher of beer with him someday, I want to emphasize that what follows is more farcical than not; more like the Japanese tradition of Kyōgen being performed as comic relief during a long, serious Noh play.
- What, OnePass is not living up to expectations! Enough said.
- Software solutions for UN/PW authentication better replace the sales force insistence that Westlaw accounts be created for everyone, including those who don't and won't use Westlaw.
- The folks in the bunker are probably thinking the "wild west" analogy better not be applicable to the wild Westlaw, Classic or Next. Hey, they do a damn good job at keeping things up and running, even if Westlaw Patron Access is a tab problematic at times and no one thinks to issue an email alert when it crashes. Bunker folks, contact marketing folks. They've got an email distribution list you can use!
Hopefully, the above remains unlikely, extravagant, and improbable. [JH]