A while ago, I reported on this blog about South Carolina having trouble regarding their computer security. Apparently, four million South Carolinians had their information taken by a particularly bad hack job. Now, spending two minutes on the Internet will tell you that the government, on both the state and federal level, are monumentally bad at information security, at least when it comes to computers. You'd think that in an increasingly technological society, one that has become global in its scope, the government would make computer security a priority.
Anyway, South Carolina launched an investigation into the matter, and attempted to improve their security system. The findings were…troubling. Most agencies were "below adequate" in their information security capabilities, on a statewide scale. The director of State Information Technology offered some advice: hire at least two people to oversee the implementation of a better system. First, hire a chief information security officer (an increasingly common position in the private sector), and second, a "privacy officer" who would set the priorities as far as what should be protected. Ultimately, however, the findings indicate that the government is (surprise!) way behind the private sector in making computer security a priority. Businesses throughout the nation increased their information security budgets by more than sixty percent, whereas the government has increased it by less than a quarter of that. Most businesses in the finance industry have twenty to one hundred times more employees focused exclusively on securing their computer assets than the average government agency.
Here's the thing: as much as we tout how much Google knows about us, the government is in control of a whole lot more than Google. Google may know our names and addresses, but so does the government. At the same time, the government decides things like how much we owe in taxes, how we come up in the system (Ex-convict? Full-time student?), or our citizenship. These are things that the government has power over, and their online security is likely less powerful than your web designer's.
(via WBTW News)