Information Warfare: A Cure Worse Than the Disease


December24, 2006: The NMCI (Navy Marine Corps Intranet) project, a $9 billion effort to improve security and networking, has encountered a lot of unexpected, and often very annoying, problems. For example, since NMCI's got all sorts of serious security and safety programs built in, it's often not very helpful for people who have assignments that may require them to reach out into the greater infosphere. This includes information officers, intel types, personnel teaching at or attending service schools, people working in Navy/Marine Corps labs, and so forth. As it is, Navy Department filters are often too effective.

The degree of security is sort of like that schools put on to prevent kids from finding porn, which also block information about breast cancer, because "breast" is a naughty word. That sort of thing actually doesn't stop determined adolescents with raging hormones, but scientists, intel officers, and students at Navy/Marine Corps schools may not have the time or the energy to developing work-arounds.

Consider the experience of a staff researcher up at the Navy War College, who was doing some research on the Naval Militia. The NMCI filter kept blocking "Naval Militia" sites, probably because someone had decided "militia" was a naughty word.

The cure is, indeed, sometimes worse than the disease.


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