Saturday, May 05, 2007

Our Government In Action

In one way or another I have been involved in government bureaucracies for well over three decades. I just read about the latest TSA debacle and I am again underwhelmed with how some bureaucracies handle their responsiblities.

The problem here is how the TSA views the safety and security of their employees.

In a statement released Friday night, the agency said the external -- or portable -- hard drive contained information on employees who worked for the Homeland Security agency from January 2002 until August 2005.

This sounds suspiciously like an exterior USB drive that can store hundreds of gigabytes of data - a rather cavelier means of storing your personnel information.

Who in their right minds would keep this kind of employee information on a storage device that you can unplug and simply walk away with? It makes no difference if the office area was restricted to authorized personnel only. This device is no more than a big thumb drive waiting to be scooped up and put in someone's brief case or purse.

Why wasn't this information stored in a secure environment where access is controlled not only by physical limitations but also through electronic means on a need to know basis?

I use secure systems every day and I am amazed, astounded, dismayed, incredulous that this could happen in an agency allegedly devoted to national security.

Somebody, probably more than one, in the TSA leadership needs to have their head(s) forcibly removed from their ass.

But perhaps the TSA is merely following accepted federal standards for secure data systems.

In 2000 we had the Los Alamos caper with removeable hard drives containing nuclear secrets disappearing from vaults. They were later recovered tucked behind a copy machine. Allegedly this is a common area for hard drives to gather when they are lost and afraid. Ever since then I routinely examine the areas around our office copy machines for the poor little guys.

Here is a partial list of some of the more obvious shortfalls in the way our government handles sensitive information. The first 22 items are from this year alone...

No comments: