From Siprnet to Cablegate: An information system gone wrong

SIPRNet is an acronym that stands for Secret Internet Protocol Router Network. SIPRNet is "a system of interconnected computer networks used by the United States Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of State to transmit classified information (up to and including information classified SECRET) by packet switching over the TCP/IP protocols in a 'completely secure' environment." It came into being in the aftermath of 9/11, as a way to share information easily among the many government employees, with the objective, or hope, that key intelligence no longer gets obscured in information silos or "stovepipes."

SIPRNet is an information system, or a combination of people and technology. The whole Cablegate episode becomes also interesting from the perspective of our confidence in, and expectations from, technology. One should only recall the early rhetoric surrounding internet technology, which probably made its way also to/from the State Department.

Now, we are waiting again for technology to save us from peak-oil.

In all these instances, I ask, where have the investments been? Not in people, it appears...

ideas in motion: covering mirrors

1 comment:

fCh said...

An excerpt from

"Companies have many options technologically to protect themselves.

Alfred Huger, vice president of engineering for security firm Immunet Corp. in Palo Alto, said companies could simply configure their e-mail servers to restrict who certain people can send documents to.

Other measures include prohibiting certain people from copying and pasting from documents, blocking downloads to thumb drives and CD-ROMs, and deploying technologies that check if executives' e-mail messages are being checked too often — a sign that an automated program is copying the contents.

But the more companies control information, the more difficult it is for employees to access documents they are authorized to view. That lowers productivity and increases costs in the form of the additional help from technicians."

So, to hammer-like technologists, the solution is to nail it.