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White House To Appoint "Internet Czar" 205

Posted by timothy
from the with-enough-czars-all-things-are-possible dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Washington Post reports that President Obama is set to appoint a 'Cybersecurity czar with a broad mandate': 'The adviser will have the most comprehensive mandate granted to such an official to date and will probably be a member of the National Security Council but will report to the national security adviser as well as the senior White House economic adviser, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are not final. The announcement will coincide with the long-anticipated release of a 40-page report that evaluates the government's cybersecurity initiatives and policies. The report is intended to outline a "strategic vision" and the range of issues the new adviser must handle, but it will not delve into details, administration officials told reporters last month.' Cynics are expecting the appointee to be a lawyer for the RIAA."
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White House To Appoint "Internet Czar"

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @08:39AM (#28094225)
    Why do I suspect that this "czar" will spend about 10% of his time dealing with security issues and 90% of his time finding ways to help big media companies protect their IP from evil pirates, teenagers, and Youtube?
    • by gubers33 (1302099) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @08:57AM (#28094461)
      10% of his time you dealing with security issues? He will spend all of his time on security issues because everyone knows the biggest threat to America are the pirates of multimedia with their Limewire and BitTorrent. All of the people attempting to hack into the DoD, Bank of America and so forth come in a distant second so he will just ignore them.
      • by click2005 (921437) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @09:00AM (#28094513)

        All of the people attempting to hack into the DoD, Bank of America and so forth come in a distant second so he will just ignore them.

        He/She wont ignore them... They will make great headlines, followed by lots of promises to regulate/police the internet to protect american (business) interests.

        • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @10:35AM (#28095853)

          I have more faith in the czar. He/she won't stop at headlines. There will be a few studies commissioned and a hearing or two also. They may even get some guidelines passed that everyone who knows anything about the subject will agree are impossible to enforce and/or contain loopholes large enough to drive a Mack truck through.

    • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @08:59AM (#28094489) Journal

      Why do I suspect that this "czar" will spend about 10% of his time dealing with security issues and 90% of his time finding ways to help big media companies protect their IP from evil pirates, teenagers, and Youtube?

      Why do I have a feeling that this "czar" will accomplish nothing on either of those fronts and will prove to be as effective as all the other "czars" that have come before him?

    • by jerep (794296) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @08:59AM (#28094493)

      Because 90% of what the government already does is to help big corporations?

      • So is the cost of providing such assistance to big corporations, media, unions, and industry included in that 90% or not? I really don't think you are giving enough credit to how expensive it is to keep stealing money from people and convince them it is for their own good. Also, I think politicians do all that ass kissing to help their own careers. And don't forget all the bribes these industries need to pay out to stay on top, and the further bribes by the small guy just to stay afloat... I am sure it all
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jollyreaper (513215)

      Why do I suspect that this "czar" will spend about 10% of his time dealing with security issues and 90% of his time finding ways to help big media companies protect their IP from evil pirates, teenagers, and Youtube?

      So would this make pirate bay be the internet Bolsheviks? Or would that only be the case if they had real guns and actually killed people?

    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      Because of such wondrous appointments as: Geithner, Summers, Shapiro, Altman, et al.........
  • WTF "Czars" (Score:5, Funny)

    by R2.0 (532027) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @08:41AM (#28094241)

    Is it really that necessary to appoint a czar fro EVERY issue? I'm waiting for the Toilet Paper Czar, who will coordinate government efforts to regulate both the orientation of the roll in the holder as well as the direction of wipe.

    • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @09:01AM (#28094517) Journal

      I'm waiting for the Toilet Paper Czar, who will coordinate government efforts to regulate both the orientation of the roll in the holder as well as the direction of wipe.

      Nah, I like the idea I heard in another article. We need a Czar Czar to coordinate the activities of all of the Czar's that we are appointing ;)

    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @09:05AM (#28094569)

      We need someone to scapegoat and fire today when fundamental errors made 20 years ago finally become manifest.

      That's how we roll.

    • by hal2814 (725639)

      Don't worry. They'll be the first against the wall when the Revolution comes.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      I'm waiting for the Toilet Paper Czar

      They can have my three-ply, quilted softness when they pull it out of my unwashed, dead hands!
      Seriously, TP is one of the few things I don't cheap-out on.

    • Re:WTF "Czars" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jpmorgan (517966) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @10:12AM (#28095485) Homepage

      Czars have a mandate and little authority, they're not supposed to actually accomplish anything. They get appointed for two reasons:

      1. To give the appearance of activity without actually doing anything. ("Of course we care about issue X! We appointed a czar to oversee it.")

      2. To reward allies and contributors with plum patronage positions but few actual responsibilities to worry about.

      The "best" part is everybody cynically expects them to fail, so there's no complaint or comment when the appointee accomplishes nothing. It's really quite brilliant... Bush's mistake was making patronage appointments to positions which actually hold responsibilities, like managing FEMA.

    • ... we should become cyber Bolsheviks.

      Hah - with Slashdot being the popular front, and our leader - the great Commander Taco.

    • by cashman73 (855518)
      I'm waiting for the Toilet Paper Czar, who will coordinate government efforts to regulate both the orientation of the roll in the holder as well as the direction of wipe.

      Government already has this job. It's officially called, "Director of the Internal Revenue Service." ;-)

    • Oh, most definitely, it is necessary to have a czar!! It gives politicians a warm fuzzy feeling to think that they are in control!! What would this world be without warm fuzzies? What would they have to brag about, without some nearly all-powerful talking head making up goals, benchmarks, and charts? Oh PLEASE, allow us a few more czars!! I think that the next czar should be "Schoolchildren's playground equipment czar". This world is a nasty place for toddlers, and small children. We really need a cz

    • So what you are saying is that a repeal of the 9th and 10th amendments to The Constitution wasn't such a great idea after all?
    • So as I count them...

      The Romanov Dynasty: 15 Czars (Peter I - Nicholas II)

      The Obama Administration: 15 Czars (Border Czar, Climate Czar, Cyberspace Czar, Copyright Czar, Climate Czar, Car Czar, Drug Czar, Energy Czar, Education Czar, Economic Czar, Health Care Czar, Housing Czar, Mortgage Czar, Technology Czar, WMD Czar)

      I may have missed some in either category, but I'm still betting Obama will wind up with more.

  • Could we have a poobah or a caliph or sultan or something, please God, anything else for a change, plz?
    • by eclectro (227083)

      You mean something like a king?

    • by Cyberax (705495) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @09:05AM (#28094567)

      "Czar" title has a distinct advantage. Czars were abolished when the last of them had been put against a wall and the shot.

      • What, they all worked in the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation?

        In any case, I'm sure they had some cult of Genuine People Personality ;-)

      • "Czar" title has a distinct advantage. Czars were abolished when the last of them had been put against a wall and the shot.

        Not really - your mistaken assumption is that only Russia had tsars (I prefer this spelling as it reflects the actual pronounciation of the word). In practice, a few other Slavic countries have also used it, most notably Bulgaria - its last tsar was Simeon II [wikipedia.org], ruling until 1946 (when Commies took over). And he wasn't executed.

    • by owlnation (858981) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @09:09AM (#28094623)
      The advantage of a Czar is that it's much more fun to overthrow them than a king. Just ask Lenin.

      I think in this case the parallels with the excess and oppression of imperial Czars, and the ruling of the Internet, will be quite apt.

      Of course it's just as likely that this new Czar will be just as effective as other previous government Czars. The Drugs Czar for example. Since being appointed in 1982 we can congratulate the holders of that office as having done a great job. There is now no drug problem whatsoever, as everyone knows.
    • by cashman73 (855518)
      Could we have a poobah or a caliph or sultan or something, please God, anything else for a change, plz?

      Sounds good to me! How about he appoints an "Internet Guru" to the Cabinet! The position should be filled by a 15-year-old kid, or Wesley Crusher Wil Wheaton. =)

    • I vote for "Cheese" to go with the French Idealist Socialism theme.

      We would have a Big Drug Cheese, an Internet Cheese, the Auto Cheese... Cue "giant melting pot" jokes.

  • More Cynicism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @08:45AM (#28094301) Journal

    Having the adviser report to both the national security and economic advisers suggests that the White House is seeking to ensure a balance between homeland security and economic concerns, the sources said.

    Economic concerns like what? The fact that internet commerce explodes on Cyber Monday [wikipedia.org] as consumers and businesses enjoy a wealth of increased buying/spending? Or would you so happen to be referring to economic concerns like the MPAA/RIAA are short one ivory back scratcher? Perhaps the concerns that all that internet commerce is happening with most of it untaxed? Maybe concerns that used books, DVDs and games are being sold increasingly with a down-turned economy?

    I am certain the economic concerns you speak of are only economic concerns of lobbyists when you should maybe be paying attention to what consumers are interested in?

    You want to help the consumer, you should mandate that proprietary DRM violates anti-trust laws as it locks consumers into the software and hardware associated with their music service. Or maybe you should look into allowing people to use whatever level of encryption they want to secure their financial transactions [cnet.com]? Nah, nobody's paying you for that.

    Throw on top of that the fact that Biden's good friends with the MPAA and RIAA [p2pnet.net] (and I'm sure Obama's not far behind [wired.com]) there may be cause for concern.

    • Re:More Cynicism (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @09:06AM (#28094579)

      ....any new Czar will soon realise that most of the Internet is outside his jurisdiction, and most US laws do not apply to the the people involved ....

    • He has a point, this is area where if dark clouds come over and rain falls from the sky you are called cynic for saying that someone is going to get wet, but anywhere else the positivist/naysayer/shill would be called insane.

    • Re:More Cynicism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jshackney (99735) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @10:37AM (#28095895) Homepage

      Perhaps the concerns that all that internet commerce is happening with most of it untaxed?

      BINGO!!!

      This Czar's job is to figure out how the government is going to get their piece of the pie. Don't be fooled into thinking otherwise.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      Having the adviser report to both the national security and economic advisers suggests that the White House is seeking to ensure a balance between homeland security and economic concerns, the sources said.

      I am certain the economic concerns you speak of are only economic concerns of lobbyists when you should maybe be paying attention to what consumers are interested in?

      I share a great deal of your cynicism. I've seen the US Government make a fine mess of it's information security initiatives. And I've witnesses beurocrats twist such initiatives and policy around until they do something entirely different than what they should be. So I completely agree that the danger of this sort of thing is very real. However, having said that, let's not get too carried away. The full paragraph from the article reads:

      Having the adviser report to both the national security and economic advisers suggests that the White House is seeking to ensure a balance between homeland security and economic concerns, the sources said. It also indicates an effort to quell an internal political battle in which Lawrence H. Summers, the senior White House economic adviser, is pushing for the National Economic Council to have a key role in cybersecurity to ensure that efforts to protect private networks do not unduly threaten economic growth, the sources said.

      What we have is the standard inverse relationship between secur

  • Again? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @08:48AM (#28094361)
    How many slashdot "White House to Appoint Internet Czar" stories are we going to see? Let's just report it when it happens (if it ever does).
    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      How many slashdot "White House to Appoint Internet Czar" stories are we going to see?

      At least one more, when the kdawson cron job dupes it.

    • No, let's flood slashdot with this story however many times it takes to get the message across. We must be ever vigilant with regards to humanities last bastion of freedom in the world!

  • XKCD (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @08:54AM (#28094427)

    http://xkcd.com/494/
    through
    http://xkcd.com/498/

  • Czars (Score:2, Interesting)

    When did we start offering offices to czars? I don't see any emperors or kings in charge of this country. And doesn't our constitution say something about not allowing titles of nobility? The government is like a child who constantly tests it boundaries and so far nobody's doing anything about it.
  • what... (Score:3, Funny)

    by night_flyer (453866) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @09:02AM (#28094537) Homepage

    ... could possibly go wrong?

  • Would he be the Russian czar? Condi Rice was an alleged expert on the topic, would that make her the Russian czarina?

  • !!democracy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arthur B. (806360) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @09:09AM (#28094627)

    This *is* democracy. Democracy isn't a synonym of "good" and it doesn't imply a just or free society, it's not a poney filled land. Democracy is a political system and this is the result of such a system.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maharb (1534501)

      It is what happens when you have an uneducated public that can't look past the carrot dangled in front of them. It's hard to even argue against people that can't look past one iteration of a loop that contains great phrases like "the poor will be fed" and "free health care". No one cares where the money comes from as long as it isn't from them. My point is everyone looks at the first possible solution rather than thinking forward.

      So you are correct this is a result of Democracy + Dumb People + Smooth Tal

    • except for all the other forms of government which have been tried"

      -winston churchill, badly paraphrased

      it does no good to point out the flaws of democracy, simply because for every flaw democracy has, any other government system you can show me has those same flaws, but more and worse... or not the same flaws, but much more horrible flaws

      so what is your point? the probative value of your criticism of democracy is zero without the ability to describe a superior system

      democracy sucks. and yet it is still bet

      • by Arthur B. (806360)

        Why would you take Churchill's word on it anyway?

        There are plenty of monarchies which were much freer than the current leading social-democracies. It's hard to compare because people were much poorer back then.

        And even if you trust Churchill on it, it doesn't mean there are no better form of government to experiment with. It doesn't even mean we should *try*. If you ask me, there's no government like no like no government.

        Besides, politically, I'd much rather live in non democratic Dubai than in democratic

        • the words you say are so humorously ignorant of reality one hopes that you are merely green

          you do realize that a country that doesn't have legal guarantees of your freedoms has no such freedoms, that you somehow miracuolously exist in dubai, or an ancient monarchy

          as for no government: allow me to come over and shoot you in the face. who's to punish me? that's what "no government" means

          • by Arthur B. (806360)

            Well I could punish you or I could pay people in advance to punish you in case you shoot me.

            Now suppose the government shoots you in the face, who's to punish the government?

  • Freudian slip? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AnalPerfume (1356177) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @09:41AM (#28095021)
    Does anyone find it strange that a country steeped in an anti-communist / pro-capitalist past / present / future chooses to adopt a Russian term for an overseer? We've seen so many fuck ups by past US administrations because they got their panties in a twist about the fear of communism with Cuba, the McCarthy trials etc. The Republicans in particular have their supporters mind warped into seeing commies everywhere, yet it hasn't occurred to them that "Czar" is not a Western / US word.

    They rail against state control over personal freedoms and here the government are trying to let people know where they stand and the people don't notice. Not only that, but many right wingers are thrilled that a Czar is taking charge to impose order, although presumably that only applies when the order being imposed is on an area they agree with and not with their rights to own guns etc.

    It's like the story telling entertainment industries. They tell so many stories of corporate / political abuse of citizens which resonate with the audience and the audience never notices why. Stories resonate because they have enough basis in reality for the audience to relate to, yes they are fictional characters, fictional corporations, fictional laws etc but the base is real, and believable. It's believable because there is plenty of news about REAL people committing similar crimes and abuses and often getting away with it. The entertainment industry is showing us the world as it is through fictional rewrites and what do we do about it? Fuck all.

    How many more times do we have to be shown reality before we decide that enough is enough?
    • I believe the Czar was highly anti-Communist. Hence the shooting.

      • Yeah it occurred to me after posting that the concept of the Czar was pre-communism in Russia. When a country has a long turbulent history some things blend together in the mind.
    • by Culture20 (968837)
      No one was more anti-communism than the Russian Royalty. They weren't as successful as the U.S. in their dealings with communists, but I'll bet they hated them more.
  • Oi didn't vote for 'im!
  • by Mark Gordon (14545) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @09:52AM (#28095181) Homepage

    ...far away from us!

    - "Fiddler on the Roof"

  • if i recall correctly, after the browser wars of the 1990s, the internet czar abdicated following the y2k debacle during which he and his family were imprisoned first in a cisco router at a server farm in virginia beach, then later in a backup tape at an ibm server facility in omaha, and finally at an iPod nano in spokane. The internet czar, his wife, his son, his four daughters, the family's medical doctor, the czar's valet, the empress' lady in waiting and the family's cook were all killed in the same dis

  • by ScooterComputer (10306) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @09:57AM (#28095263)

    Dammit these people in power in America piss me off. STOP USING THE TERM 'CZAR', 'TSAR', whatever! STOP STOP STOP.

    I can't wait until a President is ready to march to Congress and appoint Der Fuehrer of Alternative Energy, which would prove that they have no clue what these titles mean to people around the world as well as citizens in our own country. I doubt Obama would appoint an Imperial Wizard of Credit Debt or Grand Dragon of Terrorism.

    The term 'Czar' relates to a despicable history of oppression and murder. The term itself comes from Caesar, not exactly a bright point in Europe's history. There are better terms, and we as a Democratic people are more creative than this.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      Dammit these people in power in America piss me off. STOP USING THE TERM 'CZAR', 'TSAR', whatever! STOP STOP STOP.

      I can't wait until a President is ready to march to Congress and appoint Der Fuehrer of Alternative Energy, which would prove that they have no clue what these titles mean to people around the world as well as citizens in our own country. I doubt Obama would appoint an Imperial Wizard of Credit Debt or Grand Dragon of Diversity Awareness .

      The term 'Czar' relates to a despicable history of oppression and murder. The term itself comes from Caesar, not exactly a bright point in Europe's history. There are better terms, and we as a Democratic people are more creative than this.

      Edited your post to make it more ironical-like.

    • The term 'Czar' relates to a despicable history of oppression and murder.

      No, the term has much broader connotations. I appreciate the general sentiments of your post, but the fact that you associate 'Czar' with Nicholas II, a period in history that is exceedingly narrow in its historical, cultural and political scope, suggests a general ignorance. The same could be said about anyone who has a similarly narrow interpretation of kings, queens, ministers, secretaries, and presidents.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @10:00AM (#28095303)
    ... a lawyer from the RIAA?
    No, I expect he'll hire someone with actual internet experience, like a "private investigator" from MediaSentry.
  • Obama has appointed more czars than any other President that I can remember. And I think this is a bad thing, as czars end up with the same (or more) power as a constitutional cabinet official and don't have to go through the scrutiny of confirmation.

    This makes it easy to slip in cronies and lobbyists. And yes, I expect the person to have MAFIAA ties.

    The Obama administration runs like it has two cabinets, the one that had to be confirmed by Congress, and the "shadow" one made up of czars and all these "fo

  • To meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy...
  • Seriously! The Czars PREDATE SOVIET RUSSIA! That's why they did the whole Bolshevik Revolution! So we can't even counteract this new rise in Czars with the whole "IN SOVIET RUSSIA" meme that's become so popular around here! What's a Slashdotter to do?!?!
  • 1) Make Lobbying illegal, punishable by death, and Create a "Czar" for the "People".
    2) ???
    3) Profit

  • But why would you appoint a lawyer to a position that clearly needs a person with a technical skillset, a technical background, in order to even understand the security issues and assess the implications.
    • by Culture20 (968837)

      But why would you appoint a lawyer to a position that clearly needs a person with a technical skillset, a technical background, in order to even understand the security issues and assess the implications.

      If you're a top-level executive, why would you hire an MBA into the same type of position in the corporate world? Because they speak your language, and the guys who know what they're doing don't.

  • Well all I have to say is that if you get this czar near any 4chan people you will soon hear headlines of "Internet Czar Rickrolled", or "Internet Czar Looking at Goatse"
  • I thought this administration was trying to stop using the term?
  • Czar is becoming overused. I think we need to start appointing Emperors. And we should give them cool names like Emperor Jones, Scourge of the Broke Automobile Companies.

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