How Big Data is destroying the U.S. healthcare system

denied-stampOne thing I find ironic in the current controversy over problems with the healthcare.gov insurance sign-up web site is that the people complaining don’t really mean what they are saying. Not only do they have have little to no context for their arguments, they don’t even want the improvements they are demanding. This is not to say nothing is wrong with the site, but few big web projects have perfectly smooth launches. From all the bitching and moaning in the press you’d think this experience is a rarity. But as those who regularly read this column know, more than half of big IT projects don’t work at all. So I’m not surprised that […]

Is cyber insurance AAA for data or another back door?

GMCtowA few days ago I promised “tomorrow” a column about the future of data security. Then, just as the electrons were flowing on that DefCon column, I bought on eBay a 1978 GMC Royale motorhome in Bismarck, North Dakota that Channing and I have been trying to bring home ever since. We’ve so far broken down in Fargo, North Dakota (air suspension leak) and Brookings, South Dakota (ignition failure), but are now back on the road headed for California. We met Rick, the tow truck driver who used to be a rodeo bull rider, and Wayne Westerberg, the RV mechanic who gave up his Friday night to get us back on the road. Try Googling […]

Apple's Money

All of us were reminded over and over and over during the last few days that Apple has more cash on hand than does the U.S. government. This coincidence means precisely nothing to either outfit.  We won’t see President Obama asking Steve Jobs for a loan, nor will we see Steve Jobs offering one. Yes, the government is broke and yes, Apple has a lot of cash. But GE has almost $50 billion more than Apple, so where are all the GE stories?

There’s a mystery about Apple’s cash and that mystery has to do with Steve’s strategy for holding all that money.  What’s it for? The predominant theory seems to be that Apple intends to make a huge acquisition and […]

By |August 1st, 2011|2011|158 Comments

Big Bang Theory

The world is in turmoil with the Middle East experiencing something like a social revolution, so what’s the last remaining superpower to do? I’m serious. Colonel Qaddafi is bringing heavy armor and air power to bear against the rebels opposing him in Eastern Libya and inflicting some serious casualties. The rebels are calling for U. S. air strikes or maybe a U. S.-enforced no-fly zone. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates, sitting already on two regional wars he can’t win, doesn’t want to get involved in yet another. Anything discussed so far that Obama might do will only make new enemies or long-term problems for America, but then so will doing nothing. So while the big […]

By |March 7th, 2011|2011|96 Comments

Spies Like Us

Last week the Obama Administration announced that it would be shortly submitting legislation intended to force providers of all kinds of digital communication services (mail, voice, chat, Twitter, etc.) to install back doors in their services to allow government monitoring of all encrypted digital communication.  No explicit details were given of how this is going to work, nor has the actual legislation yet been introduced.  Hopefully it never will, because it simply won’t work.

It’s not that such technical back doors can’t be written (they can), nor is it even so onerous to force communication providers to change all their software since these services are rewritten often anyway.  The problem is that such back doors will […]

By |October 7th, 2010|2010|179 Comments