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by CSO Contributor

Limited Progress Seen in Sharing Threat Information; Hack the Vote; States Ban on Assault Weapons Survives

Dec 02, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Limited Progress Seen in Sharing Threat Information

According to a story in The Washington Post today, The federal government has made limited progress in improving how it gathers, shares and responds to information that could prevent terrorist attacks, says a new report by technology and intelligence experts at the Markle Foundations Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. The task force says there is confusion about the respective roles of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center and Homeland Security Department. And neither entity has put in place “the necessary staff or framework for analyzing information and sharing it broadly,” the report says. According to the Post the task force recommends a loosely structured decentralized system where information would flow freely. There also would be redundancy, to increase the chances that important information is acted upon, along with encryption, auditing and access controls to guarantee security. Hack the VoteNew York Times columnist Paul Krugman today comments on some of the dubious aspects of electronic voting. Specifically he looks at Diebold, the leading provider of electronic voting machines. The details are technical, he says, but they add up to a picture of a company that was, at the very least, extremely sloppy about security, and may have been trying to cover up product defects. Krugman adds, The point is that you don’t have to believe in a central conspiracy to worry that partisans will take advantage of an insecure, unverifiable voting system to manipulate election results. Why expose them to temptation? (A story in The Register today says Diebold has dropped its attempts to stifle discussion of flaws in its computer systems, after trying to sue ISPs that hosted websites where leaked internal e-mails have been posted.)

In an opinion piece,

States Ban on Assault Weapons SurvivesThe San Francisco Chronicle today. The Supreme Court last addressed the constitutional issue in 1939, when it upheld a law banning interstate shipment of sawed-off shotguns. California’s 1989 assault-weapons law, prompted by a deadly shooting in a Stockton schoolyard, initially prohibited 75 high-powered weapons with rapid- fire capabilities. It was expanded in 1999 to ban copycat weapons with similar features. The expanded 1999 law was upheld last December by the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which said the Constitution places no limits on states’ authority to regulate individual gun ownership. The U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, let stand that ruling.

California’s strict ban on assault weapons survived a challenge Monday in the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case and avoided getting involved in a debate over the meaning of the constitutional right to bear arms, according to a story in