Pentagon Also Looking To Set Up A Branch Office In The Silicon Valley

from the the-NEW-East-Coast/West-Coast-rivalry dept

It's officially a trend. US government agencies are making cross-country treks to Silicon Valley in hopes of talking tech companies into joining forces as they work towards thwarting the upcoming Cybergeddon.

President Obama’s newly installed defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter, toured Silicon Valley last week to announce a new military strategy for computer conflict, starting the latest Pentagon effort to invest in promising start-ups and to meet with engineers whose talent he declared the Pentagon desperately needed in fending off the nation’s adversaries.
I'm sure the government could use the help but sending pitchmen tied to domestic surveillance/crotch-grabbing airport "security" (as in the case of DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson) or extrajudicial killings/endless wars (as in the case of Carter and the DoD) isn't going to win many new converts. It's going to have even less success winning over those who've already decided there's no way they're partnering up with the US government, not after two years of leaked documents showing the NSA has backdoored hardware, software, mobile devices... basically anything these companies touch.

Carter wants to rebuild trust. He could start by declassifying a pile of documents on Dept. of Defense activities before some leaker does it for him, but he's really not here to offer increased transparency. All he's offering is the same talking point agencies have routinely deferred to when commenting on exposed surveillance programs.
“I think that people and companies need to be convinced that everything we do in the cyber domain is lawful and appropriate and necessary,” Mr. Carter told students and faculty at Stanford.
That sentence is full of truth, but fundamentally dishonest. Yes, people and companies need to be "convinced" that these government agencies are acting lawfully and only doing what's '"appropriate or necessary." But a really good place to start would be actually ensuring that government agencies act lawfully and only do what is appropriate and necessary. Simply claiming you are when the facts show otherwise doesn't do anything for anybody.

There's a CyberWar coming and the government is heavily scouting the West Coast for foot soldiers. If the government finds itself continually rebuffed by tech companies, will it decide to institute a cyberdraft? Legislators are pushing through bills to make "information sharing" -- something that would normally describe voluntary efforts -- mandatory. What Carter says sounds like he's prepared to initiate a cyber-Vietnam Conflict in hopes of heading off the next cyber-Pearl Harbor.
He urged the next generation of software pioneers and entrepreneurs to take a break from developing killer apps and consider a tour of service fending off Chinese, Russian and North Korean hackers…
Or, as Dealbreaker's Thornton McEnery refers to this pitch: "Lean in… or Die."

It's not just touching base with tech companies. The Pentagon wants an actual base in the Silicon Valley.
The Pentagon plans to open its first office in Silicon Valley and provide venture capital in an effort to tap commercial technology that can be used to develop more advanced weapons and intelligence systems.
The desire for bright, young minds is understandable. What isn't is the government's apparent belief that a few chats and moving into the neighborhood will somehow make years of uncovered abuses simply vanish. The outreach would be admirable if it wasn't mired in the usual talking points. The government should expect nothing from the tech world -- for years.

The DoD and DHS opening branch offices in the Silicon Valley just as cybersecurity bills edge closer to becoming law is no coincidence. Much like many military-industrial contractors build offices and plants in the Beltway area to ensure maximum access to legislators, the government must also have a West Coast presence if it wants to efficiently "lobby" for information sharing and surveillance-ready products and services. And let's not forget the government's desire to "share" information is still mostly about obtaining usable exploits and beefing up existing surveillance programs, rather than ensuring the security of its constituents. Any statements to the contrary aren't to be trusted.


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  • identicon
    AricTheRed, 29 Apr 2015 @ 9:48pm

    REALLY???

    You think this is gonna werk?

    How about...

    NOT IN MY BACKYARD!

    Or how about in the immortal words of Oceanside Photo and Telescope customer J. Grant Britton, to the new owners/managers of Transworld Magazines, AOL Time Warner "You are so lame!".

    They claimed ownership of every photographic work he had created (Private, Personal, Independent-Professional (incliding his fine-art creations useing the 20x24 Polaroid with his private students) while in the employ with Transworld Magazines...

    And that was his retort.

    The way the venom dripped off his "You are so Lame!" when he told Wifey and I about his interaction with "Management" about their claims, made me hope none ever said I was that lame.

    Meh Johnson, et. al., try again...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2015 @ 9:59pm

    Spending money

    Tim, seriously, don't you know that you have to spend money to make money? No PR effort and the kickbacks, er budget allocations, just won't come in. Gotta get some peoples scared cause we gotta fight the terrorists who are not us don't ya know...oh...wait!

    (More seriously, it is the US government hackers that scare me more than foreign hackers. I gave up clicking on links in emails like 20 years ago. Now, Nigerian princes seem really enticing. How come I haven't been invited to give them my bank account numbers recently?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2015 @ 1:07am

      Re: Spending money

      Its cos they've finally been able to give all their millions away! I'd be upset but fortunately there's horny single women in my area...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2015 @ 10:26pm

    So, the government realizes it's pissed on and pissed off the very people it needs. So now it wants to send in the kiss and make it better guys but isn't going to change how it does things. Yeah, this is really going to work well. Just as well go ahead and institute the draft cause the NSA has already been here and it's not doing too well.

    The government I guess has yet to understand they didn't just hand Silicon Valley the shitty end of the stick, they fairly well demanded that Silicon Valley suck on it. Now they are all at the point that enough is enough. It'll take a lot of money to convince them their principals aren't important.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    You are being watched (profile), 29 Apr 2015 @ 11:07pm

    The "we aren't really threatening you but we hope our point is made clear" threat

    Silicon Valley said no to what ever the USG wanted, so the USG is saddling up next to them and making them feel threatened with out doing a damn thing. Typical.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2015 @ 11:12pm

    They already got Apple to sign-up for the cyber-sharing stuff, and Apple owns 50% of the smartphone market in US. I imagine they feel confident they'll eventually make the rest of Silicon Valley fall in line, too.

    All Tim Cook did at the cybersecurity summit was to talk about privacy to mask the fact that REAL announcement that day was about giving in to the government. But everyone was too focused on his privacy speech to figure out Apple made a Devil's deal with the government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2015 @ 1:10am

    Probably about time to move silicon valley...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2015 @ 1:31am

    If your product contains known flaws, patch them. If a gov agency is snooping around it, fix the exploits. What makes anyone think a foreign government is going to be better when your product hits the market?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 30 Apr 2015 @ 3:34am

    Maybe they are hoping to use intimidation to get what they want. It usually works in the past

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Guardian, 30 Apr 2015 @ 3:47am

    DONT BUY AMERICAN

    Gee don't this sound ominous....i and others really cant wait for Canada and the EU free trade deal to kick off so a lot a stuff i used to get from the USA by having no choice i will go EU even if its a lil more cost.

    ITS TIME TO STUFF IT TO THE USA and there spying unfriendly govt

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2015 @ 3:50am

    That reminded me of Microsoft...

    A long time ago, Microsoft missed the Internet train. For some reason, this article reminded me of that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    me, 30 Apr 2015 @ 4:31am

    Just say no.

    The government is just one more group out there that you should NOT trust.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    scotts13 (profile), 30 Apr 2015 @ 5:16am

    They'll get plenty of recruits

    All they have to do is buy them. They may not get the very best of the best, but how many people will turn down two or three times the going salary? it's not like the government has limited financial resources. Same for companies - pay them enough, and they're on board. The local office just makes it more tempting. "They're right across the street..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 30 Apr 2015 @ 5:43am

    Seen Any "Cyber" Dutch Boys?

    "as they work towards thwarting the upcoming Cybergeddon."
    ...which they have created by undermining security at every turn, driven by crippling fear of the unknown. Now maybe they're beginning to realize our national "cyber" defense is a leaking patchwork of hole-filled damns, because they thought holes would make it easier to see the water level.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2015 @ 7:56am

    "He urged the next generation of software pioneers and entrepreneurs to take a break from developing killer apps and consider a tour of service fending off Chinese, Russian and North Korean hackers…"

    Or they could just join the CIA and write software for their drones if they want to continue "developing killer apps."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      charliebrown (profile), 30 Apr 2015 @ 7:47pm

      Re: North Korean Hackers?

      But I thought North Korea was cut off from the internet. So how can they go hacking? (I'm not convinced they were responsible for the Sony hack either!)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2015 @ 8:10am

    Not going to go well.

    Do they not realize that it where they are talking about? This is an area that for DECADES has been a major hub for all things anti-war. The Pentagon opening an office in Silicon Valley would be like Israel deciding to open an embassy in Tehran. Yeah, good luck with that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 30 Apr 2015 @ 8:52am

    cyber cyber cyber

    be cyber-aware of the cyber-man that cyber-pounds the cyber-drums of cyber-war.
    - the cyber-book of Cyber 3:25

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Apr 2015 @ 9:30am

    Lawful and appropriate and necessary

    I think that people and companies need to be convinced that everything we do in the cyber domain is lawful and appropriate and necessary

    To bring up a point that Jon Stewart made when everyone was talking about how perfectly legal everything the NSA did was:

    Maybe it shouldn't be.

    Maybe that sort of thing shouldn't be lawful or appropriate.

    And maybe, if you think it's necessary, you're doing freedom wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2015 @ 11:00am

    Do you people not realize that the Blue Cube was only shut down about 5 years ago (operations moved to Vandenberg) and that Lockheed Martin still has a large presence in the area?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 30 Apr 2015 @ 1:12pm

    Trolling For Collaborators

    Pentagon Also Looking To Set Up A Branch Office In The Silicon Valley

    The US government is trolling for hi-tech collaborators, who are keen on helping expand the surveillance state at the expense of every citizens rights.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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