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Crime Expert Backs Call For "License To Compute"

ScuttleMonkey posted about 5 years ago | from the natural-selection-working-just-fine dept.

Security 327

The Cable Guy writes to mention that Russel Smith, one of Australia's principal criminologists, is pushing for first-time computer users to be required to earn a license to browse the web. "The Australian Computer Society launched computer driver's licenses in 1999. It aimed to give users a basic level of competency before they started using PCs. But the growth in cybercrime has led to IT security experts such as Eugene Kaspersky to call for more formalized recognition of a user's identity so they can travel the net safely. Last week Dr. Smith sat in front of a Federal Government Inquiry into cybercrime and advised Australia's senior politicians on initiatives in train to fight cybercrime. He said that education was secondary to better technology solutions."

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WTF? (5, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 5 years ago | (#29236959)

more formalized recognition of a user's identity so they can travel the net safely

How does letting THEM, know who I am, make ME safer?

Re:WTF? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29236969)

It doesn't, it makes them (the government) safer from you.

Re:WTF? (2, Funny)

gravos (912628) | about 5 years ago | (#29237049)

Agreed. Look at these particularly stupid statements:

(1) "devise technology that makes it difficult or impossible for people to be defrauded"

So some sort of mind control/constraint device for people then? Ha, ha.

(2) "At the moment we have drivers licences for cars, and cars are very dangerous machines. Computers are also quite dangerous"

Haven't seen anyone run over by a computer recently. I wonder what is the death toll caused by poor "driving" of a computer these days?

Re:WTF? (5, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | about 5 years ago | (#29237159)

Agreed. Look at these particularly stupid statements: (1) "devise technology that makes it difficult or impossible for people to be defrauded" So some sort of mind control/constraint device for people then? Ha, ha. (2) "At the moment we have drivers licences for cars, and cars are very dangerous machines. Computers are also quite dangerous" Haven't seen anyone run over by a computer recently. I wonder what is the death toll caused by poor "driving" of a computer these days?

blatant plagiarizing is breathtakingly stupid
...from the comments in the origional story

A duo of breathtakingly stupid statements: (1) "devise technology that makes it difficult or impossible for people to be defrauded" Oh right. So some sort of mind control/constraint device for people then? (2) "At the moment we have drivers licences for cars, and cars are very dangerous machines. Computers are also quite dangerous" Haven't seen anyone run over by a computer recently. What exactly is the death toll caused by poor "driving" of a computer these days?

nice try though

Re:WTF? (2, Interesting)

sams67 (880846) | about 5 years ago | (#29237437)

Heh. Actually I wrote those .. thanks for the attribution swanzilla.

Re:WTF? (1)

mckinnsb (984522) | about 5 years ago | (#29237611)

Smooth catch.

Re:WTF? (2, Informative)

supernova_hq (1014429) | about 5 years ago | (#29237427)

I wonder what is the death toll caused by poor "driving" of a computer these days?

At least one [thetechherald.com]

Re:WTF? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237499)

Computers ARE dangerous! As our great God-King er, I mean President seems to believe - so our Senators are feverishly (and secretly) working to grant him emergency powers to shut them down. Phew! Good thing we didn't elect that idiot Palin or she'd be trying to find some way to control our computer usage or just take them away.
The ideas we saw today coming from our Senate and White House are making me feel much better!

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237577)

wat?

Re:WTF? (5, Funny)

Zen Hash (1619759) | about 5 years ago | (#29236993)

How does letting THEM, know who I am, make ME safer?

The same way painting your car red makes it go faster.

Re:WTF? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237335)

The same way painting your car red makes it go faster.

No, this needs a Godwin analogy, not a car analogy.

"The same way sticking a yellow star or a pink triangle on your jackets makes you safer."

After all, you're only safe in public if you can tell, at a glance, what kind of people you're dealing with.

Re:WTF? (1)

ImYourVirus (1443523) | about 5 years ago | (#29237549)

Right because we want to know who the terrorists are, and making them have a license will help us identify them.

This plan sounds like a winner to me! /sarcasm

Re:WTF? (1)

ImYourVirus (1443523) | about 5 years ago | (#29237521)

I thought chrome made it go faster.

Re:WTF? (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29237115)

Obviously the idea is that if they make everyone register before they can connect, then cybercriminals can be easily tracked down in real life.

Obviously it's impossible, but the suggestion sort of makes sense coming from someone who has absolutely no idea what he's talking about. It might have been possible if this sort of thing had been mandated 40 years ago.

Re:WTF? (5, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29237287)

Hmmm. This requirement that you need a license/ID to "travel the net" is roughly equivalent to saying I need a license to walk down the sidewalk. "Papiere bitte." "I don't have any papers." "Papiere schnell!" "I told you I don't have any papers. Hey! Let go!" And then you get arrested for walking without ID.

You shouldn't need "permission" to travel freely either IRL or online.

Something like this happened on my Alma Mater. My old professor invited me to come visit for a student presentation day, which I did, and then I had dinner with some of the students, and watched a little MTV in the *public* lounge. Suddenly a security guard came-up and demanded my ID. I said it's in my car. Then she tried to escort me to the security office, and I refused. I told her I'll just leave and did so, even though she tried to stop me (I run faster).

To say I was angry is an understatement. Can you imagine the same thing happening everywhere you go in real life, or on the net???

Oh:

And yes the president of the college got an angry phonecall. I told him that he won't be getting any more donations from me. If my presence as a graduate is not welcome, then neither is my money.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237409)

I'm guessing it was private residence/property (i.e. college owned), they have the right to boot you, sorry but that's the rules. Generally you don't want random people walking into someone's home, especially if you are legally liable for that space and their safety.

Re:WTF? (1)

Alinabi (464689) | about 5 years ago | (#29237513)

You shouldn't need "permission" to travel freely either IRL or online.

Next time someone asks for your passport, tell them that.

Re:WTF? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29237559)

I will because I don't have a passport, and therefore (almost) never leave the country. I'm allowed to travel freely within my own country.

Re:WTF? (0, Flamebait)

ImYourVirus (1443523) | about 5 years ago | (#29237603)

Yeah because strangers in a college late at night should have the right not to be questioned about who they are, yeah or maybe you should have read the fine print before you came on the campus, note as well it is private property. Their land, their rules, I see nothing wrong with the person asking who you were, maybe if you weren't an asshole or lied to them they wouldn't have given you any shit. The right attitude will get you a lot further than the wrong one will.

Re:WTF? (1)

ImYourVirus (1443523) | about 5 years ago | (#29237609)

Yeah hitler tried it but it didn't go over to well, maybe if he had tried it 40 years earlier to, it would have went over better, lol.

Re:WTF? (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 5 years ago | (#29237161)

When all you see at your job all day long is a bunch of nails, you start looking for a big old hammer.

Re:WTF? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 5 years ago | (#29237243)

*if* worldwide, means that they know also whoever is attacking you, or a company, or put your pc in a botnet, etc. The problem is that that will mean virtually no privacy/freedom/anon/etc for good guys, and the bad guys will probably still be hidden doing whatever they want. And the who watches the watchers problem will be a very big one.

Re:WTF? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29237309)

Not for the watchers, it won't...

Re:WTF? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 5 years ago | (#29237495)

It doesn't, but it would give security experts more power -- more money. And it wouldn't solve other security problems, such as social engineering through the phone, or someone knocking on your door to scam you in person, etc.

Re:WTF? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#29237579)

The concept of being licensed to use a computer is entirely bad. Not that I think it's "good", but it's not entirely bad.

If computer education starts with bash, we could make it a "good" thing. Imagine - millions of people who start computing with a basic understanding of files systems and low level operations.

Wait a minute - - - does Microsoft have a lobby in Australia? Hmmm - stupid question, right? These classes will teach people that clicking "start" is the right way to turn a computer off. Totally bad idea.....

Re:WTF? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 5 years ago | (#29237601)

How does letting THEM, know who I am, make ME safer?

Because the bad actors are also "users"; reliably accountable online communication would make phishing and all kinds of other frauds much less viable. (Note that I'm not arguing that the benefits in that regard are necessarily worth the costs to privacy, or that getting really reliable accountability in place is necessarily feasible socially even if it is technically feasible.)

In Soviet Australia: (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29236973)

Computers license YOU !

Yours In Ulyanovsk,
Kilgore Trout

Nonsense (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 5 years ago | (#29236979)

Russel Smith, principal criminologist at the Australian Institute of Criminology said the concept of a "computer drivers licence" should be taken seriously as an option for combating internet-related crime.

I assume you then creating a version of the DMV (perhaps the Department of Internet Access) and they would give you your computer driver's test, and internet drivers licensee, and you'd have to renew it every so many years, bla bla bla. Not to mention the fact that it would be impossible to enforce ... are police gonna enter your home and approach you at your desk as ask to see your license? Oh ... and we all know how horrible the government does at running the DMV, so why wouldn't they be horrible at running this? I think it's a stupid idea ... and not practical.

Re:Nonsense (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | about 5 years ago | (#29237043)

Honestly I'd like to see them create separate tests for Linux, Mac and Windows cause one test does NOT apply to all three.

Re:Nonsense (4, Funny)

SL Baur (19540) | about 5 years ago | (#29237157)

Honestly I'd like to see them create separate tests for Linux, Mac and Windows

That's hardly an inclusive list. I'm not going to bother reading the article, the idea of an internet license has been floated for a long time now, but they probably need to add smart phones too.

If this actually makes sense (I do not think it does), the obvious next step is to require people to purchase internet insurance in case they get into an accident/install malware and spread SPAM or DDOS attacks.

Sigh.

Re:Nonsense (1)

ImYourVirus (1443523) | about 5 years ago | (#29237661)

I lol'd at the insurance bit, that would be so sad, might be time to start up my own internet, maybe the government can give me some of that stimulus so I can make an internet for the more competent among us.

Re:Nonsense (5, Funny)

mcpkaaos (449561) | about 5 years ago | (#29237203)

Honestly I'd like to see them create separate tests for Linux, Mac and Windows cause one test does NOT apply to all three.

Well, the real test with Linux is installing it. The real test with Windows is not having to reinstall it every few months. I've only used a Mac a handful of times, but I'd imagine the real test there is enduring the daily beatings for your lunch money.

Okay, I tend to agree with you.

Re:Nonsense (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 5 years ago | (#29237367)

Okay, that actually made me laugh out loud.

Re:Nonsense (4, Funny)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29237239)

I expect Linux and Mac users probably require a special "UNIX" endorsment on their license to run a real OS, like large truck drivers need.

iPhone and similar mobile devices (with mobile browsers) need a license similar to what one needs to legally operate a motorcycle.

This could cause a resurgence in simpler phone devices, they'd have a niche market for people who don't want to pay the fees for a special license to operate a web browser on a phone.

Also, don't forget, these licenses only last 4 years, they contain a picture, and can only be renewed online once every other time.

So every 8 years, you have to go back to the Department of Electrocomputers and wait in line for 2 or 3 hours to get your renewal, as well as your typing skills (WPM) test.

Re:Nonsense (2, Informative)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29237399)

Honestly I'd like to see them create separate tests for Linux, Mac and Windows cause one test does NOT apply to all three.

Sure it does. "This is the address bar. This part is the hostname. 'http' means you're in danger, 'https' means there's a bit less danger, a green bar with the name of the company you're trying to do business with means there's even less." "Don't open unexpected email attachments, no matter how much free porn they promise." "If the lights on your modem are always on even when you're not using the computer, get the computer looked at by a professional."

Re:Nonsense (1)

shawnap (959909) | about 5 years ago | (#29237505)

Sure it does. "This is the address bar. This part is the hostname. 'http' means you're in danger, 'https' means there's a bit less danger, a green bar with the name of the company you're trying to do business with means there's even less." "Don't open unexpected email attachments, no matter how much free porn they promise." "If the lights on your modem are always on even when you're not using the computer, get the computer looked at by a professional."

This is the idea. Not so much computer "driver's license", as computer "driver's ed."

Re:Nonsense (2, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | about 5 years ago | (#29237089)

You don't need to "enforce" the license via law enforcement, although it could make it interesting in connection with legislation where your computer was found to be a member of a botnet if you didn't have one. All you need to do is require that businesses only employ computer operators who have a license. I'm pretty sure you'd have a hard time getting a job as a delivery driver, say, without a valid driving license. How many career opportunities do you think that you'd have in the world if you need a license to use a computer for business. Pretty much any office work is out, and in theory you couldn't even work at McDonald's because their cash registers are actually PCs. It get's even more essential if ISPs need to see one to create an account, and technically modern mobile phones mean that could apply to cellular carriers too.

What you think of the idea is certainly up for discussion, but if you can get business on board then it very practical indeed.

Re:Nonsense (2, Insightful)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 5 years ago | (#29237147)

>>> but if you can get business on board then it very practical indeed.

i still don't think it's practical ... from nearly every aspect. and in general it just sounds like another government bureaucracy that will be bloated and increase our taxes. to be honest, i'm surprised president obama hasn't already proposed this in america. but maybe he needs to gain control [slashdot.org] of the internet first, and then he will regulate it.

Re:Nonsense (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | about 5 years ago | (#29237099)

are police gonna enter your home and approach you at your desk as ask to see your license?

I see you're beginning to get the idea. Now, to make the process more efficient, all they need to due is install a camera at the appropriate point and monitor it randomly.

Re:Nonsense (3, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | about 5 years ago | (#29237107)

It seems like yet another reason, to create yet another bureaucracy, to collect yet more fees from people for doing the same things that they do every day.

Re:Nonsense (3, Funny)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29237191)

Also, if you live in the US, and want to use a computer to connect to a .AU web site, you're going to have to fly all the way to Australia to take your computing test at the Australian Department of Electro Computers to get a license and therefore permission to access the australian interweb, otherwise you'll get a warning on your first offense, assessed a large escalating fine on your second, third, and fourth offenses, and finally, on your fifth offense, you will be required to mail your computer to the AU enforcement office for impoundment until you settle matters.

This is clearly thinly-disguised proposal to bolster Australia's tourism industry, in light of the economic recession.

Re:Nonsense (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 years ago | (#29237249)

DING DING DING.... you win the prize.

it's a money grab. a desire to create a new department to suck up more taxes to do something that really is not needed.

Actually the DMV could be removed and nothing would change. The roads are already full of unlicensed cars and drivers. Nothing would change.

This guy got an idea on how to make himself a nice high paying govt job by creating a department that is useless and un-needed.

The Auzzies are getting good and what the US government does!

Next up, we start taxing thingy!

Classic example (5, Insightful)

G33kGuy (1152863) | about 5 years ago | (#29237007)

Classic example of trading freedom for "security", I can only hope this is not put through. This could also severely restrict younger peoples (legal) access to the internet, narrowing their horizons drastically.

Re:Classic example (3, Insightful)

txoof (553270) | about 5 years ago | (#29237199)

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. --Benjamin Franklin [wikiquote.org]

It is rather idiotic to relate using a computer to using operating a vehicle. A two ton piece of steel flying down the highway at 120k/h is vastly more of a public safety threat than any shmo using a laptop. Not only does this proposition fail to consider the nightmare of registering private individuals, but it does not take into consideration the corporate nightmare it would cause. Who would need the license, the individual operating the computer, or the owner of the computer? Would this mean that internet cafes (and the small anonymity they provide) be doomed because everyone would be forced to provide some sort of identifier token? What about libraries? This sort of identification requirement would force libraries and their entire mission of providing freely accessible information in jeopardy.

This looks like either a poorly thought out plan to help regulate stupidity or a power grab. As evidenced by warning labels on coffee cups, plastic bags and every other mass-produced item, trying to protect people from their own stupidity is nearly impossible. On the other hand, this would be a huge boon for those that wish to dissolve freedom and anonymity on the internet. Granted the average person leaves flashing neon signs with most of their personal data flashing in 1km high letters when they browse, there are still a large number of people that take online anonymity seriously and use it to their advantage for all sorts of reasons the most important being political dissidents.

A simpler solution would be to set up a Great-Firewall much like China's. Even though the GFW has proven to be less than great [typepad.com] , it provides basically the same mechanism for keeping people out of the reach of "dangerous ideas".

Let's focus on educating people as to their rights and responsible behavior rather than trying to remove their liberties. We should also probably focus some of that energy on making the intertubes more robust and less prone to point failures and exploits; making the network more robust and idiot proof would benefit the entire world and help make dangerous and promiscuous users a danger to them selves rather than the entire world.

Old Joke (3, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | about 5 years ago | (#29237013)

Techies have been joking about this for many decades.

Realistically though, we all know it's about as likely as needing a license to read or talk.

I find it hard to believe anyone is actually wanting such a concept to become law. What's next, a license for sex?

Re:Old Joke (1)

rbanffy (584143) | about 5 years ago | (#29237053)

"What's next, a license for sex?"

I hope Russel Smith never gets one. That would save the world from his offspring, probably making it a better place for the rest of us.

Re:Old Joke (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 5 years ago | (#29237125)

It's not too far-fetched. It was tried by some. Try looking at various countries' eugenics and sterilization endeavors.

Shhh ... (2, Interesting)

SL Baur (19540) | about 5 years ago | (#29237325)

What's next, a license for sex?

Sadly, that actually makes more sense in this day and age of incurable STDs. The license states clearly when your last test was done and which (if any) STDs you have.

That should actually be welcome news to the average slashdotter who rarely ventures from his mother's basement - you're now a highly prized date. And even better news to Americans who would now have grounds to sue if they caught an STD from having sex with someone who showed a clean license.

Like a driver's license (2, Insightful)

Foofoobar (318279) | about 5 years ago | (#29237015)

Honestly if this were like a drivers license test where even senior citizen's were taught basic computer skill's and had to pass a basic exam to purchase a computer, it would probably cut down on the number of zombies in botnets. It would guarantee that even the most technophobic in our society had the basic skills to protect himself and others. You can do alot of damage if your computer is taken over or hacked without your knowledge.

Re:Like a driver's license (1)

rbanffy (584143) | about 5 years ago | (#29237087)

There is a better way: hold people accountable for the actions of their computers. A virus downloaded child porn to your computer? It's your computer and thus your responsibility to keep it secure. Your computer is sending e-mail scams? Too bad you have to go to jail for this, but you should know better before installing that fake anti-virus you saw on a web site.

If people drove cars or flew airplanes with the same care they maintain their computers, we would be all dead.

Re:Like a driver's license (1)

Zencyde (850968) | about 5 years ago | (#29237289)

But let's say you're driving your car by a McDonalds that's been hijacked by cyber-terrorists. You have both Norton (as it came with your car) and AVG Free. Shit, you even run ClamCar from time to time, just to be safe. But these cyber-terrorists are tricky and they upload a worm to your car! It remains dormant and undetected until you pass by a pedestrian. Then BAM! Now you're a murderer. And ALL of this could have been avoided if you just hadn't driven your car through a shady part of town.

But, I digress. You, sir, should not be given a computer license.

Re:Like a driver's license (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | about 5 years ago | (#29237523)

Obviously they would take negligence into account. In your example you had no knowledge of your vehicle being a danger.

Your example completely fails.
Imagine for a second what would happen if you had gotten a tune-up on your car just 2 weeks ago and your brakes suddenly went and you killed someone. Do you honestly think they would charge you with murder???

Re:Like a driver's license (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237647)

And ALL of this could have been avoided if you just hadn't driven your car through a shady part of town.

Zencyde, perhaps you shouldn't get one either? After all part of passing that internet license exam is demonstrating a knowledge of the dangers of driving though the shady parts of town and exactly which parts they are.

Re:Like a driver's license (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#29237639)

However you can't cause any -real- harm with a computer. Yah, you can be a dick, yes you can trash some systems, yes you can make things slow and shut down from servers but that is it.

Re:Like a driver's license (3, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 5 years ago | (#29237091)

None of those things are true, nor are senior citizens the only dipshits out there.

This is moronic legislation put forth by corrupt, ignorant, and incompetent politicians. It would serve no useful purpose, not even helping people avoid fraud. It is stupidity, pure and simple.

Sheesh...

Re:Like a driver's license (1)

Zen Hash (1619759) | about 5 years ago | (#29237105)

You can do alot of damage if your computer is taken over or hacked without your knowledge.

Technically they are just aiding and abetting, not directly doing the damage themselves. Although, there seem many people who simply don't care, "as long as it doesn't affect [their watching porn]." Perhaps if it were treated as a crime, those people may change their attitude.

Re:Like a driver's license (2, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | about 5 years ago | (#29237381)

Perhaps if it were treated as a crime, those people may change their attitude.

Sure, because criminalizing drugs has worked so well at changing people's attitude. And prison hardly costs anything to implement, we should just be building more of them.

Re:Like a driver's license (2, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | about 5 years ago | (#29237181)

I can just imagine his testimony now. "All you politicians are idiots. You shouldn't even be allowed to use computers."

Re:Like a driver's license (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237323)

Eye exams for driver licenses are a joke. Last time I had to be in the dmv, I had to read line 4, for which I needed my glasses, but the senior citizen next to me only had to read line one, which I could easily see without glasses, with one eye, while talking on the phone, and texting, and while drunk...

Double standards suck.

Oh, and be very afraid of senior citizen drivers, they didn't pass the same eye test you did.

Education Secondary? (1)

SeNtM (965176) | about 5 years ago | (#29237019)

Shouldn't "better technology solutions" be secondary to education???

Re:Education Secondary? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 5 years ago | (#29237613)

Shouldn't "better technology solutions" be secondary to education???

That depends on whether you want a narrow elite in control of the populace or an empowered populace that is resistant to being dominated by a narrow elite.

If you want the latter, sure, better technology solutions should be secondary to education. Not everyone's preference is in that direction though.

Basic safety steps - Saving AU $500k in dev cost (5, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 5 years ago | (#29237039)

Dear Australia:

1. Get a hardware firewall and configure it properly.

2. Don't open unexpected attachments, even if you're trying to help because those strata minutes must have been sent to you by mistake and you should read them to find out who to send them to.

3. Don't click the banners.

4. No, it's not true. Don't forward the email.

5. If a computer asks you for information, lie.

6. It's not your bank. It's NEVER your bank. It's also never paypal, amazon, your ISP, or the police.

Love,
1999.

Re:Basic safety steps - Saving AU $500k in dev cos (4, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 5 years ago | (#29237121)

They should put that on billboards and every other kind of public service announcement all over the world. Not that it would work particularly well, but over time it might. Like the gradual reduction of smoking in the US.

Re:Basic safety steps - Saving AU $500k in dev cos (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 years ago | (#29237349)

We had one in detroit that was put up Illegally. It said, "If it wasn't for HR stopping us, I.T. would have killed most of you by now."

It was up in spraypaint off of 696 in Oct of 2006 for nearly 2 weeks. I loved it.

Re:Basic safety steps - Saving AU $500k in dev cos (1)

grenthar (1488647) | about 5 years ago | (#29237261)

5. If a computer asks you for information, lie.

It is hard to stress the importance of this one enough. It boggles me that there are people who would hand their real information out for no reason.

Re:Basic safety steps - Saving AU $500k in dev cos (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 5 years ago | (#29237643)

Getting asked for personal information doesn't motivate me to lie, it motivates me to close the browser tab, click the continue button, or if all else fails, kill the process.

Re:Basic safety steps - Saving AU $500k in dev cos (1)

RobVB (1566105) | about 5 years ago | (#29237395)

7. No, you didn't win the Nigerian lottery.

Re:Basic safety steps - Saving AU $500k in dev cos (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 5 years ago | (#29237623)

7b. Nor did you inherit millions of dollars from any Nigerians. Note that you are white and do not have any friends, relatives, acquaintances, colleagues, or coworkers in Nigeria.

LOLWUT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237041)

Security advisor crits idiot internet lusers for OVER 9000!

I can't say this would be such a bad thing, but would a license really help? It would mean phishers/scammers/spammers/hackers would have to begin using more sophisticated methods because the average user is more knowledgeable.

Yes, I am actually advocating having a large amount of idiot internet users because.. well, because those chumps are stupid and take the bait, the internet is nice if you know what you're doing since the hackers don't have to try that hard.

something that should be learned in school (5, Insightful)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 5 years ago | (#29237047)

I can understand where they are coming from, but they are going to implement it wrong. (with the heavy-handed license approach) Rather, I think that computer literacy should be something that should be taught in school along with reading and math, since computer skills essential in this day and age. The class shouldn't be about how to use popular software, (although covering operating systems besides Windows would be a plus) but should cover basic skills instead. People need to learn why they shouldn't click the "greetingcard.exe" attachment in their email inbox or why it is a bad idea to share too much personal information online. People don't always pick on stuff like that by themselves, so it has to be taught.

Re:something that should be learned in school (1)

socz (1057222) | about 5 years ago | (#29237385)

That is something i always make sure to bring up when conversation allows: never put your real name anywhere, unless you have to such as paying for something online or ordering a service. Try not to put your own pictures up, but if you do don't put up pictures of others without their consent ESPECIALLY when you write below them "these are my neighbors Jennifer and Ashley." Don't give out other peoples info. Use nicknames (like on IRC) to protect yourself, that way you don't get emails with subjects reading your name in it.

A lot of people agree and say "yeah that should be common sense but realistically there is no such thing as common sense or else w ewould all have it already!

Re:something that should be learned in school (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237497)

Like that's going to ever happen. They barely ever teach it in Computer Science classes. Why would it be taught in any regular computer class. I still remember sneaking into the computer teacher's classroom, when he was gone sick, and looking in his big book of passwords he wrote down for all the teachers who forgot their passwords. Computer security in school is a load of crap.

Driver's licenses make us all safer (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | about 5 years ago | (#29237071)

Oh, wait. Safety devices make us all safer. Damn, I was so close.

Re:Driver's licenses make us all safer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237529)

A 'safety device' on my computer? Ok China....

No worky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237079)

This is either going to exclude a large percentage of the population from using an essential communications medium or it will be completely meaningless. The spread is wider than between a driver's ed student and a Formula 1 driver, and they're all on the same network.

my thoughs (1)

gmermnstinsmermwords (1627107) | about 5 years ago | (#29237083)

exactly- like the learn to fix a car requirement we have in the US. This keeps women and illiterates from driving to make for a safer economy... Now all we have to do is label each car part with a multisyllabel word and add a pink star.

Re:my thoughs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237655)

This keeps women and illiterates from driving

multisyllabel word

Be careful what you wish for.

As a matter of right to public vehicular travel (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237097)

Google "Open as a matter of right to public vehicular travel" and discover a private corporation counterfeiting the pen of a republic. Has anyone considered that private law if the bastian of all licensing and codes, whereby Statutory law is public domain through the Legislature chosen to create the statutes?

Statutes at Large from the 50 united States of America, not the United States created 1776.1864, 1871, and again in 1933 (bankrupt corporation).

the Republics and America states existed hundred of years in ecclesiastical harmony in particular and competent jurisdictions long before UNITED STATES every came along to incorporate using fractional currency of no substance and converting lawful money into commodities through legal tender clauses.

"A right cannot be converted to a privilege."

PublicVehicularTravel.COM and ToCongress.COM expains it all for you.

Funny how I inspired him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237137)

As you can see, I inspired the guy... LOL

http://www.twilightcampaign.net/index.php/topic,68.msg105.html#msg105

Seriously thought when i mentioned such an idea everybody accused me of being a facist.

Once a license, then come the fines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237173)

After driver's licenses were mandated in the US, since then, there have been more and more laws added to the books which bring the revenue rolling into municipalities. Laws that don't make sense, but yet if violated bring in the cash in fines.

We can expect the same thing, once people are forced to be licensed, it means more fines and more regulations onto legitimate people. It will mean more ways to regulate, censor, and jail citizens.

Of course, the malware writers and black hats will not be affected in the slightest.

Please don't tempt them (4, Insightful)

srjh (1316705) | about 5 years ago | (#29237211)

With any other country I'd be prepared to laugh it off, but the current Australian government is stupid, technologically ignorant and authoritarian enough to try this.

They're pushing for enough control of the internet as it is, a license to communicate in the first place is just begging for abuse.

Get break tags for PCs (1, Flamebait)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29237353)

Seriously... just licensing the user won't do any good if their PC is already infected.

We need mandatory periodic inspections of workstation PCs. Every 30 days, the user should have to upload an antivirus report that indicates 8 things to keep their "PC break tag" current, and loss of currency means the PC will be illegal to operate, and law enforcement will be sent to collect the errant workstation:

  1. The system security configuration is proper, and meets a standard. (No open proxies, no open ports)
  2. System was booted from an Antivirus boot CD (so software on the system can't run or interfere with AV detection process, using an approved AV product
  3. AV patterns were fully up to date
  4. A full scan was made
  5. The results indicate no malware.
  6. The system was rebooted, and it was verified an approved AV and anti-malware product running on the system
  7. The full scan was repeated on the live system, with successful completion and no malware found
  8. AV and antimalware patterns were verfied to be up-to-date, and real-time protection was enabled

Re:Get break tags for PCs (1)

swilver (617741) | about 5 years ago | (#29237527)

Actually, no we don't.

Re:Get break tags for PCs (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29237649)

It'd do a lot more good than just "licensing" operators.

People will learn just what they need to know to get the license, then forget it all, or what they have to learn will be inadequate, and they get their PC infected.

The thought that you can just teach people once, and then they'll be great computer users who won't fall for scams is a fantasy.

As someone who's dealt with users firsthand in the past, I know... many people cannot be trained to avoid malware.

But they'll still finagle their way into getting whatever license they need.

Sounds like license to vote? (1)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | about 5 years ago | (#29237403)

Well, you gotta be 18 to vote, but thats it. How about providing a secure system and a software to control viruses ? It will always be a work in progress, the fight against viruses but to ask for license is giving wayy too much power in the hands of authority. How can this be misused ? I can think of a few examples - They could use this license as some form of ID and then track people habits !! - Selectively grant access to a certain group of people only. H1B visa holders do not get internet access in the US. !! and many more abuses

In other news... (4, Funny)

martas (1439879) | about 5 years ago | (#29237441)

Experts have called for the introduction of a mandatory license for ownership of Dihydrogen Monoxide [dhmo.org] , citing its common usage in the illegal manufacturing of most controlled substances.

What is the purpose of this, again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237443)

People are licensed to do things when carrying out an activity that poses a threat to the safety and well being of others, yes? The entire point of licensing is to keep some people from doing something. I don't think there is a convincing case to be made that some other person becoming the victim of fraud puts anyone else in danger. This seems like a proposal for the government to arbitrarily limit people's actions, a gross trespass of liberty.

Although, this would also identify every internet user, so perhaps the intentions of the people who back this idea are far more sinister still.

This is all wrong. (1)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | about 5 years ago | (#29237449)

If you're going to protect people from other people on the net, it's easy: Make the first level responsible. If your machine is used to attack me, you're responsible - even if your machine was broken into in turn. Then require people to have insurance to handle the risk.

The insurance companies will spend the effort to find the risk profile, and if you do things to decrease your risk - like taking this kind of certificate - you'll get lower insurance. Basic economics then sort out how to get appropriate safety on the net.

There's a risk that you'll have problems with non-standard configurations etc, but I suspect that with competition in the marketplace that will only end up a little more expensive - or maybe even a little cheaper, if you deny insuring Windows people.

Eivind.

Dangerous Interwebs! (1)

Medgur (172679) | about 5 years ago | (#29237455)

Is this so different from licensing people to read books?

There's plenty of dangerous information in your local library that can be used for nefarious means...

Summary contradicts itself somewhat? (1)

Lemming Mark (849014) | about 5 years ago | (#29237463)

"Russel Smith, one of Australia's principal criminologists, is pushing for first-time computer users to be required to earn a license"

"He said that education was secondary to better technology solutions."

I know, I know, I must be new here... Sounds like Russel Smith is saying maybe it's worth considering in the future, once better technology is in place. Which in my book is different to "pushing" for it. To be fair the original article was a bit sensationalist about this but on this occasion the user's submission to Slashdot appears not to have been - it's the editor commentary that misleads slightly and makes it all sound very melodramatic.

It makes for a "better" story but not better journalism.

Wow, I really must be new here.

License to shit (1, Offtopic)

uassholes (1179143) | about 5 years ago | (#29237479)

"Russel Smith, principal idiot at the Australian Institute of Morons said the concept of a "computer drivers licence" should be taken seriously as an option for combating internet-related crime." (Well OK, maybe it's not an exact quote).
You know, a lot of inappropriate material goes down toilets into the sewage system, and which then subsequently has to be expunged from the system, at the expense of the taxpayers, or the environment.
Isn't a license to flush toilets needed to curb these abuses?

Is this for real... WTF (1)

ammorais (1585589) | about 5 years ago | (#29237487)

Holy shit. Is this for real. I'm starting to understand how the world is so fucked up when people like this are taken seriously.

first-time users of computers should have to earn a licence to surf the web.

Because first time users are major responsible for ciber-crime.

... There's been some discussion in Europe about the use of what's called a computer drivers licence - where you have a standard set of skills people should learn before they start using computers," Dr Smith told iTnews.

Becouse it's users that do not knowing how to browse the web responsible for computer crime.

"At the moment we have drivers licences for cars, and cars are very dangerous machines. Computers are also quite dangerous in the way that they can make people vulnerable to fraud.

This guy actually made this analogy. WTF???

"I think at the starting point of it you need manufacturers of both hardware and software to devise technology that makes it difficult or impossible for people to be defrauded," Dr Smith said.

Re:Is this for real... WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237541)

you are the reason we need to have a license to post on slashdot.

Re:Is this for real... WTF (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29237593)

kill yourself

Banks being kind ... ? (1)

Lemming Mark (849014) | about 5 years ago | (#29237507)

'Dr Smith also said that Australia's banks were "being kind" when they bore the costs of cyber crime.'

Reminds me of this (Mitchell and Webb comedy sketch on identity theft): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS9ptA3Ya9E [youtube.com]

Key quote from that sketch: 'I'm not clear why you think it's my identity that was stolen, rather than *your* money'

mission impossible (1)

sams67 (880846) | about 5 years ago | (#29237543)

"I think at the starting point of it you need manufacturers of both hardware and software to devise technology that makes it difficult or impossible for people to be defrauded,"

Because obviously we have already done that for telephones.

my license prevents what? (1)

bruciferofbrm (717584) | about 5 years ago | (#29237583)

You know, my drivers license doesn't protect me from the so called 'auto' criminals. It doesn't certify that I will not purchase products that are unsafe or illegal. Nor does it guarantee I will not be taken advantage of by so called 'auto' security experts, 'auto' technicians, or other unscrupulous parties.

Will an operators license for my computer insure I won't crash into someone? Or that I at least know how to not crash into someone on the information super highway?

Licenses do not always equate to competency (2, Insightful)

RCourtney (973307) | about 5 years ago | (#29237607)

If the incompetence of some of the drivers I see on the roads is any indication, I doubt an internet license will ultimately be very effective either in many cases.

Why The Australian Computing Society is a Joke (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about 5 years ago | (#29237633)

The ACS (Australian Computing Society) is considered a joke by the majority of computer professionals. A few of years ago (it may have changed) it was run by a lawyer and a recruiter. They approached Helen Coonan - the minister responsible - with the idea that every computer professional should be registered with the ACS *BY LAW* just like Doctors. Coonan being a politician didn't know any better and endorsed the idea.

"The Australian" - a national broadsheet newspaper - ran the story and there was an outcry from computer professionals who wanted nothing to do with the ACS. They had enough letters they took a whole page and made the story bigger, and more the next week. But being a Rupert Murdoch publication, on the third week they paid for a half-page ad and in the newspaper, a sympathetic editorial appeared and the criticism stopped.

The ACS does nothing. It's nothing like the ACM or IEEE which gives something of value for their members. The ACS does nothing other than sell you an annual membership. The only people who join are n00bs who think it makes them pros. One such n00b who couldn't find a job called the ACS for help. They were amazed that someone would even bother to call them. They eventually added professional indemnity insurance (which some real unions/professional associations do) but the $10K a year coverage they offered is so low it doesn't meet contractors requirements.

And here the ACS is again. They can't sell to the people, so they sell to gullible politicians. But unless they can convince Rudd to pay for it with stimulus money, their plan is doomed because there is no way people will pay for it out of their own pocket. (Yeah, same thing, but you know what I mean.)

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