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Cybersecurity Czar Job Is Useless, Says Spafford

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the federal-whipping-czar dept.

Security 104

Trailrunner7 writes "It's been about seven months since Obama announced his plan to hire a cybersecurity coordinator, and the job is still vacant. Several prominent security experts have turned the position down, and in an interview on Threatpost, Purdue professor Gene Spafford says that the position is pointless. 'It won't have any statutory authority. It won't have any budgetary authority. That does not give it much authority of any kind. So when I hear that there are supposedly people who have been interviewed for this cyber coordinator job and didn't take it, I'm not surprised. It's not a winning position. I'm not at all surprised by the fact that it's empty. That position is a blame-taking position,' Spafford said."

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I vote (4, Funny)

nametaken (610866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435256)

...for me? It has Czar in the title, it has to pay more than what I make.

Re:I vote (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435316)

It's probably a non-paying, volunteer position. However, I doubt you'd go a week before coming home to find a ferrari in your driveway with the license plate "MCAFEE 1" and a note that says "From an old friend." in the driver's seat, under the key.

Re:I vote (3, Funny)

nametaken (610866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435442)

I find this compensation acceptable, particularly since I'm already in a near-volunteer position that only exists to place blame.

Re:I vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436626)

Exactly, how is this any different from any other IT support role? At least with this job, you get perceived power (ie. fame), more money.

Re:I vote (2, Funny)

definate (876684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30440826)

You work on a helpdesk?

Re:I vote (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435458)

Niggers destroy societies by convincing the youth that being a violent street thug is "cool" and desirable. They also place disproportionately high burdens on social services, particularly police, courts, and welfare. Any black person who does not fit this description is just a black person and not a nigger. The rest are a bunch of fuckin' jigaboos and I'm tired of political correctness telling me that there is something wrong with using an ugly word to describe an undesirable and destructive element.

Re:I vote (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435674)

By that logic you must agree that Eminem a white nigger.

Re:I vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436322)

Agree.

Re:I vote (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435522)

It's probably a non-paying, volunteer position. However, I doubt you'd go a week before coming home to find a ferrari in your driveway with the license plate "MCAFEE 1" and a note that says "From an old friend." in the driver's seat, under the key.

And there you have the actual use for the position: appointments for help during the campaign to positions that themselves have their own kickbacks.

Oh, also for Obama et al to hold up and say they strengthened security.

Note that I voted for Obama, this is not bias. All politicians do bullshit moves like this, and I didn't vote for him because of anything related to cybersecurity (it was to get an appointment to department of interior.)

Re:I vote (4, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435376)

I wonder if the draconian disclosure requirements imposed on people seeking to work for the administration have contributed to the difficulty in filling it? I looked at some of what they wanted to know on their job application during the transition. Among other things they want to know every single handle that you've ever used online, every single website that you've posted on, whether or not you own firearms, whether or not you've ever been involved in an automobile accident, what political advocacy organizations you belong to, etc, etc, etc.

Now I understand the desire to protect the President from embarrassment (wouldn't want to wind up with a treasury secretary that can't properly compute his own taxes....) but it seems to me that they've gone a bit overboard. I would never apply for a job that wanted to know that much about me. It's simply none of their business. I'm sure many others feel the same way. Why put up with that bullshit, particularly when you can make more money in the private sector and not have to worry (as much) about politics or being someone's scapegoat?

Re:I vote (2, Insightful)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435494)

When you have a high profile job in the public sector, you can expect that people are going to find out a lot about you. The media will want to know, and if you have any skeletons in your closet, they could well be revealed, one day.

Bravo on you for wanting to keep your personal details private, but don't seek out any high profile positions as a result.

Re:I vote (4, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435570)

Yes, the media is just dying to know about the Slashdot posting history of the future Cybersecurity Czar. That also doesn't explain some of the other questions they ask -- like the gun ownership one.

Anyway, you missed my point, which was simply that these types of disclosure requirements can't help but have a chilling effect on recruitment. You've already got one strike against you in that you probably can't compete with the private sector in regards to salary. Add another strike for the crazy hours and possibility of having to fall on your sword to protect your political bosses. I'm sure having to tell your potential future employers about your jilted ex-lovers and /. username qualifies as a strike three.

Re:I vote (3, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435766)

And they're also recruiting from the same talent pool as Google, Microsoft, and the Fortune 100.

Those companies will also sniff around your background, but won't have a hissy fit if you've smoked a joint, own a gun or got a DUI in a rented Escalade with your mistress.

After reading some of the disclosure materials required for government employment I'm pretty sure I will never even bother applying. Way too intrusive and not telling them exactly what they want is some kind of nasty Federal felony.

Re:I vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30439440)

Those companies will also sniff around your background, but won't have a hissy fit if you've smoked a joint

That depends on the timing - so don't schedule yourself any interviews for 4:30.

Re:I vote (1)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438082)

Re: gun ownership. Most states require that firearms be registered, so it's not like they're asking about the ins and outs of your sex life with your spouse. Moreover, I doubt that gun ownership would be a major roadblock for any appointee. But it would be prudent of them to look over a person's ownership history and make sure they complied with the relevant laws at all times. After all, if they don't do opposition research, FOX News will.

Re:I vote (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438288)

Re: gun ownership. Most states require that firearms be registered

No they don't. You must be living in New Jersey or Illinois if you think that's the norm. In the vast majority of this country you can buy a firearm simply by completing the required background check at point of sale. No registration, no permit to own, no classes to attend, no waiting period, nothing. You just buy it and walk out with it.

Re:I vote (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30440838)

True, and in most states, the background check isn't a requirement for legitimate private sales either. However, I do know of a person with a Federal firearms license who attempted to get around the background checks with one customer and it blew up in his face.

Re:I vote (1)

MoeDumb (1108389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30441138)

"After all, if they don't do opposition research, FOX News will." As well they--and all media--should

Re:I vote (2, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436078)

When you have a high profile job in the public sector, you can expect that people are going to find out a lot about you. The media will want to know, and if you have any skeletons in your closet, they could well be revealed, one day.

However, if you did want that high profile position, holding a very public auction of the (above-mentioned) McAfee 1 Ferrari and donating the proceeds to Kids with Cancer would pretty much guarantee you one. It would be the right thing to do, a nice thing to do, with the added bonus of cementing your image of incorruptability in the public eye. A smokescreen, yes, but one that'll get you high. At least until the McAfee "security enforcers" find you near a dark alley.

On second thought, it does sound rather risky.

Re:I vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30442642)

At least until the McAfee "security enforcers" find you near a dark alley.

If their "security enforcers" are anything like their enterprise security products I imagine I could just run between two of them, steal their wallets, and get away before they even process what is going on.

Re:I vote (2, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436172)

If you want any authority over me, then damn right it's my business. We have every right to know if you are abiding by the same rules you expect us to. Don't take it personally. I expect all people in a position of authority to give up their private lives, at least to the extent that we have to. Besides, government service is supposed to be exactly that, not a lifetime career position.

"Pay your taxes" is NOT draconian (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436802)

Geez, look who's been confirmed.

An Attorney General who thinks it's OK to pick a fundamental Constitutional right and strip it from individuals [gurapossessky.com] .

A tax cheat in charge of the IRS [wsj.com] .

A CIO who was strangely the ONLY one in his entire department that wasn't corrupt [businessinsider.com] .

What "draconian disclosure requirements" are you referring to? These are the guys who were CONFIRMED in office.

Re:I vote (4, Funny)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436892)

Among other things they want to know every single handle that you've ever used online, every single website that you've posted on...

This is what disqualified me when I applied. I told them I sometimes used "Anonymous Coward" on slashdot.org...

Re:I vote (1)

rantingkitten (938138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30439738)

I would never apply for a job that wanted to know that much about me. It's simply none of their business. I'm sure many others feel the same way.

Then I guess the application wasn't for you or people like you. You realise there are plenty of others who would take such a job, including all the intrustions, for the power or prestige or simply as a damn impressive thing they could put on their resumes?

I do agree it is somewhat ironic that they are asking for a "cybersecurity" position, since people with knowledge in the world of information security tend to be pretty zealous about not revealing too much about themselves online.

Nevertheless, there will always be qualified people who feel their online presence is no big deal, and would love such a job. And I should point out that those all sound like things that would be perfectly normal to investigate for anyone trying to get a job so high up in the executive branch. Hell, even much lower-ranking clearance requires all kinds of invasive background checks.

Why put up with that bullshit, particularly when you can make more money in the private sector and not have to worry (as much) about politics or being someone's scapegoat?

Again: power, prestige, networking, and credentials. You could hum away working your way up the corporate ladder doing infosec, and probably do quite well, but being able to say that you were in charge of IT security for the federal government might be quite appealing to some.

Re:I vote (1)

m1xram (1595991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30441380)

Do you think the President cares about embarrassment? You've pointed out the tax cheat, who actually never completely paid all the money he owes, but what about...

  • communists
  • lobbists
  • pro-terrorists
  • pro-child-porn

He seems to appoint whomever he wants, sometimes in spite of FBI background checks.

Re:I vote (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435586)

Yea I would take it as well. No win? not at all if you play the game.

"The problem is that we have not budgeted enough for the needed programs."
"The problem is that we do not the laws in place to solve the problems"
"The problem is that organized crime, terrorists, and drug lords are using piracy to make/launder money"
"This is a complex problem but with a enough study and the cooperation of industry and the goverment we can solve the problem."
By the time I am out I will have a nice big consulting job for a multinational.

Re:I vote (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437480)

I'd prefer to be one of the snack-food czars. Maybe the potato chips, or pizza czar. As long as it pays well, or I get a lot of free snacks.

Recession (2)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435292)

I'll take it. I've even worked in security, although as a programmer not as an executive or highly respected author and lecturer (e.g., Bruce Schneier) which is what I imagine they want and will never get.

Where do I send my resumé?

Re:Recession (3, Insightful)

dikdik (1696426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435700)

The second they use the term "Czar", to describe a person in administrative capacity over a regulatory body, they betray the authoritarian and anti-democratic ideology with which they conspire against representative government and individual rights and liberties.

Czar is the Slavic rendering of Caesar. Why anybody sees this as an expediency worthy of trade-off for democratic involvement and oversight is a question I leave you, the dear reader to resolve.

Re:Recession (1)

bearsinthesea (1619663) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437208)

Really? The entire point of the submission is that the post does not have any authority. Do you just make this post on any website using the word czar?

Sorry if you were using sarcasm and I couldn't differentiate from a wingnut.

Re:Recession (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437508)

They generally don't actually have any administrative capacity.

Re:Recession (3, Funny)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435946)

I'll take it. I've even worked in security, although as a programmer not as an executive or highly respected author and lecturer (e.g., Bruce Schneier)

That's okay. As far as I know, few highly respected authors and lecturers have been asked. And asked or not, several such people have preemptively refused the, er, honor.

which is what I imagine they want and will never get.

If they wanted, I imagine they would've asked more people who could do it.

Where do I send my resumé?

First print off a copy of everything you've ever said online and send it so they can check it for anything embarrassing. I gather that's what one of their pre-screening requirements was. Which is to say, they want people who have never used the internet for their security czar.

Re:Recession (4, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437196)

First print off a copy of everything you've ever said online and send it so they can check it for anything embarrassing. I gather that's what one of their pre-screening requirements was. Which is to say, they want people who have never used the internet for their security czar.

How much time will pass before everybody is naked, drunk and stoned on their MyBooooook page, so that we can get over all this nonsense about being persecuted for stuff everybody knows happens?

Who watches the Internet (2)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435308)

I'm not sure a tzar helps. The people on the front line are independant businesses selling cyber security and the military. The two do not meet openly so the position is merely cerimonial.

Re:Who watches the Internet (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436930)

I'm not sure a tzar helps. The people on the front line are independant businesses selling cyber security and the military. The two do not meet openly so the position is merely cerimonial.

Of course a T zar wouldn't help. That's a Soviet idea. We're talking about C zars here...

Re:Who watches the Internet (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30439552)

They are exactly the same thing and a Russian Imperial thing and not Soviet (the Tsar is the one they revolted against). It is really just two different spellings of Caesar, altered by a different character set and a couple of thousand years.
It's a pretty silly title anyway for the head of a group of advisors to an elected government. I suppose they couldn't use the standby of "VP of whatever" for a title back when Nixon or whoever started using it in the USA.

This position (5, Funny)

byrdfl3w (1193387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435326)

..won't have any statutory authority. It won't have any budgetary authority. But it WILL have FarmVille.

Re:This position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435900)

Of course it won't. They don't need a czar. They need a rasputin.

Bruce Schneier agrees (4, Informative)

surmak (1238244) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435344)

See his blog post [schneier.com]

Re:Bruce Schneier agrees (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436134)

For the record, I [Bruce Schneier] was never approached. But I would certainly decline; this is a political job, and someone political needs to fill it.

He went on to note that he wouldn't even need to be physically present in order to carry out the duties of the position. In fact, he's already carrying them out every morning while he eats breakfast [schneierfacts.com] and reads the paper, hence the position remaining apparently vacant for all this time.

Well how about that! (2, Funny)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435358)

That position is a blame-taking position,' Spafford said."

Someone who's actually paid to be the goat.

I can do that! Were can I get a job like that.

Re:Well how about that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435416)

anyone else picturing the T-Rex from Jurassic Park?

OM NOM NOM NOM!

Re:Well how about that! (1)

belthize (990217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435554)

That position is a blame-taking position,' Spafford said."

Someone who's actually paid to be the goat.

I can do that! Were can I get a job like that.

Almost any computer/IT/network/[yourtermhere] security position in a Fortune 500 company would fit the bill.

Re:Well how about that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435616)

He isn't paid.

Re:Well how about that! (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435922)

That position is a blame-taking position,' Spafford said."

Someone who's actually paid to be the goat.

I can do that! Were can I get a job like that.

Seems like just about any IT position would qualify...

For That Matter, So Is (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435390)

the Tiger Woods coverage. Tiger Woods should demand a
large incentive from the P.G.A. to appear in his next game.

That will teach the U.S. about "Family Values".

Yours In Minsk,
Kilgore T.

Re:For That Matter, So Is (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435452)

P.S. I am a huge faggot, please rape my face.

Yours In Minsk,
Kilgore T.

Puppet (4, Funny)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435392)

A real security czar would be the man or woman behind the curtain. With a limp, a raspy voice, and insist that they are always watching us watching them watch other people who watch Ebay watching people selling watches trying to find the best watch to buy. Even when the security czar knows that everyone just uses cell phones now instead of watches. Thats why he must watch the watch watchers.

It's a perfect representation! (2, Insightful)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435450)

"It won't have any statutory authority. It won't have any budgetary authority. That does not give it much authority of any kind"

Kinda represents the majority of IT departments in big corporations.

Hey, being a fall guy isn't always so bad (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435466)

Tom Ridge [wikipedia.org] was nothing but the designated fall guy at the Dept. of Homeland Security, but he managed to parlay it into a book deal and a ton of great press. Not bad for a guy who had formerly been an almost completely unknown governor of a minor state. You think anyone would have given a rat's ass about his memoirs if he had turned that job down?

If you can be a fall guy who manages to get out BEFORE the fall, there is real money and fame in it.

Re:Hey, being a fall guy isn't always so bad (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435506)

Pennsylvania is a "minor" state? You realize it's the 6th most populous state, with the 6th most populous city and happened to be one of the key birthplaces of the American revolution, right?

Re:Hey, being a fall guy isn't always so bad (3, Funny)

belthize (990217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435602)

The last 8 years proved that the set of states in the Union are,
Not minor: Texas, East Texas, Dallas-FortWorth and California
Minor: the other states.

Re:Hey, being a fall guy isn't always so bad (1)

wayland (165119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435832)

I think you left out DC and New York, New York, but other than that... :)

Re:Hey, being a fall guy isn't always so bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436152)

Don't forget the most important 3 states in 2000: Florida, Florida, and Florida.

Re:Hey, being a fall guy isn't always so bad (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437834)

Florida would have been a historical footnote if someone hadn't run such a bad campaign that he lost his own friggen state......

Re:Hey, being a fall guy isn't always so bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435962)

While I agree with your claims of historical significance, in political terms I think it translates statistically into: Between 83% (5/6) and 98% (1/50) of US citizens have no electoral reason to know who he is.

Re:Hey, being a fall guy isn't always so bad (4, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436758)

You realize it's the 6th most populous state, with the 6th most populous city...

And it happens to be the 6th largest [actionpa.org] emitter of carbon dioxide. Could Pennsylvania be, hmmm... SATAN!?!

'blame taking position' -- nailed it (4, Interesting)

jdogalt (961241) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435468)

Anyone else (unemployed and looking like me) feel like a disturbing portion of the job market is constituted of 'blame taking positions'?

It's probably paranoia, but I feel like the businessworld is composed of corrupt people who will lie and bullshit, and then the poor saps that get stuck with the 'blame taking positions'.

In my youth, I had naive libertarian beliefs about talented and competent people winning out in the free market against those types. Now that I've witnessed the naked annihilation of even the illusion of capitalism, via the bank bailouts... I just have no real hope that there is any way to make a living without either being one of those bullshitters, or poor blame taking saps. I guess the honorable thing is to just accept a sequence of blame taking jobs, and survive and get fed until we see a better age.

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435524)

I had naive libertarian beliefs about talented and competent people winning out in the free market against those types.

Sure they talent and were competent - at bullshitting.

Oops. I hope I didn't add to your despair. I have found a cure for that - see sig.

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435768)

There is another way -- you have to provide a service (or product) people want at a price that helps other people. The problem with being a bullshitting parasite is if you are one, you are incompetent. A company that gets filled with these types of people in the end will be filled with people who are incompetent. As a result, you will not be able to provide as good a service as other people.

Sure, it is true the banks managed to get their bailout through lucky lobbying, but unless they change what they are doing, they will fail again, and smart people are already working [wsj.com] on ways to make sure they don't get bailed out another time. In the moment, it was easy for them to raise panic and get what they wanted, and smart people were willing to accept it even though it looked kind of shady, because smart people usually wait until they have the evidence before drawing conclusions. Now all the evidence is clear that the bailouts weren't necessary, that there were other ways to deal with the problem, and the next time it comes up it will be harder for the bankers to pull the wool over the eyes of the politicians (frankly it wasn't easy this time: they had to try to pass tarp twice and barely did it the second time, mainly based on fear).

In the end, progress depends on the competent, not the leaches. If the leaches outnumber the competent, the country will fail. Invent something great and you will do fine.

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436934)

Sure, it is true the banks managed to get their bailout through lucky lobbying, but unless they change what they are doing, they will fail again, and smart people are already working on ways to make sure they don't get bailed out another time.

I have some predictions to make here: 1) these banks will fail again, 2) they'll get their bailouts again through "lucky" lobbying, and 3) the smart people will once again be ignored.

Invent something great and you will do fine. (1)

jeko (179919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437742)

Tell that to Philo Farnsworth. You forgot a step.

"Invent something great," have a few million on hand to defend your patent, "and you will do fine."

Re:Invent something great and you will do fine. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437870)

Farnsworth did fine. If you have the good idea, venture capital will find you. Unless you have horrible social skills. Then you'll need to work on that.

2+2=5, for moderately large values of "fine" (2, Informative)

jeko (179919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438508)

OK, now we have more steps:

1. Invent something great.
2. Have millions to defend your patent.
3. Have millions to beat the vulture capitalists away from your baby.
4. Have a mother on the board of IBM and a father as a partner in one of the nation's most powerful law firms.
5. Acquire the social connections to market your product.
6. Profit.

Bonus reading: The cheerful history of Edison and Tesla, and why virtue does not always win, even when Mickey Rooney plays you in the movie.

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435898)

In my youth, I had naive libertarian beliefs about talented and competent people winning out in the free market against those types. Now that I've witnessed the naked annihilation of even the illusion of capitalism, via the bank bailouts... I just have no real hope that there is any way to make a living without either being one of those bullshitters, or poor blame taking saps.

Oh, cheer up. It's nearly Christmas! :-)

I guess the honorable thing is to just accept a sequence of blame taking jobs, and survive and get fed until we see a better age.

Maybe some universities will start offering that as a major.

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436000)

It's plenty well possible to [i]make a living[/i] without being a corrupt businessperson who feasts upon the lives and souls of the working class, it's just extremely difficult to become immensely financially successful.

The trick, then, is to be happy with a comfortable lifestyle. Make enough money to ensure you and your family have a good life, make some smart choices with your savings, and be lucky enough to not work for a company that steals everything from you when it fails.

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436036)

Anyone else (unemployed and looking like me) feel like a disturbing portion of the job market is constituted of 'blame taking positions'?

It's probably paranoia, but I feel like the businessworld is composed of corrupt people who will lie and bullshit, and then the poor saps that get stuck with the 'blame taking positions'.

In my youth, I had naive libertarian beliefs about talented and competent people winning out in the free market against those types. Now that I've witnessed the naked annihilation of even the illusion of capitalism, via the bank bailouts... I just have no real hope that there is any way to make a living without either being one of those bullshitters, or poor blame taking saps. I guess the honorable thing is to just accept a sequence of blame taking jobs, and survive and get fed until we see a better age.

What you want is a manufacturing job of some sort. A job where you can actually point at an object and say I made that.

Service sort of works for this as well... Except that it's very easy to wind up in a service position where your customers are blaming you anyway. Manufacturing generally results in an object that either does what it is supposed to, or doesn't - and there isn't typically a whole lot of room for shifting blame.

Now, I'm not necessarily suggesting that you get a factory job - though there's nothing wrong with that. But working in construction, or carpentry, or producing some kind of art, or music, or putting on some kind of show can deliver similar results.

The basic idea, ultimately, is a job where you can actually point at an object that was either produced or not. Or point at a person who was either served or not. Instead of a job where your duties solely involve making decisions - which can ultimately be questioned or blamed by anyone, regardless of how things turned out, because it could possibly have turned out even better.

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30440540)

What you want is a manufacturing job of some sort. A job where you can actually point at an object and say I made that.

In the United States? That deserves a "+infinity, Funnier Than The Killer Joke From Monty Python"

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30443326)

"Or point at a person who was either served or not."

Whores: keeping the American Dream alive.

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436438)

In a world where it's cheat or be cheated, it's hard to choose.

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436522)

the naked annihilation of even the illusion of capitalism, via the bank bailouts

Free markets tend to lead towards capitalism, but it is not the same thing as capitalism. Those banks that received bailouts are still making capital investments and are able to make their living doing nothing but investing. That is the definition of capitalism.

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436790)

Your beliefs were right, they just don't exist in reality.

I still hold forth that a free (libertarian) society provides the best opportunity for all people.
Every other system has some ruling class that gets to sit on its laurels.

That said, we do not live in a free society.
Wall-street is not the free market.
The healthcare system is not free market.
Transit is not the free market.
Government is not the free market. ... ...

So yeah, if you want a job, you either have to go into a free market part of the economy (high tech, engineering, home contracting...). An increasingly rare part of the economy.

Or, play the game that gets you into a non-productive protected job in one of the non-free market fields.

If you want a good life, my suggestion is to give up your ideals, and join the maifa (government public sector, health care, wall street... ).

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436984)

In my youth, I had naive libertarian beliefs about talented and competent people winning out in the free market against those types. Now that I've witnessed the naked annihilation of even the illusion of capitalism, via the bank bailouts... I just have no real hope that there is any way to make a living without either being one of those bullshitters, or poor blame taking saps. I guess the honorable thing is to just accept a sequence of blame taking jobs, and survive and get fed until we see a better age.

Out of curiosity, did those naive libertarian beliefs ever get invalidated? Or are you glum because the problem is a bit harder than you thought?

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30437540)

Yes, I would say they got invalidated. The more I learned, the more I realized that the system is too far gone. Unsurprisingly my youthful libertarianism had a Randian bent. I guess for a while I was in denial about her well founded conclusion. Her 4 books are really a quite interesting perspective in the appeal, and unsatisfying nature of libertarianism. Really, set asside the short story anthem, and let it live with Rush's 2112.

You have

We The Living: Her own history of seeing the worst that anti-capitalism has had to offer the real world.

The Fountainhead: Her portrait of her ideal, with a fanale of the protagonist using bombs to blow up a low income housing project, that had used designs illegally taken from him. An interesting take on 'terrorism'.

Atlas Shrugged: Her final conclusion and condemnation of capitalism as it exists in America. I.e. rampant corruption making american capitalism not worth participating in. In fact her protagonists waged war against those who were willing to participate in a form of capitalism that corrupt. In the end, they win, because the corruption makes the house of cards of the bullshitters fall on their heads.

So I don't know about 'invalidated'. I just spent too many years in the phase where I was in love with the libertarian ideal, but unwilling to admit that it is as much a fantasy as the also attractive communist ideal (everybody is happy, nobody starves).

The reality is that we live in an 'aristocracy of pull'.

The american government, ratfucks any democracy that doesn't vote the way it wants. I.e. take Hugo Chavez. The CIA orchestrates the coup of a democratically elected leader, then badmouths the guy after he unsurprisingly becomes paranoid and insane, and thinks that he needs to run things as long as he lives.

What we need is a foundation of churn. I don't buy into this belief that our leaders are a precious commodity that must be groomed, and then protected from, and held hostage to their indiscretions.

If we are really in such bad shape, that we can't pick each of the top 1000 jobs in government from a pool of 100 plenty well qualified candidates for each job, then I just don't know.

I mean, as a society of 300 million people, why can't we, after an economic mess like this, just fire the top 1000 politicians/bank ceos/etc..? Is it so hard to find qualified people? Or is it just hard to get rid of unqualified people whose real qualification is gaming the system and exploiting it, to the detriment of billions of others?

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30444846)

I mean, as a society of 300 million people, why can't we, after an economic mess like this, just fire the top 1000 politicians/bank ceos/etc..? Is it so hard to find qualified people? Or is it just hard to get rid of unqualified people whose real qualification is gaming the system and exploiting it, to the detriment of billions of others?

Not even that. My view is that we simply need the strength to do nothing, to let people and businesses suffer for their mistakes.

Re:'blame taking position' -- nailed it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438176)

Must be a political slimeball to be considered! Have impeccable resume; No practical IT skills! Willing to resign when required; Take one for the team.

it's a bad career move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435484)

Truth be told, there are a lot of vacant EO jobs. Why? Well, there's a good chance Barack Obama will be a one-termer, so who wants to take a pay cut, move to Washington DC, and deal with all the government red tape for a 3-year job?

"Every American depends -- (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435562)

directly or indirectly -- on our system of information networks. They are increasingly the backbone of our economy and our infrastructure; our national security and our personal well-being."

And despite it all, he is totally unwilling to tell us we have the right to access. Just more bla bla bla..

Pick me! Pick me! (2, Funny)

aflag (941367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435634)

It could be my chance to move out of my mom's basement!

Spoken like a true CEO (4, Interesting)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435640)

The assertion that this is a 'blame taking' job is unfounded, that it doesn't have statutory or budget authority is peripheral to what the role should be, and frankly somewhat insulting that the umbrage taken with it by 'the experts' is that it's a role that has no teeth.

It's a job where the President consults you for your opinion and takes action based on your advice. Boo hoo you don't have any authority or a budget. Any consultant that is hired on to a tech firm is in the same boat.

Also, yeah, I can understand why many security people have turned this job down. Because they're more interested in money than civil service -- how the hell is that a surprise?

Re:Spoken like a true CEO (4, Informative)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436008)

It's a job where the President consults you for your opinion and takes action based on your advice

Wrong. In 2008 Candidate Obama said he would create a postion reporting directly to him. This year, President Obama created a position of "Cybersecurity Coordinator" which is a low level position reporting to OMB (Office of Management and Budget) and NEC (National Economic Council). In other words, the person in this new position will spend their time writing reports which will then go to the bureaucrats in OMB and NEC who will stamp the reports as "too expensive in these tough economic times".

Little or no information will ever reach the president. And even if it does, so what. It will be up to congress to allocate resources. Good luck with that.

Re:Spoken like a true CEO (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437036)

Little or no information will ever reach the president. And even if it does, so what. It will be up to congress to allocate resources. Good luck with that.

And even if it did get so far, with all the big ticket items on the agenda you'd be screwed anyway. How is cyber security going divert money and effort away from healthcare reform, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and the yet-to-be-released war in Iran? Now maybe if we put our war mongering away and rattled e-sabers instead this would be a good job to have. Short end of that is, though, that this absolutely will not happen in the next 2 years. And after that there's the election cycle where it seems the incumbent will be quite busy.

Yeah, not a good career move. Maybe next term, and only if we get the same President.

Re:Spoken like a true CEO (1)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#30442086)

My guess is that he has now realised that he hasn't got the time to have another person reporting to him.

Re:Spoken like a true CEO (2, Interesting)

Stradivarius (7490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436248)

It's a job where the President consults you for your opinion and takes action based on your advice.

I suspect only the first part of that statement is really true, which is why this isn't a good job for those who want to actually solve the problems, not just pontificate on how one could solve the problems. I say this because:

1. Fundamentally cyber is not a Presidential priority at this time. Jobs, health care, global warming, education - those are the things the President will be judged on, and thus what he is going to prioritize. Your advice will likely be heard, but it is unlikely the power of the presidency will be used to fight for the difficult decisions you will ask for. The political capital is simply needed elsewhere.

2. Because you don't get massive government bureaucracies to change course easily. You certainly don't get it to happen if you can't control anyone's budget allocations and lack any statutory authority over those involved. If your recommendations are inconvenient (say they involve contested turf between two agencies) the bureaucracies involved can just stall until you're gone. Yet an appropriate response to cyber requires close coordination among those very agencies.

Re:Spoken like a true CEO (1)

SlipperHat (1185737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436266)

As a rebuttal, when was the last time a "czar" position appeared with no statutory or budget authority attached?

However, the idea of a Cybersecurity Czar seems ineffective to begin with (remember DHS). A Cybersecurity Committee with mandatory quarterly/biannual face-to-face meetings with the POTUS seems more useful. The committee can concentrate on giving status updates and a high-level cost-benefit analysis that the POTUS could understand, while the POTUS would simply decide for or against.

It'd be cheaper (no separate department + overhead), the security folks can concentrate on their area of expertise instead of the politics, and the POTUS would have one less adviser breathing down his neck. It might suffer from design-by-committee flaws, but security people seem more apt to play nice with each other (at least from my 5000 mile view).

(It makes too much sense to ever exist)

Re:Spoken like a true CEO (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436320)

You're not too familiar with what a "Blame taking job" really is, are you?

This is basically a rehash of the old "intelligence Czar" fiasco. The position was supposed to bring all the various intelligence agencies in America together to prevent another intelligence failure like 9/11, but since the Czar didn't have any statutotry or budgetary authority, his decisions and recommendations could simply be ignored by anyone beneath him.

Since the various intelligence agencies would have already taken any advice the Czar could give them if they were going to do it willingly, they [i]surprise[/i], didn't follow his advice!

In the end, it creates a position that is completely impotent, but since they were [i]supposed[/i] to be correcting all the problems in the system, if any more big catastrophes happen, there's a person to easily blame. They can even pick and choose, "Look, we followed this and this and this piece of advice you gave us, and it didn't help at ALL" - Ignoring the mountains of advice or commands that weren't followed.

The reason everyone already realizes this is, frankly, because this is a repeat of what already happened five years ago.

New Military Branch Needed. (1)

dikdik (1696426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435744)

We don't need a "czar", we need a new military branch. I am not aware of ANY real and lasting contribution any "czar" has ever made in the United States. The first drug czars came close... if you call that a contribution, but from everything I've seen, they're basically PR and cheerleaders, and don't have much authority or get much done.

If we're serious... and I mean really serious... we need a branch of the military to do the heavy lifting. We don't need to start this in a big way, but we need the security infrastructure to build on should tensions begin rising with nation states. These guys would be the grunts doing the front line lifting and poking around while the NSA focuses it's talent on developing high level techniques. This is what we'd do if we got really serious.

In my view, the position of czar is a joke. Czars are for 19th century Russia and have no place in a modern United States government.

I'm tellin' ya... (2, Interesting)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435844)

...Leo Laporte is *the* man for the job.

Welcome to the government (2, Informative)

clesters (793568) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435964)

You must be new around here... Almost everything we do is worthless.

Useless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435992)

By my calculation there is a major difference between the position being "useless," meaning not necessary, and it being a position of relatively little glamor. Just because the position will likely take a lot of crap doesn't mean it's not a possibly important part of the puzzle.

Czar logic (5, Funny)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436010)

So, if a drug czar tries to stop drugs, does a cybersecurity czar stop cybersecurity?

But the drug czars have failed to stop drugs, so therefore a cybersecurity czar would improve cybersecurity!

I finally understand government logic!

Re:Czar logic (1)

el_tedward (1612093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30439042)

I'm assuming the reason the drug czar has not been able to stop drugs is simply because we haven't been paying said czars enough to be able to retain talent, right? So, if we don't pay the cybersecurity czar enough money, he'll be bound to do an incredible job! I love this logic! I wonder what other problems in society we can solve this way?

Hope it stays vacant. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436018)

A person with the skills in question can do productive work in the private sector, instead of being a tax-sucker.

-jcr

di34 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436230)

The 7ailure of

Good. (1)

moxley (895517) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436620)

Good - The last thing we need is for this or any similar position to have some real authority; it's likely only going to be a matter of time before anonymity and freedom online are ruined in the name of "security" anyways.

Not to politicians, it isnt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436798)

Arent all these positions created to put the supporters in to positions of power so that you can pay back for helping you get elected. Most of these top level positions are useless, except for political purposes.

I don't hate to say it... (1)

LoadWB (592248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437816)

But a lot of us saw this a mile and a-half away. There are a lot of people involved close-up with POTUS' CyberSecurity initiative, and I had the honor of meeting one of the top brass in October. As excited as the people on the advisement staff seem or seemed to be, I could not shake the perception of trepidation in the voice and comments of the presenter. I even queried him about the "CyberSecurity Czar" (or "Director," as it is preferred to be called) and received a fairly vague answer with little notion of what will really happen.

All for show, in my estimation.

Spafford Is Useless, Says Cybersecurity Czar (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438868)

... and many others, come to think of it.

The position type is better known as (1)

chazd1 (805324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30442826)

an "organizational attenuator".

Someone has to dampen energy that might elsewise get into the mechanisms that matter to the the alphas.

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