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All Your Tech Are Belong To Us February 13, 2006

Posted by KG in Etc., State.

My Caribbean-bound pal Furnish recently took a course in information security for his upcoming job in lovely Curaçao (sidenote: since Bill is going to a four man mission, he’s taking basically every single course that is offered here.  I think the etiquette class is next).  From what I hear, it was the usual FAMlicious stuff, full of poorly worded and arcane rules and regs.  To wit, the argument that iPods are tech-non-grata in all State Offices.

Now I don’t know about you, but the definition given of “computer” by the Department muckity-muck (a term of endearance, really) seems to me to be hopelessly outdated.  If iPods are unwelcome, it stands to reason that cell phones and Blackberries are as well.  There are literally thousands of handheld devices that both “process and store” data, and truly secure spaces have built-in rules and safeguards that render this argument at the very least unnecessary.

In any case, I suspect the intention of this FAM reg was innocuous, geared towards protecting Department systems from virii and other unwelcome guests.  No one is going to walk around the halls of Foggy Bottom taking iPods and locking them away.  Still, I guess I shouldn’t walk around using my camera with abandon next time I’m over there — and I’ll leave my matchbox cam at home.


1. Anonymous - February 13, 2006

Absurd. I’m sitting in the mission control, and surrounded by tons of people in bags carrying iPods, and no spacecraft has come crashing back to earth because of them.

2. Bob - February 13, 2006

As I know it, the prohibition is limited to controlled access areas (ie the places that have little cubbyholes or lockers outside for you to leave your cellphone/MP3 player/whathaveyou) and is more because it tends to be easy (or possible anyway) for someone to modify said devices to record/transmit information that ought to be left inside those areas. If they tried to limit cellphones or iPods in the Department, the entire building would descend into chaos (dogs and cats living together!).

3. Consul-At-Arms - February 14, 2006

I believe Bob is correct, iPod (and cell phones &tc.) can’t go into the CAAs, but are okay in other areas. Still, even where they’re permitted, it’s bad juju to connect your privately-owned devices to government hardware.

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