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Comment: 'Security product to strike back at hackers'

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Responding to a colleague's comments on 'Security product to strike back at hackers':

+++ It sounds to me that in many cases its use would be illegal, not to mention the liability for hurting ISPs and clogging routers in the process.

I quite agree that it would be illegal and be open to civil liability as well as being seen as an aggressor's "info war," but then states regularly engage in acts that would illegal if performed by a non-state asset. No question. That will not deter states from pursuing it but rather drive them to seek increasingly covert means to carry it off.

+++ Vigilante justice in the US went out a while ago.

Interesting thought as I wonder if it exists in different guise in response to different threats. Vigilantism rose in response to a lack of perceived authority and control, as in the case of San Francisco. There, as in other areas employing it, it is ultimately suppressed as a majority of citizens come to feel that a 'state' alternative can again handle the matter. In most cases the vigilante, victim, criminal, and bystander are all in the same judicial or political region. Things become far less clear when the perp is in another state, and where in that state he or she may not be seen as a perp at all, e.g. if the irregulars are on our side, they are freedom fighters; if on their side, a terrorist; and if we're undecided, a guerrilla.

Much of the growth of SOCOM (special operations) troops as humint & intel gatherer, recon, combatant, resistance organizer, and infrastructure builder/stabilizer could be seen as projecting a vigilante presence behind the lines of a foreign state. I do think that the SoCom focus is needed and ultimately caused far less casualties, collateral damage, and secondary effects than do larger operations. Yet I am still waiting for a German commando team to come into the US and wipe out some of the Neo-Nazi sites that globally peddle things online that are verboten in Germany. (The Germans regularly protest and we regularly deny based upon our first amendment rights.) It will be a good litmus test of our support of extraterritoriality.

While I separate extraterritoriality into two parts, the statute law part in which, say, the EU accuses the US of attempting to export its legal system and the covert war part, I see both linked by what is called 'globalism' in that a state or stateless actor, weapon, construction technology, component, or operational tradecraft can quickly move across the globe such that the actual "theater of operations" transcends traditional borders. 'Local' takes on a new meaning and the global legal system has yet to adapt to it.

Covert force projection, even preemption, are practiced by many states but the US drew fire by formalizing what had been a de facto condition. Interestingly, no one is taking on the Russians who have long made no bones about their willingness to do so, up to and including the doctrinaire pre-placement of nuclear landmines and depot level busters, the first use of BW agents, et al at the very onset of war.

We are in a new state of war and we will be discussing how to negotiate it for years to come.

Gordon Housworth



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