Archive for the ‘Department of Public Safety’ Category

Arizona like the rest of the nation is deep poo economically speaking and instead of actually doing anything to make the situation better, our state legislature is busy passing bills that have nothing to do with economic recovery or helping suffering citizens.  No, they’ve been busy with bills like a custom license plate for the Tea Party (SB1402) and the formation of a state militia (SB1495).  The militia is an ominous development for two primary reasons.  First, the new law is poorly written because it establishes no requirements membership so that any ol’ idiot, yahoo, or degenerate can join the group.  Second and most worrisome, there are no restrictions placed on how the militia can be used.  The “who can use it” is specified as the Governor, but no “how” is specified. This is like giving the village idiot a .50 caliber machine gun without any instructions or guidance.

Here’s some other really dumb ideas that have recently been turned into law.  The state legislature removed the ability of DPS to regulate and ensure the quality of firearms’ instructors in the state (HB2146).  This comes after they’ve already reduced the restrictions on who can carry a concealed weapon in public places.  Essentially they are returning the state to the good ol’ times in The Wild West where most men had a gun on their hip with nary a clue about the responsibility of when and where to use it (hence all the stories about shoot outs, murders, robberies, etc from our infamous cowboy days).  I, for one, have no desire to go back to that time and why the state legislature wants to is beyond me.

This next law was hurried through the legislative session this year in order to beat the state of Utah on the draw.  What was it you might ask?  Did they rush through a bill on expanding the coverage of medicaid to the state’s poor?  Or extending unemployment benefits for the thousands who have run out of them?  Or cancelling wasteful spending programs like the state’s bicentennial museum that won’t be ready in time and is completely unnecessary? No, nothing like that you silly git. They rushed through the naming of an official firearm–the Colt Single-Action Army revolver (SB1610).  Ironically enough, it is made in Connecticut so no hope of garnering new jobs for this incredible suck up to the pro-gun lobby.

And finally, just to add a little bile to the heady mix of authoritarianism and absurdity, they passed a bill that would prohibit Gay and Lesbian couples from adopting children in the state of Arizona.  Did the legislature ask the many unloved and uncared for children stuck on the street, in foster care or in orphanages whether they would rather go to a loving family or stay on the streets?  I would bet they wouldn’t give a tinker’s damn as to what the parents sexual orientation was so long as they could have a roof over their head, 3 hot squares, to be safe and to go to school.  And oh yeah, be loved as a member of a family unit.

If past is prologue, this state is so screwed.

Sources:

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bastard/2011/03/jan_brewers_fbi_jt_ready_shawna_forde.php

http://azdem.org/blog/2011_bad_bill_teapartyplates/

Another group calling itself AntiSec released the personal information of more Arizona Department of Public Safety officers.  Like I said before, these hackers are probably doing more harm than good.  It would be nice if these guys would get a clue.

The hacking of the Arizona Department of Safety personnel records has become a national story and I don’t plan to cover the facts because its really not necessary.  From the perspective of someone who has worked in IT for a fairly long time, I have to say that this is a classic example of how the weakest link in any security scheme are the people.  Essentially the hackers found a subgroup of officers who did not have to update their passwords nor follow the guidelines in regards to the complexity of their passwords.  The rest was probably a piece of cake.  This is the kind of case I would use when I teach college students about network security.

But that’s not what I want to focus on either.  What struck me most about this story was how I reacted to it.  My first instinct was “oh no, that’s bad”.  Then a second later it was “but wait, they’re striking back against recent state practices against immigrants” which I also oppose.  So I felt very torn.

I felt like a bit of hypocrite because I was overall supportive of the Wikileaks campaign of leaking federal documents.  However, it should be noted if they had not redacted the names of people who might have faced repercussions I would not have supported their efforts.  I think that is what bothers me about this current hack.

My first thought was for the officers and their families who do not support Arizona’s recent immigration laws and policy changes.  However, they have a job to do, probably a job they love.  They have families to support.  And they know that politicians come and go, but good LEO’s will stay on the job for decades.  The reason I know this is because I worked in law enforcement 20 years ago in Central Florida.  My political views were no less liberal then than they are now.  I have to admit I was one of the few liberals working in law enforcement who held such views, but there were others.  And even those who subscribed to conservative views didn”t condone everything the state did.  They’re not robots or party hacks.  They’re just people doing the best they can, getting paid very little to do it and getting no respect for it either.

So it is here in Arizona.  Some of these officers are descended from immigrants or have married into families with immigrants, some legal and some probably not.  Not every officer supports what the state does and some will outright oppose it but they do so risking their livelihood. Most that disagree won’t oppose it openly but they can and will vote their conscience. They can and will volunteer for candidates that oppose these ugly laws.  They can and will work for change within the discretion of their own position.  Most people not in law enforcement don’t understand the amount of discretion that an officer actually has in any given situation.  Believe me, the officer who doesn’t agree with these stupid laws will simply not impose them unless they are cornered and forced to by others.

The problem with this kind of hack is that it alienates the line officers who will often work quietly and internally against the actual enforcement of this law.  I fear the only result of this data hack will be that officers who might have advocated openly or taken action personally will no longer do so.  Surely there was a better way to punish the State of Arizona than to endanger AND alienate the line officers.

For those who don’t agree that officers are endangered, then you have your head up your ass.  Its one thing to know a cop that lives in your neighborhood, but its another to publish publicly information regardless of position or security clearance or risk to the officers themselves.

If you’re going to advocate for a cause and you intend to hack in furtherance of that advocacy, make sure you pick a target not just because you can get in but because it will actually help your cause.  In this case, helping the cause must not have been a consideration.