This article was originally published on Being Libertarian reposted here with permission
Being Libertarian Perspectives will serve as a weekly, multi-perspective opinion and analysis piece by members of Being Libertarian’s writing team. Every week the panel, comprised of randomly selected writers, will answer a question based on current events or libertarian philosophy. Managing Editor Dillon Eliassen will moderate and facilitate the discussion.
Dillon Eliassen: What do you think is the most shocking or profound tidbit found in the Democratic National Committee email leak?
Alon Ganon: Where to begin? I personally have about 90+ emails uncovered on my blog. We have DNC members shooting a horse for insurance, a lollipop reference as in Lollicon, racism, some homophobic comments, some anti-Semitism sprinkled in when mentioning Yom HaShoah to remember the Holocaust as they were annoyed. The collusion between the media… I could go on, there is just so much. So, what I would say is most shocking is size and scope of how bad it actually all is.
It was a horribly set up network. It appears to be all Windows based using Microsoft Exchange, which Snowden had revealed Microsoft sits on the exploits of and hands on a a silver platter to the NSA, leaving millions vulnerable. So Big Government in a way had a hand in this leak. If they had been using a proper UNIX/UNIX-like system like the majority of the IT world does for network connected services, this could have been avoided. It’s why all of our servers set up by me use GNU/Linux. For example, Windows uses password authentication most often. We use RSA keys that would take the NSA even a little time to crack our server key for administrative access unless they have physical access to my laptop or the encrypted backup. The funny part is both Clinton and the DNC used Microsoft Exchange and that was the Achilles heel in both attacks.
However, I found the most interesting thing about #DNCLeak was actually the after effect. See, they immediately point the finger at the Russians. I have asked dozens of friends of mine in the IT world across the political spectrum, and no one is convinced the Russian government is behind it. However, it’s interesting to note that Clinton is going after Russia saying they are working with Trump when we have confirmation she has received money in exchange for some deals with them. I would also like to note the FBI was so sure of themselves when Sony was breached that it was North Korea. However, it was revealed later may not have been the case at all as it appeared to be an inside job. So how do we not know if maybe it was a disgruntled intern or someone?
Dillon: I also think it was a disgruntled employee. And again, they are shooting themselves in the foot by blaming Russia, because it gives credence to the assertion that Russia went after Hillary’s private server.
Alon: Apparently the only “evidence” they have of it being Russia, to my knowledge, is an IP address which we should note the Supreme Court says is not enough for a warrant, and some metadata in a document in Russian. That’s hardly a smoking gun.
If anything this situation has revealed the IT department of the Democrats to be as incompetent as their politicians they support.
If I were to sum up this whole situation in one single word as an IT person, it would be “incompetence.”
Dillon: I enjoy the emails sent to Chuck Todd to get him to intercede on behalf of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Hillary Clinton and the DNC to get MSNBC Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski to stop criticizing them for being unfair to Bernie Sanders. I don’t believe Todd actually confirmed to someone in the Hillary campaign that he reached out to Brzezinski, so he might be in the clear as far as journalistic ethics go. And I don’t think it’s that terrible that DWS and her minions approached Todd to act on their behalf. What I wonder is why wouldn’t they ask to respond to Brzezinski’s allegations themselves by appearing on Morning Joe, or going on Meet The Press? Also, I think it’s foolish and risky on the campaign/DWS’s part, because what if Brzezinski got all bent out of shape and did a segment on Morning Joe saying she was approached by DWS and Hillary to not be so critical of them? Journalists hate being told what they can and can’t say, and they have a platform to antagonize their antagonizers. It would be like kicking a hornet’s nest!
Brandon Kirby: I was concerned about the philosophical implications to the way people think; the media’s involvement with the Democratic Party was alarming. I’ve seen stories on the media of situations I was close to that were false narratives that perpetuating biases rather than reality. I watched a 6 minute story that did this, then I multiplied that by 10 to imagine (I’ll admit my thought-experiment was imagination rich and empirical data poor) how much false narratives were being consumed by the viewer in an hour program, and then again by 365 and it’s a horrifying prospect to think of people walking around in society guided by these falsehoods. It’s similar to Plato’s cave where they’re seeing a shadowing blur of reality constructed by a bias. As horrifying as that was, it became more horrifying knowing the politicians are the ones creating the narrative. It’s nothing short of an Orwellian nightmare.
John Engle: I think the main revelation will be to wake progressives up to the bad faith in which the DNC operates. It’s a process that has been starting, and the hard core of the Sandinista movement seems to have seen it pretty clearly at the convention. The news media, film, TV, etc. all contribute to the notion that the Right operates in bad faith, more interested in the dollars from rich corporate interests than in actually serving the people. They portray the Democrats and the Left, on the other hand, as being good faith actors. When something goes wrong policy-wise, it is chocked up to unintended consequences rather than malice. What these emails reveal clearly is what anyone who follows politics understands: Both sides are entrenched interests that are largely interested in perpetuating themselves and their privileges. The act of public service is the secondary value at best.
Ni Ma: Charles Krauthammer suggested that Trump’s statement asking Russia to find Hillary’s emails may have been a trap, since Clinton claims those were all private. So there would be no implication to national security if they were all private. Yet Democrats complain about Trump jeopardizing national security. Not sure if there’s validity to it, but I found it to be an interesting hypothesis.
John: I’ve seen that as well. Even if he didn’t plan it that way, it will have that impact for him. Can’t be a better result from Trump’s perspective, because he will be able to turn it on them so easily. She freaks out over his one off the cuff remark and thinks we plebs should shut up about the hundreds of deleted emails.
Alon: I will say this, as an IT person. This has been the best comedy show for me. I have actually been using the DNC Leak as an example for my clients on the weaknesses of Microsoft software. Unfortunately as it was pointed out to me, the US Government seems to have a crony deal with Microsoft that they require Microsoft software on their computers and contractors computers. To me this is a blatant example of how Crony capitalism damages everyone.
I would like to see the US government actually read Eric S. Raymond’s, Cathedral and the Bazaar. Because they need to implement it properly. Because relying on a corporation with a dedicated team of a few hundred to fix all issues is clearly showing its strain. Linus’ law named after Linus Torvalds the founder of the Linux kernel, states “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”; or more formally: “Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix will be obvious to someone.” Per Wikipedia but is a well cited law in the tech community to the flaw of Microsoft software or really any proprietary softwares
I cite it further as an example of cronyism damaging Government via proprietary contracts for public non defensive systems. The reason being that defense software is protected via “protection from obscurity.” However public services, are usually a common platform. Therefore a voluntarist structure is more beneficial as we can see in real world practices on Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) E.g. GNU/Linux, Firefox, Bitcoin, WordPress, email, and most fundamental services we rely on but don’t think about in our day to day cyber lives