Red tape hinders hackers from helping the government

The US Department of Homeland Security is complaining that it is unable to use friendly hackers and other computer whizzes to bolster government’s cyber defences because of out-of-date rules and red tape.

Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge told the National Journal  that the federal government is short of tens of thousands of cyber experts and members of the hacker community remain wary of working with the government because of the red tape involved.

Ridge begged Congress to change the rules that restrict engaging private individuals in partnerships with the federal government.

Current rules forbid trusting people in the private sector because they might be financially advantaged either with a contract or just general information.

Ridge said that the rules were written to take care of an aberrant behaviour. But the spooks need to trust the Americans who want to work with government and make it a lot easier to buddy up in the area of cybersecurity.

The current situation means that people who are really good don’t really think of joining the government spooks. Currently the DHS is visiting hacker conventions to try and recruit people with the right stuff.

They are not difficult to spot. They will be the only people at a hacker convention not wearing an industry or Star Wars teeshirt and might even had a bath that morning.