Thursday, September 19, 2013

When Government (Water) and Technology (Oil) Mix

The technocracy seems to be much harder to implement than most transhumanists realize. Case in point is the latest fiasco with the document storage for the defense attorneys in Guantanamo Bay:

Months of efforts to fix a file-gobbling computer system used by defense lawyers in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal have only turned up more problems, the chief defense counsel testified on Wednesday.

Defense lawyers asked the U.S. military judge to halt pre-trial hearings in the death penalty case against five alleged conspirators in the September 11 plot until the technical problems are fixed, which is not expected to happen before early next year.

Files began vanishing in January and the chief defense counsel, Air Force Colonel Karen Mayberry, ordered defense lawyers to stop putting confidential documents on their computer network in April because the data breaches had shown the system was not secure.


Massive amounts of data were lost when technicians tried to create a system that would simultaneously update files the lawyers worked on at Guantanamo and those on their computer network in the Washington area, she said.

Some documents vanished, others were replaced with older versions, and gaps in the backup system were revealed, Mayberry said.

One prosecutor was temporarily given access to some defense files, and new problems arose when technicians switched some Pentagon personnel to a new email system, she said.

"Folks were hitting 'send' and thinking that emails went through and they weren't," Mayberry testified.

Attachments were stripped off, emails from the judge's office were never received and phone callers began asking the lawyers why they had not replied to messages they had never seen, she said.

Exasperatingly, technicians asked her to compile a list of all the emails she had never gotten, she said.

The Department of Defense is often times held up as the best government agency in terms of efficiency and technological prowess. And yet, they cannot even get a simple document repository set up correctly. Meanwhile, Google Docs has been operating for a long time now with a much larger user base. And that is probably not even the best example.

In most private businesses, we see Microsoft SharePoint being used. It is highly secure, easy to configure, and allows for a lot of customization. Whatever these tech guys were doing, they were obviously doing it wrong. It's kind of like if the government decided to invent it's own wheel and ended up with a square design instead of a circle.

And tech support's response? Give us a list of the e-mails you didn't get. Seriously. It's like the entire IT department is run by Dilbert's middle management.

And these are the idiots who seek to rule over us.