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Cyberspace

Dear Editor:

I grew up during the depression years on a small dairy farm in the Appalachia hill country. We farmed with horses and pitch forks, nothing had changed since the time of Christ. I, being the runt of the clan, helped Grandma in the kitchen keeping the wood cook stove stoked, hauling water from a dug well and plucking the chicken for the Sunday dinner. (I still help the ladies at the senior lunch with the dishes.)

I left the farm and eventually ended up in graduate school at the University of Illinois. The computer took up the entire first floor of the electrical engineering and was based on the use of electronic tubes. I took courses from John Bardeen, a co-inventor of the transistor. We had one transistor for study.

In 2008 the world manufactured 10 quintillion transistors, more transistors than grains of rice produced on the world’s farms. In 1984 it cost $200 to store a megabit of data, now you can buy a 100 megabits of data storage for penny. “Privacy is dead. Get over it.” Big data killed it. Your shopping habits are being tracked by the super stores and the credit card companies. Your friends and travel habits are a matter of public record if you are a patron of the social networks network phones. Within a few years online shopping will amount to a trillion dollars per year. The political landscape has changed, kids interact on social networks and geezers watch FOX news.

Your gated communities and AK-47s will be no protection against cybercrime, about ten percent of you will be ripped off this year. The virus, Heartbleed, now running rampant, can potentially affect any device connected to the Internet as well as smart thermostats, security and lighting systems. Heartbleed may compromise encrypted messages.

Fortunately, we have won two initial skirmishes in the ongoing cyber war. The Israelis blanked out the Syrian air defense and the Syrians woke up and found a hole in the ground instead of a nuclear facility and the Iranians woke up to a thousand smoking Uranium processing centrifuges. (Google Stuxnet for details.)

On reading The Pagosa Sun it seems to me the local leadership is oblivious to what is going on in both the real word and cyberspace. The money, both private and public is in technology especially biotech and health care. Pagosa and Archuleta County should be looking for high tech business opportunities. Perhaps an advanced health care facility, make a few bucks off Obama care. The local politicians should do the unthinkable, hire a competent techie who knows what is going on in the outside world and cyberspace.

Bob Dungan

This story was posted on May 1, 2014.