Lost elections and missing legislation


Forget that Lieberman has been a notorious moderate who has rankled too much his core supporters. And forget his early promises to run as an independent in mid-term elections if he failed at this primary. His surprise loss stemmed from all those anti-war blogs and dastardly left-wing hackers who must have taken down a site that somehow could have tipped the scales in his favor on election day.

Whatever your political leanings, the hack of Senator Lieberman's site is interesting because it shows that federal politicians — many of whom have been getting a lot of slack in the press lately due to their limited knowledge of technology — can't divorce themselves from the negative side of the Internet Age for much longer. Tons of candidates have taken advantage of the internet to garner support, launch grassroots campaigns, trumpet causes, reach out to the masses, etc.

But bad stuff happens too. Stories about one party's interns hacking into opposition systems in Congress popped up a couple years ago. And other attacks, reported or not, have no doubt occurred. Hackers, whether driven by politics or still other malicious reasons, have taken notice.

But, our federal leaders are behind the curve. Who could have missed the IT blogs and mainstream television snippets about Senate Commerce Committee Chair Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, describing the internet as "a series of tubes?"

With this 109th Congressional session's end looming, legislation covering a range of IT-related issues may get pushed to the backburner again. That will mean yet another year of debate about much-needed privacy legislation on the federal level, along with a further delay to re-visit such issues as network neutrality, anti-piracy and domestic spying. Such a prospect is depressing, but I guess not as disappointing and as important as an alleged hacked campaign website that ended in a lost election.

Illena Armstrong is editor-in-chief.

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