Spitzer and Majoras, and how they relate

In just one week, the IT security world almost certainly lost two hard-nosed cybercrime enforcers.

They will leave for different reasons.

One will go to a highly coveted job. 

One will be forced to deal with a life of regret of what could have been.

But today we don't stand to judge.

Instead, let's celebrate their legacy as it relates to stemming cybercrime.

Deborah Platt Majoras, chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, announced last week she plans to vacate her post at the end of this month. Ever the champion of identity theft awareness and punishing purveyors of spyware and spam scams, Majoras will be missed. We were so impressed with her work at the FTC that SC Magazine named her one of the top thinkers in IT security in 2006.

She will take over as head of Procter & Gamble's anti-trust and litigation practices. It's doubtful she'll have much to say on the ID theft-fighting front from there, but she certainly laid a solid foundation at the FTC for many years to come.

Then there's New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who, at the time of this writing, does indeed remain governor. But after being linked as a client - Client 9, to be exact - to a high-priced prostitution ring, Spitzer's seat as head of state sits on very shaky ground.

Many will denounce Spitzer as the definition of a hypocrite, as a man who, as attorney general, was steadfast in his efforts to weed out the corrupt but who had a scandalous side in which he gladly welcomed the services of at least one high-priced prostitute - a petite brunette known as Kristen.

But no matter how much this may cost Spitzer, both at work and at home, his righteousness cannot go for naught.  As attorney general, Spitzer went after a number of spyware firms who tried to pass themselves off as legitimate marketers. He also recognized the dangers of the internet.

"The internet has become the new Main Street of our society," he once said, after a ranking of complaints showed the internet was the biggest thorn in the side of consumers. "It has brought great benefits, but also new opportunities for the unscrupulous."

Spitzer and Majoras recognized the troubles that lie ahead. That's more than we can say for other government officials.

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