Each time I find myself standing at the airport in my stocking feet, simultaneously trying to loop my belt, pocket my car keys, re-encase my laptop and step into my shoes while walking sideways as my plastic tubs bump down the roll line, my soul cries softly, "I want my country back."
A winding cybersecurity road
By "back," I mean something like this: When I was in high school, more than one night of big fun meant piling a bunch of guys into a car, driving up from Indiana to O'Hare, climbing up to the observation deck atop one of the concourses and simply watching the jet planes take off and land.
Today—sadly, for our country and our Constitution—a lark like that could land a kid in a military brig.
I've written a lot in recent years about security, or the lack thereof, surrounding our sensitive healthcare records, particularly when it comes to breaches.
But last week, I dropped down a rabbit hole and spent about a half hour exploring a strange new (to me, at least) netherworld of healthcare cybersecurity.
I've written a little about healthcare IT and national security and the possibility that people's private medical records are being rummaged through by somebody in the interests of Keeping Us Safe. I have to tell you, researching and writing those stories gave me the same soul-wearying feeling I get at airports.
But because I haven't written all that much about cybersecurity before, in researching for just a brief story for our website, I had to puzzle my way through a wonderland of complex names, such as the National Healthcare & Public Health Cybersecurity Education Framework, the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, and the National Health Information Sharing & Analysis Center.
The latter, the center, is located at Cape Canaveral, Fla. One objective of the center is to employ some of the NASA scientists and tech workers laid off by the space program.
Reading about all these cyberagencies and programs to Keep Us Safe, I thought of the gut-wrenching series last year by the Washington Post's Dana Priest and William Arkin called Top Secret America. The bottom line for Priest and Arkin was this vast, mushrooming national security industry, which they only partially uncovered, is already so big and so secret that no one—and that goes for no one in government as well—knows how big it is, what it all does and how much it costs.
I don't know where we heading with all this healthcare cybersecurity stuff, but I suspect it's the same place where a lot of a lot of other roads paved with good intentions end up.
Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn.
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