False Information about the Cars.Gov Web Site
Apparently there is not a sufficient amount of ferment and discontent among those who are unhappy with the Obama Administration. Glenn Beck, the Fox News analyst, recently announced that the US government has declared the right to “seize” and “own” (declare as US government property) any computer that connects to the Cars.Gov Web site, the site that the government has set up in connection with the “Cash for Clunkers” program.
I seldom get caught up in all the Republican-Democrat “spitting wars,” but the idea of the government “owning” someone’s computer if that person connects to Cars.Gov just seemed so implausible that I asked someone who works as a cybersecurity expert in high places in the US government what the truth about this site was. I received the following reply:
>I also found more info on Glenn Beck:
>Clicking “continue” on a poorly worded Terms of >Service on a government site >will not give the >government the ability to “tap into your system… >any time they >want. The seizure of the personal >and private information stored on your computer >through a one-sided click-through terms of service >is not conscionable” as lawyers say, and would not >be enforceable even if the cars.gov website was >capable of doing it, which we seriously doubt.
>Moreover, the law has long forbidden the >government from requiring you
>to give up unrelated constitutional rights (here the >4th Amendment right to be free from search and >seizure as a condition of receiving discretionary >government benefits like participation in the Cars >for Clunkers program.”
I sincerely thank my friend (who shall remain anonymous) for this clarification. What I find so interesting is that in the midst of all this clamor, anything, regardless of how true it is, can be turned into an unfounded accusation that spreads widely not only all over the Internet, but also over television, and cybersecurity related falsehoods and embellishments are no exception. Worse yet, there is no indication whatsoever that Mr. Beck or his staff exerted any kind of effort to delve into the truth of Mr. Beck’s so-called “discovery.”
Internet hoaxes surface all the time. Fortunately, we have sites such as snopes.com to debunk these hoaxes. If you go to snopes.com and other similar sites, you’ll find that they have declared Mr. Beck’s accusations to be a hoax. The bottom line is that ostensibly there is no reason to be fearful about connecting to and interacting with the Cars.Gov Web site.