The New York Times reports Congress passes bill to bar bias based on genes. “A bill that would prohibit discrimination by health insurers and employers based on the information that people carry in their genes won final approval in Congress on Thursday by an overwhelming vote.” Bush has suggested he will sign the legislation and if he doesn’t the bill, which “passed the House on Thursday by a 414-to-1 vote, and the Senate by 95-to-0 a week earlier” likely has the votes to override his veto.
The legislation is a start, but doesn’t prohibit the government from using genetic discrimination. And according to the NY Times story, “as genetic tests provide ever more information at lower costs, the entire notion of insuring against unknown risk that has long defined the industry may be upended.” This may “give ammunition to those who argue for universal health care”.
The Washington Post reports White House plans proactive cyber-Security role for spy agencies. “America’s spy agencies for the first time would be tasked with gathering intelligence on threats to the nation’s computer networks under a policy set to be detailed by the White House next week… The [anonymous] official said the president’s new cyber-security directive will share the intelligence gleaned through monitoring threats across the government space with the private sector, which experts say is being hit with the same types of attacks that the federal dot-gov space is battling… Most of the 18 strategic goals laid out in the cyber initiative are currently classified, and few within the government have been fully briefed on the the plan.”
Alan Paller, director of research at the Bethesda based SANS Institute, which tracks hacking trends, said few federal civilian agencies or private sector companies have the analysts or computer power to spot the most stealthy cyber attacks. Agencies like the NSA, he said, are in a bit of a tight spot in sharing new threat information with allies and the private sector, because spy agencies very often glean intelligence by exploiting the very same security vulnerabilities in hardware and software used by enemies of the United States.
“This is the oldest conflict in security, because if we give away our best exploits, we lose the ability to use them offensively,” Paller said. “That’s a conflict the guys at NSA deal with every day. When you find good ones, how long do you wait before you tell the vendors and people defending our own networks?”
On the surface, does this government-private partnership seems similar to the collusion between the telcos and the Bush Administraion?
Four at Four continues below the fold with the expanding ocean’s hypoxic zones, the collapse of the west coast salmon fishery, and fungal doom for Pacific Northwest amphibians.