Michael J. Daugherty, author and CEO of LabMD in Atlanta, uncovers and details an extraordinary government surveillance program that compromised national security and invaded the privacy of tens of millions of online users worldwide.
Background: The FTC, charged with protecting consumers from unfairness and deception, was directed by Congress to investigate software companies in an effort to stop a growing epidemic of file leaks that exposed military, financial and medical data, and the leaks didn’t stop there. As a result of numerous missteps, beginning by “working directly with” malware developers, such as Limewire, instead of investigating them, the agency allowed security leaks to continue for years. When summoned before Congressional Oversight three times since 2003, the agency painted a picture of improving security when in fact leaks were worsening. Then, rather than focus on the real problem of stopping the malware, the FTC diverted Congress’ attention from the FTC’s failure to protect consumers by playing “get the horses back in the barn”. How? By attacking small business.
“The Devil Inside the Beltway” is riveting. It begins when an aggressive cyber security company, with retired General Wesley Clark on its advisory board, downloads the private health information of thousands of LabMD’s patients. The company, Tiversa, campaigns for LabMD to hire them. After numerous failed attempts to procure LabMD’s business, Tiversa’s lawyer informs LabMD that Tiversa will be handing the downloaded file to the FTC. Within this page turner, Daugherty unveils that Tiversa was already working with Dartmouth, having received a significant portion of a $24,000,000 grant from Homeland Security to monitor for files. The reason for the investigation was this: Peer to peer software companies build back doors into their technology that allows for illicit and unapproved file sharing. When individual files are accessed, as in the case of LabMD, proprietary information can be taken. Tiversa, as part of its assignment, downloaded over 13 million files, many containing financial, medical and top secret military data.
Daugherty’s book exposes a systematic and alarming investigation by one of the US Government’s most important agencies. The consequences of their actions will plague Americans and their businesses for years.
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