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United States Security

Obama To Name Melissa Hathaway Cybersecurity Chief 188

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the how-do-i-get-tsar-in-my-title dept.
hargrand writes "President Obama has found the cyber tsar to head his new White House office of cybersecurity. According to US press reports this morning, an announcement expected later today will confirm Melissa Hathaway is to come in as cyber chief, after being cyber coordination executive for the director of national intelligence."
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Obama To Name Melissa Hathaway Cybersecurity Chief

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  • Tsar or Tsaritsa? (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:44PM (#26791335) Journal

    President Obama has found the cyber tsar ...

    Uh, shouldn't that be tsaritsa [wikipedia.org]?

    Or is there something you know about Melissa that we don't?

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:46PM (#26791367) Homepage Journal

      Or is there something you know about Melissa that we don't?

      Her parents were stranded on a tropical island you insensitive clod.

    • by Samschnooks (1415697) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:54PM (#26791467)
      Neither. Cyber-Dominatrix.

      She'll need to wear spiked heeled boots and a leather corset.

      I think I have issues.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You may or may not be right. The wiki article you linked doesn't make clear if tsaritsa means only tsar's wife or a ruler on its own.

      E.g. due to this distinction in Poland they crowned female ruler as king: Hedwig Rex Poloniae not Hedwig Regina Poloniae.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by glwtta (532858)
        You may or may not be right. The wiki article you linked doesn't make clear if tsaritsa means only tsar's wife or a ruler on its own.

        The article actually says in the first sentence that it can mean both. It doesn't come up as much, though, because most of the famous female rulers of Russia were in the 18th century, when the official titles were Emperor/Empress (though Tsar kinda stuck around in foreign translations).
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday February 09, 2009 @07:22PM (#26791791)
      Why do we keep using a term that means, essentially, monarch or "supreme ruler"? Last I checked, these people aren't even members of the cabinet.

      They're mid-level federal pencil-pushers, at best- and the only reason she got the job was because she was a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton [wikipedia.org], which is basically a government consulting group (aka glorified money sinkhole.)

      If that's not a conflict of interest, I don't know what is.

      • Why do we keep using a term that means, essentially, monarch or "supreme ruler"?

        The whole "czar" thing in US government was coined to represent an official with overall coordinating responsibility over functions which are within the domains of several different executive branch departments (and usually, in each, within the domain of some obscure office within the department); it makes sense when you consider the common description of the problem "czars" are intended to address that the various offices with

      • It would have been more appropriate under the Bush Administration, since they believed in Unitary Executives who weren't accountable to Congress or the Courts, but the term rather predates them. But really the term is an anglicization of "Caesar", the family of thugs who ruled Rome and the surrounding world and turned the Republic into an Empire.

        There are several reasons for calling somebody a (whatever) Czar:

        • Bureaucrats like to build empires, and they're in charge of one
        • The last Czar of Russia got assassi
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Does she run Linux?

  • by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:45PM (#26791349) Homepage

    If she's related to Ann Hathaway, she's got my support..

  • by RockMFR (1022315) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:47PM (#26791393)
    How many cyber/cyborg tsars/chiefs/secretaries do we have now?
  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:48PM (#26791397) Homepage

    "Miss Hathaway, can you come into my office for a moment...?"

  • CYBER (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:57PM (#26791505)

    Am I the only one who *hates* the word cyber?
    Is it a generational thing? Does it have something to do with Lawnmower Man?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AliasMarlowe (1042386)

      Using Windows is like walking through Middle-earth. There's a freaking wizard lurking around every corner.

      and most of them are up to no good...

      • by pwizard2 (920421)

        Using Windows is like walking through Middle-earth. There's a freaking wizard lurking around every corner.

        If Windows is Middle-earth, then Linux must be the blessed realm of Valinor.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Protoslo (752870)

      No, I was groaning all through the summary. The term utterly lacks dignity, in my opinion. It is hard to imagine a "Cyber-Czar" doing anything worthwhile. "Cyber-" invariably summons up images of bad 90's movies (though I never saw Lawnmower Man), and William Gibson's earlier novels, the technology in which seems even more quaint and anachronistic today. Creating an office of Cybersecurity just makes Obama seem foolish and out of touch (even if the system of nomenclature originated elsewhere, he's the p

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chris Burke (6130)

      Is it a generational thing? Does it have something to do with Lawnmower Man?

      There are a lot of issues that have to do with Lawnmower Man.

      Fear of the word "cyber" is just one. :P

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I hate the use of tsar it refered to rulers originally ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsar ) and now it's used more like executive or manager for these new departments in government.... why don't we have the King of Homeland Security or the Emperor of Central Intelligence or is there a Dictator of Finance? Geez people!!!

      Oh I got it Cyber-lord of Internet Content Purification and Control.... perfect!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014)

      Well, cybernetics came into widespread use meaning the study of feedback and control systems.

      Computers obviously have considerable applications to many modern control applications. However, it was premature in the 80's and 90's to refer to anything computer related as "cyber-". The case may somewhat different today, particularly in regard to security.

      A system's property of "security" is not inherent in the security of its parts, it is not in any way shape or form the sum of the security of its parts.

    • Yup, it's a horrible "word", prefix, and term in general.

      Cyber to me means only one thing - cyber sex (from text conversations to full blown VR).

    • by Adambomb (118938)

      Really, i find its more a problem involving the instant it left gibsons pen and was read by someone in the media.

    • I don't get why people are using it as a noun or adjective. IT'S A VERB PEOPLE!
      • IT'S A VERB PEOPLE!

        Only in the alternate universe where English is more of a guideline rather than a fully normative experience.

        Incidentally, did you happen to be holding a... cookbook, lately?

        • IT'S A VERB PEOPLE!

          Only in the alternate universe where English is more of a guideline
          rather than a fully normative experience.

          If that's what you think, I pose a simple question:

          wanna cyber?

    • by Tellarin (444097)

      It could be worse, they could have called her virtualsecurity chief or something.

      Every other thing that has slightly to do with tech is called virtual* these days.

  • Change (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cats2ndlife (995125) on Monday February 09, 2009 @07:00PM (#26791537)
    If she can somehow become the poster girl for geeky women and bring more of those into our line of work to lighten up the workplace, that'll be awesome. Now that's progress my friends.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Scrameustache (459504)

      If she can somehow become the poster girl for geeky women and bring more of those into our line of work to lighten up the workplace, that'll be awesome. Now that's progress my friends.

      We'd have to start wearing pants ;-(

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Only if she doesn't screw up. But the same goes for Obama as well.

      Sad but true.

    • Re:Change (Score:5, Insightful)

      by asifyoucare (302582) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @12:36AM (#26793625)

      If she can somehow become the poster girl for geeky women and bring more of those into our line of work to lighten up the workplace, that'll be awesome. Now that's progress my friends.

      If she can be judged on her achievements without mentioning her gender, that'll be real progress.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Sadly, I suspect that's why she was appointed. In a field that's dominated 20-1 by males, I am skeptical that she just happened to be the most qualified individual for the job.
  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Monday February 09, 2009 @07:16PM (#26791719)
    Marcus Ranum myself.

    This woman helped politic the CNCI into existence.

    This editorial says more about the uselessness of that than I ever could:
    http://duvet-dayz.com/archives/2008/07/21/805/ [duvet-dayz.com]


    One of Obama's weakest appointments, and yes - I voted for him.
  • by Dunbal (464142) on Monday February 09, 2009 @07:22PM (#26791793)

    The US government appointing delegates with huge powers to regulate and oversee entire swaths of industry with very little personal accountability (heaven forbid!), and the irony in calling them tsars.

          Well when the "Land of the Free" finally stops being free, you won't be able to argue that you didn't see it coming.

    • by mangu (126918)

      Well when the "Land of the Free" finally stops being free, you won't be able to argue that you didn't see it coming.

      Free as in speech or free as in beer? The speech part seems to be less and less free each day, now the beer thing, could anybody please tell me exactly *where* do they give away this free beer?

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      The US government appointing delegates with huge powers to regulate and oversee entire swaths of industry with very little personal accountability (heaven forbid!), and the irony in calling them tsars.

      Wait a sec. Oversee and regulate entire swatch of industry? Really? How?

      Seems to me the post is more about going "say guys - this would be a really Good Idea if we all did it this way." To which some will agree and adjust accordingly. Others will go "a mighty fine idea you got there" and continue trudging along in the same direction as always. And most won't even be aware that any of this is going on.

      And that's just in Government IT.

    • This person will have no power to regulate or oversee any part of any industry.

  • ha good choice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by afxgrin (208686)

    Come on - a woman as head of cybersecurity? This is like trolling the entire male IT world. If there's any single woman who's computer is going to be the focus of internet attacks - it's going to be hers. :-)

    It's not that I have anything with women in positions of authority, but this is different - I think Obama is underestimating the collective power of the patriarchal IT industry.

    Rule 34 if she looks anything like that actress named Anne.

  • I thought we didn't have titles of nobility or royalty in America. FYI "Tsar/Czar" comes from "Caesar".

    Or maybe it is appropriate these days...

  • If not, what qualifications does she have?

  • For the love of $DIETY why the fuck is it that the government feels the need to call anything that has the slightest thing to do with information technology "Cyber." I'm cybersick of cybermorons in cybergovernment cyberthinking they cyberknow cyberanything about cyberanything.

  • She's a political wonk and a holdover from the Bush homeland security team. The woman doesn't even have an IT degree (the closest thing she has is a "special certificate in Information Operations" from the military).
    • The people at the top of the chain rarely have any sort of degree within IT. For any business. It would be a total waste of their degree being in such a position, and would probably end up making them, if anything, unqualified for the position.

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