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Privacy vs. Security?

Wharton professor says open access to the Internet also creates a vulnerability and society must decide if it is prepared to give up some privacy to gain security. But director of technology institute sees no need for restrictions.
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The transparency created by technology has left those who use technology vulnerable to attack by individuals who use information as a means of hurting others, Howard Perlmutter, professor of management and social architecture emeritus with the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, pointed out during the InformationWeek Fall Conference. "Open code, free access to the Internet--this is what society has wanted, but it opens us up to vulnerability," Perlmutter says. "To what extent are we prepared to give up privacy to get security?"

Istvan Tuba sees the events of the past week in a different light. Tuba, executive director of San Diego's International Technology Institute, says he doesn't believe in restricting the Internet or other areas of information technology. Tuba's proposed alternative is to show the United States' enemies that this country depends upon technology rather than capitalism.

"There are people who hate the United States because of its success," Tuba said. "We have to work on the minds of the world's population to tell them the United States is successful not because they're exploiting everybody else but because they use their natural, human, and human-generated resources much better than the rest of the world. For the first time in the history of the human race, we have the ability to use human-generated resources like information technology anywhere in the world to raise anyone's standard of living, but not at one another's expense."

Tuba says the purpose of the International Technology Institute is "to promote the idea that technology is the most significant human-generated resource, which can be and should be used to increase the standard of living and quality of life for all mankind in a safe and secure environment."

While a student at the Technical University of Budapest in the early 1950s, Tuba was forced to leave Hungary because of his anti-Communist beliefs. The United States military helped Tuba flee his country and begin his career at Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC as a mechanical engineer designing and developing electric generators. Tuba's transition to IT came when he began developing computer programs to calculate the effects of temperature and stress on Westinghouse's equipment. The equations Tuba and his co-workers created to calculate the effects of rapidly changing temperatures on industrial equipment were too complicated to do by hand, he says.