Silly Government

WASHINGTON (AP) — The same Bush administration review panel that approved a ports deal involving the United Arab Emirates has notified a leading Israeli software company that it faces a rare, full-blown investigation over its plans to buy a smaller rival.

What has the administration so upset? A “specialized intrusion detection software” used to protect some classified computers. The name of the software? Snort. Some people will understand right away why this is silly, but for the rest of you, Snort is open source software. This means that, generally speaking, there are no secrets about what the software does, so any foreign company that acquired it wouldn’t gain any government secrets because Snort’s source code is available to everyone. Now, admittedly, Sourcefire could have done some consulting for the government and crafted some custom rules for the government. And perhaps that’s what they’re concerned about. But they aren’t saying that. They seem to be claiming that the software itself is what they’re worried about.

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