Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Where have all the hackers gone (in VA)?

The latest polls say Obama is beating Romney by seven points in Virginia. Either way, it's close, and it's close entirely because of this weird beast called Northern Virginia, where I grew up. When I was growing up, there was a large collection of people who worked for the federal government. But now, if you throw a rock, and you don't hit L-3 or Raytheon or ManTech or another federal contractor, you have a really really bad arm.

And a large amount of what these people are doing is cyber security and technology related. I know all the media play is in the exploit business, assessments, FISMA, etc. But the actual job ads in the cafes are for "Big Data" and "HADOOP", and that sort of thing. And generally when they say "Big Data" they actually mean it - it's sort of like "If you can afford it without being the government, it's not big data".

Hackers, of course, have a society like any other sub-culture, and it's largely libertarian. So what you would expect is that you'd see Ron Paul picking up votes in Arlington and Fairfax. But, if you look at the "Federal" counties in NoVA they voted largely for Mitt Romney over Ron Paul (more than the average).

There are some contributing factors, perhaps. Virginia is an open primary state. Seems like low turnout since 300K people voted, but five million are eligible to vote (especially considering the democratic primary is not competitive this year).

Likewise, a lot of the voters are women, especially among newly registered voters. Women are underrepresented in tech fields (and in Ron Paul supporters).

But the bigger question is this: Given that there IS a voting block of swing voters in NoVA (and swing donors), why hasn't EITHER campaign tried to woo them? Mitt Romney has Michael Hayden advising him, and no reason not to drum the "Anti-Chinese" beat on the economy. But he doesn't. You'll notice he has NO opinion whatsoever on CISPA or the Lieberman bill now being debated. None.

Obama has a strong cyber-security track record, and has taken a position on CISPA (anti), but does not seem to engage on cyber-security issues even when his administration is making news about it!

So from both sides we have relative silence. The question is: Why?