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The Cyberbudget of the Cyberunited Cyberstates of Cyberamerica

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The prefix "cyber-" is a shortening of "cybernetics," which is itself based on a Greek word relating to steering, piloting, or governance. I had to go look that up after tabbing through the recent omnibus budget bill, because reading "cyber" 423 times had stripped the term of all meaning. Not, granted, that it had a lot to begin with.

It's not fair to the US government that "cyber" is inherently hilarious to most of the Verge editorial staff — you have to pick some word to refer to a thing that happens on the internet, even if I'd go with "digital" instead. But besides the '90s slang connotations, and the fact that it's been overused egregiously in the past several decades, it lets officials conflate physical violence with hacking and increasingly connotes a malware arms race that nobody wins. So while it's worrying that there's a cybersurveillance bill hidden in the text, let's take a cybermoment to cyberenjoy some other cyberuses of our cyberfavorite cyberprefix in this cyberyear's cyberbudget.

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Let's take a closer cyberlook at a few of those:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Cyber-espionage
  • Cyber threat indicator
  • Cyberspace
  • Cybercrime
  • Cyber attack
  • Cyber Corps Scholarship Program
  • Cyber incidents
  • Cyber-related work roles
  • Cyberspace policy strategy
  • International cyber criminals
  • Malicious Cyber Command and Control
  • Cyber-threat actors
  • Cyber-related functions
  • Civilian cyber personnel
  • Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues
  • International cyber behavior
  • Other cyber matters

Thankfully, we're a little more responsible with our other high-tech prefix: there are only eight mentions of "e-" in the budget's 2,000 pages, including e-passport, e-government, and E-Verify. And there's not an e-cybermission in sight. But as you can see, this rapid cyberproliferation presents a cyberclear and cyberpresent cyberdanger in the cyberyears to cybercome.

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