Monday, September 30, 2013

"The Devil Inside the Beltway" by Michael J. Daugherty

The Devil Inside the Beltway
by Michael J. Daugherty

I feel privileged to have had the chance to read and review this book. Thank you to the author and Babs Hightower from Book Blogger List for the opportunity. Please read my review below, then read the book - you won't believe your eyes. 

If you live in the US, you can enter the Goodreads giveaway for your chance to win a paperback copy of the book (ends 24 October).

Michael J. Daugherty, author and CEO of LabMD in Atlanta, Georgia, uncovers and details an extraordinary government surveillance story that compromised national security and invaded the privacy of tens of millions of online users worldwide. Unbelievable from beginning to end, you'll be shocked at what is really going on behind every closed door in Washington. A riveting true political thriller, the pace is breathless, the arguments compelling, and the iron will of Daugherty transforms him from government prey to government whistleblower.
The Devil Inside the Beltway is a compelling true story that begins when an aggressive security surveillance company, with retired General Wesley Clark on its advisory board, magically acquires the private health information of thousands of LabMD's patients. This company, Tiversa, campaigns for a "fee" from LabMD to "remedy" the problem. When Michael J. Daugherty refuses to pay, Tiversa follows up by handing the file over to the FTC. Daugherty reveals that the company was already working with Dartmouth, having received a significant portion of a $24,000,000 grant from Homeland Security, to surveil for files. The reason for the investigation was this: Peer to peer software companies have back doors built into their technology that allows for illicit and unapproved file sharing. When individual work stations are accessed, as in the case of LabMD, proprietary information can be taken. Tiversa, as part of their assignment, acquired over 14 million files, financial, medical and military data during their search.
Daugherty's book documents a frighteningly systematic and dishonest investigation by one of the US Government's most important agencies. The consequences of their actions will have a chilling effect on Americans and their businesses for years.

The search told us that the only probable way someone could have come into the computer without authorization was through LimeWire. The breach occurred through a program that one employee had installed without our authorization or knowledge. A program that didn’t appear on the desktop. A program that stayed hidden from our view during inspections. How were we to know or anticipate such breaches? The questions were endless.
Rebecca insisted she had no idea she could expose sensitive material through her computer. In fact, she said she had no idea anyone could access her computer externally; she believed she was only using the software to listen to music while she worked. Although she signed an employee handbook acknowledging that downloading software was against company policy, I did not believe she would have risked committing career suicide by being careless with patient data.
We would one day learn that more than 450 million other computers in the world were also vulnerable. We now assumed that Rebecca’s computer was the gateway Boback used to get the file; it seemed obvious but we had no concrete proof.
So what the hell just happened? We needed answers and we needed them now, so we turned back to Robert Boback to see how many more cards he would show in his quest to “help us out.”
<begin test>
Rep. Yarmouth: Do you think that users that download P2P software applications are being tricked into sharing files that they would not ordinarily share?
Sydnor: Yes. They are inadvertently sharing files they do not intend to share. In the report we attempt to explain why, although the user does not intend that result, that result may have been intended by others. That is not a question we purport to be able to answer based on the publicly available data that we were able to review. But the short answer is yes, people are making catastrophic mistakes with these programs . . . That is also a very important part of the problem, and people who do not want to be distributors of pirated goods on these networks should be able to make that choice and have it be very easy, and right now it is simply not.1

Thomas D. Sydnor, II, Testifying before the US House of Representatives,
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
to Representative John Yarmouth, R-KY.

Book Trailer


By Lynda Dickson
In The Devil Inside the Beltway, Michael J. Daugherty tells his remarkable story of the powers of the government over the "little people". This is an example of government bureaucracy at its finest. After being unfairly treated by the Federal Trade Commission, Michael undertakes a David and Goliath fight for the future of his company, LabMD; all the while with lawyers out to bill him for all they can get.
This is a well-written, compelling, true life account that reads like a thriller. The dialogue is at times stilted, the narrative is a bit repetitive, and it's a bit long at over 500 pages including endnotes, bibliography, and supporting documents throughout. However, it always remains a page-turner. Michael presents a compelling argument against the abuse of power by a government department. My only concern is that the story is one-sided, and I'm not sure of the ethical implications of writing a book about ongoing legal proceedings. It will be interesting to see how the other parties involved react to this publication.
Unfortunately, this book finishes before the story ends - because the end has not yet happened. I hope it all works out in Michael's favor, and I look forward to reading the next installment in his ongoing saga.
To quote the author's favorite dictionary, the Merriam-Webster, the "Beltway" is the "political and social world of Washinton D.C.". The "Devil inside the Beltway" refers to the Federal Trade Commission, a government body that has become a law unto itself, with no checks and balances to keep it under control.

About the Author
Michael J. Daugherty is President & CEO of LabMD, a cancer detection facility based in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael has just released his first book, The Devil Inside the Beltway. A nonfiction thriller with themes of cyber security, government overreach, and American small business.
Outside of LabMD, Michael enjoys playing tennis, travel, and flying his Cirrus SR22 Turbo single engine aircraft. He is a member of the University of Michigan Alumni Association, the Atlanta Aero Club, and the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Michael holds a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He has resided in Atlanta since 1987, when he moved there from Portland, Oregon.