RE: CISSP Question

Hello James,
The issue is that you should be contacting ISC2. James, you are in
effect making assertions as to the legal status of ISC2. They are a
member controlled non-profit organisation. You are in effect asserting
that they may be engaged in some impropriety and in effect squandering
member's funds on illegitimate endeavours.

What you have done is in effect defamation on a public forum.

Published defamation is called libel. There are several defences,
1 what you said was true;
2 you had a duty to provide information.

If you had discovered that the books are not correct for ISC2, it could
be argued that you have a duty to make a statement, you may be protected
under the defence of "qualified privilege." However, this is not the
case in your statements.

You are making implications and innuendos and implying that these are
the truth. The facts are readily available and are publicly audited.
Rather however than obtain the information, you have decided to state
that people who are not in agreement with your tactics are
unprofessional and can not have a rational discourse.

I would argue that a professional would obtain the facts prior to making
assertions and than only make assertion if and when any impropriety is

"Bitching" about certifications is one thing. When this degrades into a
petty slinging match about an external third party, this is another

If you wish to denigrate ISC2, I would expect that you demonstrate some
of the professionalism that you purport to hold and first check the
facts. Or to put this in another format that may be easier to understand
(as much as I hate analogy). On gaining a new client do you rant and
spread FUD as they have product X which has been known to have
vulnerabilities in the past, or do you test the system first and when
finding nothing, report that.

One of the key tenants of professionalism is ethical behaviour.
Spreading implications and innuendos as the truth is unethical.

In a classic formulation approved by Geopel J. of Supreme Court of
British Columbia CA, a communication is defamatory if it "tends to harm
the reputation of another so as to lower [him, her or it] in the
estimation of the community or deter third persons from associating or
dealing with them."

"If the defamatory communication takes a permanent or semi-permanent
form - that is, if it is written, or spoken while being recorded or
filmed such that it is preserved in some way - then it is libel, and
actionable without proof of actual pecuniary loss. If it is spoken only,
then it takes the form of slander and, with some exceptions, only the
economic losses that can be proven to have resulted from the false
communication can be recovered.

Defamatory imputations that depend on an interplay between the impugned
words and the facts and circumstances that surround their publication
fall, at law, into the category of "true innuendo'."

You have attempted without recourse to the truth or facts (which are as
stated available) to impugn an organisation where you have no proof or
duty to do so. This is libellous. I hope that you are clever enough to
desist on this line of discussion.

There is a rather large line between arguing that certification is not
of value as you started and defaming the reputation of a respected

I do not care if you like ISC2 or not. This is not discussion or debate.
It is mud slinging and belongs in a gutter.

Craig S Wright

Craig Wright
Manager of Information Systems

Direct +61 2 9286 5497
+61 417 683 914

BDO Kendalls (NSW)
Level 19, 2 Market Street Sydney NSW 2000
GPO BOX 2551 Sydney NSW 2001
Fax +61 2 9993 9497

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-----Original Message-----

From: listbounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:listbounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Simmons, James
Sent: Wednesday, 16 May 2007 3:45 AM
To: david.a.harley@xxxxxxxxx
Cc: security-basics@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: CISSP Question

Have I ever said anything specific about everyone who has a CISSP?
Please present my quote? I understand that people will do what they can
to obtain work, make more money, what ever. I have never said anything
against that. My WHOLE point is that this industry is placing too much
emphasis on certifications, and that a lot of them are flawed or
suspect. That is where all this started. If anyone has found anything
that I say insulting, then they are just projecting my words upon
themselves for no reason. I have stated scenarios were unqualified
individuals see these certification as a fast track to more money. Did
that hit a never with you? Do you perceive yourself as one of those, so
you take offence?
I have stated that HR uses certification as a cookie cutter
qualification for filling positions. Are you HR? Did you take offence to
that? Maybe it was my point that a lot of management do not understand
what to look for in a certification, and thus go with the most popular.
Are you guilty of this? Is this why you think I am attacking you?

I am not attacking any one person, because honestly I do not care about
your personal life. I am looking to raise some questions, feel out the
community, and obtain different point of views. I have received a lot of
good e-mails from people, and a few varied responses. I have ran into
very few people who are actually willing to defend certifications, let
alone engage in a discussion about the validity of them. I am pointing
out oddities I see in the industry. You can either correct them if you
have the proof or the reasoning, or you can add in your own opinions and
start a civilized discussion/debate.

I know nothing of anyone on this forum, just as much as anyone on this
forum knows anything about me. I am not here for friends. I am here to
have a civilized discussion, and get the view points of the people that
frequent this mailing list. That is the purpose of this mailing list. If
you have too thin of skin, that you take these comments as personal
attacks, then maybe the tubes is not a place for you.
And again I will quote myself since no one seems to want to read it.
Since I will have to send off and wait for the tax information for I
cannot say much at >>this time in the way of where the money is going.

My figures I quoted are called estimates. They were presented to
continue the discussion until I can obtain the final numbers. But
instead of either trying to correct the estimate, I am berated by not
using the real number, which I, time and time again, say that I am
trying to obtain. I am not saying that I am leaving it up to anyone else
to obtain for me (because honestly I would not trust anyone else's
numbers without a reputable source link anyways). I am just pointing out
that instead of attacking me someone can continue the conversation with
a rebuttal, be it with actual figures or corrected estimates.

I have enjoyed and learned a lot from this discussion based on the
positive feedback. David, I have to say that I am not attacking you
personally and if you perceive it that way, then I can only hope that
you will understand that it is not my intention.
If anyone finds anything wrong with what I say, then I encourage them to
write me offline and I will write a retraction, or at least address the
issue and try to make my point clear against misunderstandings. In fact
I am still waiting for my retraction to be posted where I misquoted $30
million dollars annually, when it is really $5 million annually in dues

I need you to understand that I am not attacking anyone that has the
certifications. They are doing what they believe they need to. That is
understandable if not noble. It is just the whole idea of the group
mentality, I am attacking something that you are apart of and so by
association you believe that I am attack you. I am not. There is no
innuendo, just estimates. If you have a problem with my estimates, then
present your own. I tried to present them fairly in that I did not
account for a lot of the money that is coming in. I did that as an

So I hope we can continue this discussion, because I value the other
sides input. It prepares me for my presentation / debate I will be
submitting. So I am looking for someone to put holes in my argument, and
not make it a personal battle.



-----Original Message-----
From: David Harley [mailto:david.a.harley@xxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 9:58 AM
To: Simmons, James; 'Craig Wright'
Cc: security-basics@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: CISSP Question

As I stated before the $24 million was a gross UNDER estimate. You can

easily see when I were I was disclosing my figures were I was making
the UNDER estimates, and how in reality they would come out to far
more then I quoted. If you have an issue with my figures, then refute

I know, I said I had nothing to add to this discussion, but this is

If I do have anything, it isn't a defence of (ISC)2. If you believe that
their claim to be a non-profit organization is dishonest, it's up to you
to prove it with real figures: it's not up to Craig or myself to
disprove it: I have other priorities. If you want to know about their
finances, there are better ways than posting here. Innuendo is not

Making unsubstantiated allegations against SANS and (ISC)2 doesn't prove
anything about the value of any of their certs, and I'm tired of being
dissed, directly or obliquely, because I hold one of them.

David Harley CISSP, Small Blue-Green World Security
AVIEN Guide to Malware:
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