During the debate this evening, presidential hopeful (and former HP executive) Carly Fiorina surprised us all by asking that we “tear down that cyberwall”. Especially Russian and Chinese cyberwalls. WTF?
Fiorina’s response came after a bizarre question about how terrorists “hide behind cyberwalls.”
Immediately, Twitter seized upon the new meme. It was especially exciting for those Fourth Estate types. Cyberwalls! A new terrible idea! Journalist Ezra Klein seemed delighted, but also perplexed:
Can anyone link me to a good explanation of this cyberwall issue?
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) August 6, 2015
Luckily Klein’s writer Timothy Lee at Vox was on the case (apparently he wasn’t kidding, which makes me feel sad and yet happy for him I guess):
Cyberwall explainer coming up.
— Timothy B. Lee (@binarybits) August 6, 2015
Other journalists quickly jumped in with some explanatory photographs.
photo of islamists hiding behind a cyberwall pic.twitter.com/BQmWjQyASS
— Ben Mathis-Lilley (@BenMathisLilley) August 6, 2015
me at my cyberwall pic.twitter.com/aQSCRJi54S
— Alex Fitzpatrick (@AlexJamesFitz) August 6, 2015
Then Yahoo News correspondent Alyssa Bereznak and I threw in some additional thoughts.
if i have to climb a cyberwall, i’ll climb a cyberwall
— alyssa bereznak (@alyssabereznak) August 6, 2015
And after all…you’re my cyberwall. #debate
— Annalee Newitz (@Annaleen) August 6, 2015
Pretty soon we had some good suggestions for what to do with a cyberwall.
Hey, why don't we build a cyberwall on the Cyber-Mexican border? I bet that's a lot cheaper than a real wall
— Theo Syslack (@TheoSyslack) August 6, 2015
Tear down the cyberwall and use it to build the Keystone pipeline!
— Luke Johnson (@johnson) August 6, 2015
None of us were quite sure of the origin of the phrase “tear down this cyberwall”, but maybe it came from Reagan’s famous speech to Gorbachev? Or possibly elsewhere?
"Tear down this cyberwall, Mr. Gorbachev."
— Wanda (@itsWanda) August 6, 2015
MR. LARRY PAGE, TEAR DOWN THIS CYBERWALL
— Ryan Sims (@ryangsims) August 6, 2015
"Mr. Zuckerberg, tear down this cyberwall." #GOPdebate
— Andy McWhorter (@AndyMcWhorter) August 6, 2015
Anyway, I hope our fine commentary on Twitter makes you feel better prepared to understand the big issues coming up this election season.