The debut of the federal government's computerized health insurance exchanges has been a fiasco of epic scale, so much so that the president is encouraging enrollment by phone. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on the website, healthcare.gov, with more money coming and no guarantee it'll get much better.
Interviews with some of those who built the website, and reviews of the technical specifications, “found a mind-numbingly complex system put together by harried programmers,” The Associated Press reported. President Barack Obama is promising a “tech surge” involving outside help to get things turned around.
In short, healthcare.gov has been a picture of government bungling. But that doesn't mean the feds can't handle other complicated, highly technical challenges. A recent arrest by the FBI provides an example.
Federal prosecutors believe Ross Ulbricht, 29, of San Francisco, was the architect of a black market website called Silk Road. USA Today called it “the cyber-underworld's largest black market, with $1.2 billion in sales and nearly a million customers.” Available on the site: guns, drugs, fake documents including passports and driver's licenses — even forgers and hit men.