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Bruce Schneier speaks

Published by marco on

Bruce Schneier, an extremely well known security and cryptography expert, examines ways of preventing future attacks and debunks several proposals by the U.S. government as placatives without real merit.

<q>Computer security experts have a lot of expertise that can be applied to the real world. First and foremost, we have well-developed senses of what security looks like. We can tell the difference between real security and snake oil. And the new airport security rules, put in place after September 11, look and smell a whole lot like snake oil.</q>

In particular, the measures taken at airports don’t hold up to analysis and are obviously the motions of a bureaucracy desperate to appear as if it’s doing something.

<q>All the warning signs are there: new and unproven security measures, no real threat analysis, unsubstantiated security claims. The ban on cutting instruments is a perfect example. It’s a knee-jerk reaction: the terrorists used small knives and box cutters, so we must ban them. And nail clippers, nail files, cigarette lighters, scissors (even small ones), tweezers, etc. But why isn’t anyone asking the real questions: what is the threat, and how does turning an airplane into a kindergarten classroom reduce the threat? If the threat is hijacking, then the countermeasure doesn’t protect against all the myriad of ways people can subdue the pilot and crew. Hasn’t anyone heard of karate? Or broken bottles? Think about hiding small blades inside luggage. Or composite knives that don’t show up on metal detectors.</q>

Make sure to check out the latest issue of Counterpane: Crypto-gram for the full story.



marco (updated by marco)

Speaking of security, where were the FBI and CIA? Sure, once this disaster occurred, they pop their heads out and demand that we didn’t give them enough money and/or leeway to do their jobs. We’ve given them trillions of dollars over the last few decades and they had <em>no idea anything was going to happen. From the Newsday, a letter (Sleeping Securely) puts it well:

<q>The campaign to get all of us to rally round the flag has prevented the public from asking questions about our internal “security” system. In the past 50 years, trillions of dollars have been put into the military, the FBI, CIA, etc., supposedly to protect our population from attack. Were all these agencies asleep on Sept. 11? They must be held responsible; they have not done their job. Now we are being told that if we just give them more big bucks, and let them shred what’s left of the Bill of Rights, then they can protect us.</q>

<q>Instead of investigating why we have not been protected by these agencies, Congress is planning to inflict horrendous damage to our civil liberties. Wasn’t this country founded by dissenters? Isn’t free speech one of those rights that our country stands for?</q>

<q>We must stop allowing the media to scare us and make us sheep. Our congressional representatives must hear that we are not willing to give up our rights. They must also hear our demands for an investigation into how many of our “protectors” were asleep at switch.</q>