The Samovar

A recommendation
May 14, 2007, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Civil Liberties, Economics, Politics, Risk, Security, Security Theater

For those of you who haven’t already found it, Bruce Schneier’s blog is a must-read for anyone who has an interest in privacy and security. He presents rigorously analysed, rational views in an extremely easy to read manner. As an example, one of his most useful concepts is “security theater” defined by wikipedia as “security countermeasures that provide the feeling of security while doing little or nothing actually to improve security”. It’s a description that perfectly encapsulates a lot of policy since the WTC attacks.

His latest article – Does secrecy help protect personal information? – is a good illustration:

Personal information protection is an economic problem, not a security problem. And the problem can be easily explained: The organizations we trust to protect our personal information do not suffer when information gets exposed. On the other hand, individuals who suffer when personal information is exposed don’t have the capability to protect that information.

Credit card companies make more money extending easy credit and making it trivial for customers to use their cards than they lose from fraud. They won’t improve their security as long as you (and not they) are the one who suffers from identity theft. It’s the same for banks and brokerages: As long as you’re the one who suffers when your account is hacked, they don’t have any incentive to fix the problem.


I may have already mentioned my Flaming Pie favourites:
“Turkish Pussy” and
“Greasy Baps”

(note to self – send Dan the FP archive for rehosting)

Comment by Edward the Bonobo

Eek! How did that comment end up attached to the wrong posting?

Comment by Edward the Bonobo

Is WordPress playing up? Where should this have gone? Not sure if I can move comments.

Comment by thesamovar

Meant to be in the ‘Week in searching’

Comment by Edward the Bonobo

Got it! 🙂

Comment by thesamovar

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