An oldie but a goodie
By suncpo on Oct 29, 2009
I was clearing out my email box when I came across this little gem from the lovely Bruce Schneier. There something about that guy that I just like and I think I amuse him so that makes me happy too.
Check out his musings on the old fashioned notion of Security v. Privacy rather than private data secured appropriately to type place & time:
Security vs. Privacy
If there's a debate that sums up post-9/11 politics, it's security versus
privacy. Which is more important? How much privacy are you willing to give
up for security? Can we even afford privacy in this age of insecurity?
Security versus privacy: It's the battle of the century, or at least its
In a Jan. 21 New Yorker article, Director of National Intelligence Michael
McConnell discusses a proposed plan to monitor all -- that's right, all --
internet communications for security purposes, an idea so extreme that the
word "Orwellian" feels too mild.
The article (now online here) contains this passage:
In order for cyberspace to be policed, internet activity will have to be
closely monitored. Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan,
said that would mean giving the government the authority to examine the
content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search. "Google has records
that could help in a cyber-investigation," he said. Giorgio warned me, "We
have a saying in this business: 'Privacy and security are a zero-sum
I'm sure they have that saying in their business. And it's precisely why,
when people in their business are in charge of government, it becomes a
police state. If privacy and security really were a zero-sum game, we
would have seen mass immigration into the former East Germany and
modern-day China. While it's true that police states like those have less
street crime, no one argues that their citizens are fundamentally more
We've been told we have to trade off security and privacy so often -- in
debates on security versus privacy, writing contests, polls, reasoned
essays and political rhetoric -- that most of us don't even question the
But it's a false one.
Security and privacy are not opposite ends of a seesaw; you don't have to
accept less of one to get more of the other. Think of a door lock, a
burglar alarm and a tall fence. Think of guns, anti-counterfeiting
measures on currency and that dumb liquid ban at airports. Security
affects privacy only when it's based on identity, and there are
limitations to that sort of approach.
Since 9/11, approximately three things have potentially improved airline
security: reinforcing the cockpit doors, passengers realizing they have to
fight back and -- possibly -- sky marshals. Everything else -- all the
security measures that affect privacy -- is just security theater and a
waste of effort.
Spooky thoughts to all for a Happy Halloween. Ms. Thang is Nancy Drew & Sweet Cheeks (cheekier than ever) is a very very cute dragon this year. They both hate coconut so I'm hoping for lots of Almond Joy this year.