Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bruce Schneier on security

Bruce Schneier’s blog “Schneier on Security” covers everything from cryptography to terrorism and in this day and age I would call it a “must read” for every American. Period.

He’s pretty level headed and many of his posts talk about how the government uses “movie-plot threats” to keep people afraid and to appear as if they are doing something useful.

Anyway, he has a new article on CNN that I would consider required reading, so read it. :D Here’s one of the many money quotes:

“But even as we do all of this we cannot neglect the feeling of security, because it's how we collectively overcome the psychological damage that terrorism causes. It's not security theater we need, it's direct appeals to our feelings. The best way to help people feel secure is by acting secure around them. Instead of reacting to terrorism with fear, we -- and our leaders -- need to react with indomitability, the kind of strength shown by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II.

By not overreacting, by not responding to movie-plot threats, and by not becoming defensive, we demonstrate the resilience of our society, in our laws, our culture, our freedoms. There is a difference between indomitability and arrogant "bring 'em on" rhetoric. There's a difference between accepting the inherent risk that comes with a free and open society, and hyping the threats.

We should treat terrorists like common criminals and give them all the benefits of true and open justice -- not merely because it demonstrates our indomitability, but because it makes us all safer.

Once a society starts circumventing its own laws, the risks to its future stability are much greater than terrorism.”

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1 comment:

  1. Having spent most of my life in the military, specifically in the security and intelligence fields, hunting these bastards on their own turf, I can say with authority that Schneier is spot on.

    Terrorism works because people allow themselves to be terrorized. Period.

    Don't give in to fear, hysteria, rhetoric, or panic and you deny the terrorist his one and only weapon. These are small men who trade in fear, trying them in civilian court as common criminals is the single worst insult and mark of disrespect you could levy on them. Treating them as a legitimate power, i.e. trying them in military court, accords them the very respect and recognition they so desperately crave.

    Try them in civil court, convict them, and throw them into the general population at Sing Sing or Folsom and see how long they last. I suspect it won't be past the first shower.