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Broader surveillance won't prevent terrorism -Schneier
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2001 04:09:42 -0500 (CDT)
By John Leyden
Posted: 26/09/2001 at 14:31 GMT
The clamour for the introduction of wider surveillance measures has
been deafening in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks.
To date, opponents against such moves have argued mostly for civil
liberties reasons. But the case against can also be made on the
grounds that more surveillance simply won't work.
That's the analysis of Bruce Schneier, founder and chief technology
officer of Counterpane Internet Security, who says the failure to
anticipate the September 11 attacks was one of data interpretation,
not data collection.
Speaking today at the Information Security Solution Europe conference
in London, Schneier drew parallels between Internet security and
physical security to make his point that more widespread monitoring is
in itself unlikely to prevent terrorism.
"You can either build a system right or build it wrong and watch
everybody," said Schneier. "Broad surveillance is generally the sign
of a badly designed system of security."
Instead of relying on collecting more data (signals intelligence),
counter terrorism agencies should put more effort into human
"The Stasi collected data on four million East Germans, roughly one
fourth of their population. Yet they failed to predict the fall of the
Berlin Wall because they invested too heavily in data collection and
too little in data interpretation and human intelligence," Schneier
He said it was possible to increase security without taking away
privacy and liberty and encouraged people to look for real answers to
the problem of terrorism, which he admitted was far from
straightforward. He suggested combing prevention, detection, and
response to achieve something approaching robust and resilient
security was the best we could hope for.
There's a chance to redesign our "public infrastructures for
security", according to Schneier. We wonder if this root-and-branch
option will be adopted. reg;
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- Broader surveillance won't prevent terrorism -Schneier InfoSec News (Sep 27)