Beyond Security Theater

November 13, 2009

Bruce Schneier has another excellent essay (which originally appeared in the New Internationalist) posted at his “Schneier on Security” blog.  The first sentence on the page gives a concise summary of his argument:

We need to move beyond security measures that look good on television to those that actually work.

Schneier say nothing in this essay that he hasn’t said, usually numerous times, before; but this is one of the best overall summaries that he’s done.

We need to focus our attention on security measures that actually increase security.  This sounds obvious, and I guess it is; but I am still waiting for someone to explain to me how making sure that everyone in an office building / train / airplane has a photo ID makes me more secure.   We need to stop enabling the terrorists’ self-glorification projects, and treat them for what they are: criminals.  Most of all, as Schneier says, we must refuse to be terrorized.   A bunch of quasi-religious psychopaths hell-bent on building a bridge to the 7th century cannot destroy our society, no matter what they do; but we, by irrational over-reactions, just might manage it.

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