Bruce Schneier shares security ideas at museum

“Security theater” lecture complements photography exhibit showcasing images of fear, safety and liberty in post-9/11 America

Convergence will occur naturally as people become more informed -- and populate their "cognitive model" with factual information about actual risks and effective countermeasures. Of course, Schneier reminded the audience, it's not that simple since the public is exposed to skewed data depending on the agendas of those providing information, whether it's the media reporting sensational stories, politicians looking to secure their own careers, vendors looking to sell their products and so on.

Having an agenda doesn't make someone malicious, but it illustrates the fact that security trade-offs -- what someone is willing to risk vs. invest -- are personal, Schneier said. "Different stakeholders will evaluate security trade-offs differently, and that makes sense," he said.

"Very often security trade-offs are made for nonsecurity reasons," he added, citing as an example news that broke this week that the United States is outsourcing the printing of passports to a company in Thailand. "From a security perspective it's a really dumb idea -- but think of the savings," he quipped.

Following his talk, the standing-room-only crowd peppered Schneier with questions about surveillance cameras ("At best cameras seem to move crime around," he said), electronic voting systems ("Even if there is no manipulation, if there is the perception of, the likelihood of, the chance of, or the belief of manipulation, then the acceptance of the accuracy of the election is suddenly a problem."), global warming and more.

One attendee voiced that he agreed with nearly everything Schneier said -- which the attendee said made him profoundly pessimistic when thinking about the agendas of today's society.

Schneier responded by saying there's cause for optimism: "I'm not a pessimist -- even though I have all the information that I just shared with you -- because in general the system works, the system does tend to converge on reality," he said. Society has a history of managing new risks, getting used to new a technology and normalizing it, he said. But it takes time.

"I tend to be short-term pessimistic and long-term optimistic."

Schneier's most recent book is Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly about Security in an Uncertain World.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ann Bednarz

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?