Quote of the day—Bruce Schneier

If you ask amateurs to act as front-line security personnel, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get amateur security.

Bruce Schneier
May 9, 2016
Economist Detained for Doing Math on an Airplane
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

16 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Bruce Schneier

  1. But he’s wrong. The problem isn’t that we have amateurs; the problem is that we have government security. so we get government quality results.

  2. More to the point, I think; if you have amateurs as frontline security, a bunch of twerps who’ve been elevated to a status and pay level far beyond their abilities, you have loyal supporters, and probably your own private army. On top of all that you have a way to irritate and thereby program the citizenry.

    If you think any of this is about making airplanes safer, you are definitely missing the point and are several steps behind in the chess game. The comment from Daniel over there got it right;
    “The point of ‘see something, say something’ is to condition citizens to accept a culture of continuous surveillance, to make everyone an arm of the panopticon against everyone else.”

    And it works like a charm.

      • I like what you did there, and you are of course correct, that is, if I install my own interpretations of; tune in (to what?), turn on (to what?), drop out (of what?) and assume you meant the same things. Like “Hopee Changee” the reader or listener fills in the giant blanks.

        So I’ll give it a go. Tune into and turn onto what we’ll call the libertarian system, which has it’s roots in the Judeo/Christian narrative and upon which the U.S.A. was founded.

        Drop out of the authoritarian system (the dark side) which is based on pressure, irritation and intimidation as means to power over others and the wealth and pleasure that it is imagined comes from power over others. It is sold to the inattentive via the lie that it is the path to peace, safety, security, stability and lack of want (salvation) when in fact it is the opposite of all those things.

        There, I said it. Maybe you meant something else entirely. If so, you might could spell it out as I have done.

        It’s time we think of doing away with the practice of speaking in codes, or at least being more straight forward more often. With the ascension of Trump, I have come to realize that what I thought people were talking about for the last ten years turned out to be something else, mostly foreign to me. I learned that some who would have been counted among my friends would in fact turn on me in an instant, rat me out, etc., for supporting that which I thought we all agreed needed supported. It turns out to have been an association game. Ride the wagon, get off, burn the wagon, jump on the next one. Which ever wagon has the party and the food and drink on it.

        And so that is why when I see “tune in, turn on” etc. I have to realize that what you’re saying may turn out to be the opposite of what I thought you were saying, and I had just implanted my wishes into the empty scaffold.

        Maybe you want to pop acid, hook up with a Lucifarian cult, get naked and dance in the woods around a human sacrifice, trying to bring about the coming of the twelfth imam or some dumb horseshit. Then you could gloat over the fact that I replied with a hearty, “Right on, Man!” without having a clue as to what you meant. What do I really know?

        • You’re pretty close, I meant tune in to what is really happening, turn on your brain, and drop out of the authoritarian system.

          The point was that for this system to work, it requires people who are willing to do its dirty work–i.e., rat out their neighbors–just like in the old Soviet Union. Eventually people wised up and stopped doing it there, and they can do the same thing here too.

    • I think “Scott Romanowski” (right under “Daniel”) has a point in his comment:

      All it would have taken is one member of the flight crew asking Dr. Medal [sic] what he was doing. Instead, it seems that they blindly accepted one woman’s claim.

      Maybe this will become a new terrorist tactic — don’t do anything yourselves, just report random people.

      Count on this becoming a new terrorist tactic, as a part of larger overall strategies: Report random people, knowing the “authorities” will have to investigate. It will achieve two aims: 1. It will slow transit and commerce to a crawl, with no appreciable benefit for Western society or expenditure by the terrorists; and 2. It will decrease the signal-to-noise ratio, helping violent terrorists do their thing undetected while the authorities are otherwise occupied dealing with harmless economics professors and little old ladies.

      The people who constitute real threats have nothing to lose and much to gain (even if it’s just a quick chuckle) by adding this to their repertoire.

      • Even a very small percentage of false positives are a huge problem in security. This is because you are dealing with such huge numbers of benign “incidents”. If there are 700 million plane passengers per year and 0.01% are erroneously flagged and have to be investigated that is 70K per year.

        Security, in a large part, is about eliminating false positives so you can concentrate on finding the false negatives and dealing with the true positives.

      • It seems like this sort of tactic is already the norm. Consider the number of false “bomb threats” that are called in. It seems they are quite popular at high schools (at least in Massachusetts). It doesn’t help when these things are labeled “prank” rather than “felony”.

  3. Pingback: Quote of the day—Mark Kelly | The View From North Central Idaho

  4. Look on the bright side. The “alert” was recognized as false, and the wrongly detained “suspect” was cleared and allowed to go on his way. After a government “idiot” recognized that math is not necessarily a secret code (even though it could be).
    So I guess if you’re TSA, you’re damned if you do (by wrongly holding someone) and damned if you don’t (by clearing an innocent party after an investigation).
    The press never differentiates between wrongful arrest (made with malice), false arrest (made on the basis of falsified evidence), and wrong arrest (made by mistake). In this case, a wrong detention was corrected, with no harm done.
    TSA didn’t initiate the contact; they just followed up on a citizen complaint. If you want to blame someone, blame the citizen.

    • I don’t see the problem. Since the TSA has no right to exist in the first place, any abuse heaped on it is fine by me.

    • On the “no harm done”, I beg to differ. While admittedly the victim did not get injured this time, he certainly was inconvenienced and threatened by individuals acting under color of authority. He was arrested without a warrant.
      There are several major problems here: an arrest carried out by individuals without any Constitutional authority, and without a legal warrant. The TSA person should face major legal consequences for infringement on constitutional liberties. And the complaining “citizen” should face similar consequences for “swatting”.

  5. Does he really think the ‘professionals’ (sic) with the TSA can do any better?

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