Friday, December 17, 2010

The Inmates have Taken Over the Asylum: Airport Security

Here's what security technologist and author Bruce Schneier has to say in the NYT about airport security:i
A short history of airport security: We screen for guns and bombs, so the terrorists use box cutters. We confiscate box cutters and corkscrews, so they put explosives in their sneakers. We screen footwear, so they try to use liquids. We confiscate liquids, so they put PETN bombs in their underwear. We roll out full-body scanners, even though they wouldn’t have caught the Underwear Bomber, so they put a bomb in a printer cartridge. We ban printer cartridges over 16 ounces — the level of magical thinking here is amazing — and they’re going to do something else.

This is a stupid game, and we should stop playing it. (For more)
One thing that Schneier doesn't mention is that one of the most pervasive voices on the tube promoting the full-body scanners is former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff. One thing Chertoff never mentions when he appears - as an expert - on these TV news shows is that one of the customers of his firm, The Chertoff Group, is the manufacturer of the full body scanners - Rapiscan. Conflict of interest you say. Ah well, that's capitalism. Here's a CNN video on Chertoff, Rapiscan & airport security. It's definitely worth a look

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