Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Security Expert on Random Bag Searches

This morning's bag checks at Braddock Rd. via @deafinthecity. "These were taken while I was on the platform. Once again, I was running late for work so I took the rail today. I was surprised they were doing bag checks at Braddock Road. I guess it's a high crime area and full of gangsta workers like myself.

Unsuck reached out to Bruce Schneier who, according to his website, is "an internationally renowned security technologist and author. Described by The Economist as a 'security guru,' he is best known as a refreshingly candid and lucid security critic and commentator. When people want to know how security really works, they turn to Schneier."

He wrote about random bag searches on his blog back in 2005, when the New York subway implemented them. Below is an excerpt from his post. He said in an email he'd not changed his opinion.
It's another "movie plot threat." It's another "public relations security system." It's a waste of money, it substantially reduces our liberties, and it won't make us any safer.

Final note: I often get comments along the lines of "Stop criticizing stuff; tell us what we should do." My answer is always the same. Counterterrorism is most effective when it doesn't make arbitrary assumptions about the terrorists' plans. Stop searching bags on the subways, and spend the money on 1) intelligence and investigation -- stopping the terrorists regardless of what their plans are, and 2) emergency response -- lessening the impact of a terrorist attack, regardless of what the plans are. Countermeasures that defend against particular targets, or assume particular tactics, or cause the terrorists to make insignificant modifications in their plans, or that surveil the entire population looking for the few terrorists, are largely not worth it.
Other items:
Metro to spend $1.2 million on guerrilla marketing (Examiner)
Board forms committee (Examiner)
Board members whine (WaPo)
Wonder how much stuff like this goes on (Washington Times)
Alert operator saves life (Examiner)
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