&quoSecurity&quo Co-opted by Business Interests

Posted 15 Sep 2003 at 16:35 UTC by AlanHorkan Share This

Not so much an article as a few paragraphs I really liked, quoted from the April Issue of Bruce Schneiers Cryptogram. This extract discusses how security is used as a excuse to do other things that don't have anything to do with security.

A couple of weeks ago I [Bruce Schneier] was listening to a baseball game on the radio. The announcer was talking about the new antiterrorism security countermeasures at the ballpark. One of them, he said, was that people are not allowed to bring bottles and cans into the park with them.

This is, of course, ridiculous. The prohibition against bringing outside drinks into the park has nothing to do with terrorism. The park wants people to buy drinks from their concession stands, at inflated prices, and to not be able to undercut those prices by bringing in drinks from outside.

This is an example of a non-security agenda co-opting a security countermeasure, and it happens a lot. Airlines were in favor of the photo ID requirement not because of some vague threat of terrorism, but because it killed the practice of reselling nonrefundable tickets. Hotels make a copy of your driver's license not because of security, but because they want your information for their marketing database.

Security decisions are always about more than security. When trying to evaluate a particular decision, always pay attention to the non-security agendas of the people involved.

Cryptogram is Copyright Bruce Schneir, I figure this extract is short enough to count as fair use, if you found this interesting I recommend you check out his other writings.

Abusers of the GNU World. , posted 16 Sep 2003 at 11:19 UTC by mdupont » (Master)

Hey Alan, good to see you posting here as well.

The abuse of the trends in society knows no bounds, the introduction of free software has just given the abusers more place to hide in.

The introduction of the Euro was also good reason for the Europeans to make everything more expensive.

The success of Open Source has tempted companies like RedHat to try and license non-free courseware that is against the free software spirit.

The media around open source has tempted slashdot and va linux to accept targeted advertising from Microsoft.

Realnetworks now even says that is supports "open standards-based desktop", yet is pushing its patented file formats in an attempt to lull us into believing them.

The DotGnu Project says that they are fighting microsofts patents by providing a viable alternative, yet they are implementing windows controls that could very well fall under the microsoft patent, and paying developers to do such.

The GCC project is fighting to prevent documentation and usage of the internal tree ASTS.

In the end, we the public are ones losing. Our trust is abused by companies that are trying to make a quick buck.

I think we need a critisim of the practices of these large organisations that claim to be support free software, but are just trying to abuse the customers trust in the end.


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