Monday, January 04, 2010

Schneier On Security

Bruce Schneier, an aviation security expert, joined me on KIRO/Seattle this morning to talk about the still-changing response to the failed attempt for blow up Northwest 253 on Christmas.

We talked about whether the full body scanners now being deployed worldwide will truly help us catch an Al Qaeda member intent on creating mayhem, and which methods would be more effective in protecting us.

We also discussed a report out of England that quotes Kevin Murphy, an executive at a company that makes body scanners (Qinetiq), as saying that the devices would not have sensed the chemical ingredients that Umar Abdulmutallab had in his underwear when he boarded the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

I found myself wondering what Murphy's colleagues said to him when his quote appeared in the paper? Think they were happy that he could potentially hurt sales at a time when governments and security agencies intent on preventing the next undie-bomber are lining up around the block to buy those scanners? More importantly, why is everyone investing so much money in technology that won't really help?

It's all part of what Schneier called "security theater," a facade of procedures designed to make you feel safe without really protecting you.

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Bruce Schneier's latest book is "Schneier On Security."