[ISN] Broader surveillance won't prevent terrorism -Schneier

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Sep 27 2001 - 02:09:42 PDT

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    By John Leyden
    Posted: 26/09/2001 at 14:31 GMT
    The clamour for the introduction of wider surveillance measures has
    been deafening in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks.
    To date, opponents against such moves have argued mostly for civil
    liberties reasons. But the case against can also be made on the
    grounds that more surveillance simply won't work.
    That's the analysis of Bruce Schneier, founder and chief technology
    officer of Counterpane Internet Security, who says the failure to
    anticipate the September 11 attacks was one of data interpretation,
    not data collection.
    Speaking today at the Information Security Solution Europe conference
    in London, Schneier drew parallels between Internet security and
    physical security to make his point that more widespread monitoring is
    in itself unlikely to prevent terrorism.
    "You can either build a system right or build it wrong and watch
    everybody," said Schneier. "Broad surveillance is generally the sign
    of a badly designed system of security."
    Instead of relying on collecting more data (signals intelligence),
    counter terrorism agencies should put more effort into human
    "The Stasi collected data on four million East Germans, roughly one
    fourth of their population. Yet they failed to predict the fall of the
    Berlin Wall because they invested too heavily in data collection and
    too little in data interpretation and human intelligence," Schneier
    He said it was possible to increase security without taking away
    privacy and liberty and encouraged people to look for real answers to
    the problem of terrorism, which he admitted was far from
    straightforward. He suggested combing prevention, detection, and
    response to achieve something approaching robust and resilient
    security was the best we could hope for.
    There's a chance to redesign our "public infrastructures for
    security", according to Schneier. We wonder if this root-and-branch
    option will be adopted. reg;
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