Schneier on Security
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February 13, 2006
Secure Flight Suspended
The TSA has announced that Secure Flight, its comprehensive program to match airline passangers against terrorist watch lists, has been suspended:
And because of security concerns, the government is going back to the drawing board with the program called Secure Flight after spending nearly four years and $150 million on it, the Senate Commerce Committee was told.
I have written about this program extensively, most recently here. It's an absolute mess in every way, and doesn't make us safer.
But don't think this is the end. Under Section 4012 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, Congress mandated the TSA put in place a program to screen every domestic passenger against the watch list. Until Congress repeals that mandate, these postponements and suspensions are the best we can hope for. Expect it all to come back under a different name -- and a clean record in the eyes of those not paying close attention -- soon.
EDITED TO ADD (2/15): Ed Felton has some good commentary:
Instead of sticking to this more modest plan, Secure Flight became a vehicle for pie-in-the-sky plans about data mining and automatic identification of terrorists from consumer databases. As the program’s goals grew more ambitious and collided with practical design and deployment challenges, the program lost focus and seemed to have a different rationale and plan from one month to the next.
Posted on February 13, 2006 at 6:09 AM
• 16 Comments
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“Once again the vampire’s been driven back into its coffin,��? [Bill Scannell, a privacy advocate who manages the Web site UnSecureFlight.com] said. “Whether the administration is willing to shoot it with a silver bullet is another question.��?
This seems like a typical beauracratic mistake -- using the solution to one problem (werewolves) in an attempt to solve another (vampires), which then, surprise surprise, doesn't work. :)
when will they realise that there is no way to win by making the world an unfriendlier place?
the terror attacks of 911 should have been a clear sign that the powerful have become too cosy and distant from the weak, of whom there are many.
the powerful cannot live without the weak on whom they feed, wasn't this all figured out in the 60s-70s-80s?
only by giving the liberty they pay lip-service to, and lessening their grip on the booty, can the powerful contribute to fostering feelings of safety and generosity.
how many time must we say 'the terrorists have already won'? compulsory ID this, watch-list that, security-camera the other ... is just forcing those who seek liberty away from the rich and towards the shelter of the poor who have at least liberty.
a situation with many rich, powerful, xenophobes guard watchfully against the threat of many poor guided by desperate libertarians is going to lead where? i think we are finding out.
Good point. We would need a way to add names to the list without distracting the FBI; after all they have useful work to do and since the submission itself would have been a lead gathered through humint, would deserve being followed up on.
As of yesterday, there is probably "Bob.*" on the list. No one who buys an airline ticket who's first name is Bob can ever fly again. Unless they are a terrorist in which case they can merely by a ticket as "Robert.*" or "Bob X.*" and they can then fly unrestricted. But even thats not a problem because the ROE now is NOBODY GETS IN THE COCKPIT. The worst they could do is blow up the plane itself - and Bin Laden himself took the teeth out of that possibility because of his overwhelming success on 9/11 - blowing up "merely" an airliner post 9/11 would probably be seen as relatively trivial and not make much news.
Eldan: Thats why I started with DC. then I realized the responsible parties probably arent listed in that book. How about we use the congressional register first?
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