wac February 12, 2006 3:32 PM

That’s the Seattle Times. The Washington Times is in D.C. and has a slightly different political leaning.

I was surprised by the Lyndon LaRouche hecklers at the talk. Hopefully that isn’t the reception everywhere.

Roy February 12, 2006 4:13 PM

Such large scale surveillance of course cannot meet its ostensible mission, so its proponents no doubt know this. The cover story is there to scare up the money and the authority to mount this attack on the public — both the civlian populace and the government itself. The real problem is the actual uses it will be turned to.

I don’t doubt some of my tax dollars will be spent on prying into the personal lives of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.

What I worry about is that such a huge database, when informed from one or more lists of enemies, will enable persecution and prosecution of ‘Them’ in the classic ‘Them-versus-Us’. It will also enable automation of enemies lists.

Note that ‘sedition’ has been making domestic news lately. Already arrests have been made.

Gregg February 12, 2006 6:57 PM

This isn’t new and the controversy is led by a parade of clowns who think tapping all is feasible. The US needs to monitor traffic of all types and like every major organization, knows the technolgy isn’t there. An American has more of a chance of having getting visited by martians, then having his line tapped by accident by a human sitting in Virginia. It’s all system driven, pushing database and search technology to it’s inept limit.

Yes, we have sacraficed freedom, but communication traffic is too overwhelming and it’s waxing in it’s size and viewability. Our freedom lies in the ocean of information created by all.

Ari Heikkinen February 12, 2006 8:32 PM

Nothing wrong with the content (if it’s correct), but listing “Bruce Schneier once worked for the Defense Department.” for credentials is kind of hilarious.

Anyways, I’d more or less say that giving people fancy technology tends to make them lazy and think less, which either results in too many false positives (which is probably good, as eventually that makes those people realize the technology don’t work and abandon it) or miss something real the technology missed, which would have been spotted had the person been more alert instead of staring at that “red led” of their new gadget.

Josh O February 12, 2006 11:20 PM


Nobody uses red LEDs anymore. Gadgets need blue LEDs to keep the authorities attention now. Prefferably, the entire device should glow with blue light. That’ll keep them busy.

Davi Ottenheimer February 13, 2006 12:59 AM

“widespread wiretapping programs produce so much information that it is essentially impossible to follow up on the leads”

That sounds oddly close to the Whitehouse position today on photographic evidence:

“The president has taken tens of thousands of pictures. This does not mean he has a personal relationship with each individual that is in those pictures.”

And for each picture, a thousand words…

Davi Ottenheimer February 13, 2006 1:29 AM

I was just reading that Cheney is not only bullish about his beliefs in the wiretap debacle, but he plans to take the issue squarely into the upcoming congressional elections:

“Cheney’s attitude seems to be: bring it on. Last week the veep told cheering activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that the White House intends to trumpet NSA wiretapping as a winning issue in the fall campaign. ‘With an important election coming up,’ said Cheney, ‘people need to know just how we view the most critical questions of national security and how we propose to defend the nation.'”

According to the AP, “Bush has been particularly successful at making his case to core supporters, including Republicans, white evangelicals and suburban men. Support in each category grew more than 10 percentage points in the last month.”

Might have to shave, cut-off that pony-tail, and carry a shotgun Bruce if you’re going to try and convince anyone in those groups…

Davi Ottenheimer February 13, 2006 1:44 AM

The article: “The security is not worth the cost because the computers generate too many false alarms, Schneier said.”

Yeah, that and data integrity issues.

Did you hear about what happened in Indiana when an external user supposedly stumbled upon a back-door into a property assessment database?,0,3237065.story

“A house erroneously valued at $400 million is being blamed for budget shortfalls and possible layoffs in municipalities and school districts in northwest Indiana.”

Obviously the computers did not stop the mistake or prevent it from being incorporated into the actual budget, even though it was a jump in a single home value from $121,900 to $400,000,000. Imagine someone fiddling around with the giant morass of wiretap data…

csrster February 13, 2006 1:52 AM

“With his thinning hair in a ponytail, Schneier looked more like a hippie than a cryptography expert” — right, because the stereotypical image of a cryptography expert is, er, um, er …

David Thomas February 13, 2006 1:54 AM

Cheney’s just playing good politics. There’s little you can tell the people that increases your chances of winning more than, “We’re going to win.” He’s well aware no one will let him drop the issue entirely.

Davi Ottenheimer February 13, 2006 2:08 AM

@ David Thomas

True. I’m not exactly expecting him to say “we’re going to win because we’ll expose the secret life of anyone’s spouse who dares challenge us”.

Pat Cahalan February 13, 2006 2:28 PM

right, because the stereotypical image of a cryptography expert is, er, um, er …

They need to update their profile.

RvnPhnx February 13, 2006 2:34 PM

@Davi Ottenheimer
He won’t have to cut off the pony tail or shave–he just needs to wear a plaid shirt and an NRA baseball cap, with a NASCAR T-shirt, grease covered jeans, and workboots. The appropriate venue for this: a local diner.

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.