Profile on Schneier in the City Pages

The Minneapolis City Pages published a nice profile on me this week.

Posted on August 24, 2007 at 1:38 PM • 14 Comments


Brandioch ConnerAugust 24, 2007 2:08 PM

"Schneier, who wears the graying beard and thinning ponytail of a computer geek chieftain, ..."


JosephAugust 24, 2007 2:13 PM

I had no idea you liked vietnamese food, Bruce. Call me if you're ever in SLC and I'll take you out to lunch...

derfAugust 24, 2007 2:32 PM

"But in the post-9/11 world, it's irresponsible and dangerous." So says the guy who gets paid to hype terrorism.

If anyone is irresponsible and dangerous, it's the Congress and the President for giving us the fake security of the TSA. This crew can't correctly identify guns and bombs over 90% of the time, even when they are warned beforehand when the tests will be conducted. They're extremely capable, however, of stealing your pocketknife in the name of "security" and selling it on eBay.

AnonymousAugust 24, 2007 2:47 PM

"Terror attacks, he says, "have a huge psychological as well as an economic impact. It's silly talk to say that the chances of being killed in a terrorist attack are so small, and to infer from that that we needn't worry about it.""

It's kind of amusing when someone accuses an author who's most recent book is titled "Beyond Fear" of not understanding the psychological impact of terrorism

CinnamonBunnyAugust 24, 2007 3:31 PM

I'll never understand talking heads like that Ervin guy:

"It's silly talk to say that the chances of being killed in a terrorist attack are so small, and to infer from that that we needn't worry about it."

Complete non sequitur. If it's such a small chance, why would that NOT mean that we needn't worry about it? It does mean exactly that, and the fact that we shouldn't let ourselves get terrorised adds to that even more.

Of course, this is about worrying in an emotional sense, but that's all that Bruce has been speaking out against.

And also:

"His kind of thinking might be excusable in a pre-9/11 world," Ervin says. "But in the post-9/11 world, it's irresponsible and dangerous."

Again, non sequitur: it's a random assertion that makes no sense. He could just as well have said it's irresponsible and dangerous because the sky is blue.

And also - I live in Europe, where terrorist attacks (by the IRA, RAF, ETA, ...) have been common for a long time, so maybe it's just me, but I still don't see what actually supposedly changed in a "post-9/11 world". It's just a random FUD phrase that's getting thrown around when there's no rational argument for something; Ervin could just as well have attacked Bruce by saying he's "un-American" or claiming that "if we do this, the terrorists will win". It's just plain scaremongering.

But then, maybe we should be glad that this kind of moronic drivel is apparently all the other side has to offer. An incapable foe is better than a smart one.

SparkyAugust 25, 2007 7:39 AM

@SumDumGuy: You can hardly blame the security bracelets for that accident, the system worked as it was designed. An, at that time, unidentified and violent man took a baby and attempted to leave. Had he identified himself, and said he wanted his whife and their baby be discharged from the hospital, there probably wouldn't have been any problem. Ofcourse, using a taser on a person holding an infant isn't a very smart thing to do, but it may have been reasonable given the situation.

I couldn't help but think that this must be some greedy american idiot blaiming everyone else for his own stupidity and even trying to extort money from the very people that were helping them by saying his daughter suffer severe trauma and suing for damages (or at least saying that he would), while the doctors say she's perfectly ok.

AnonAugust 25, 2007 8:58 AM

> "It's true that the chance of being killed by a terror
> attack is much smaller than being stricken by cancer,"

A *lot* of people have died of cancer. (It cures smoking.)

Christ. Couldn't he think of anything that killed more people?

I thought the chance of being killed by a terrorist was on the order of like being struck by lightning? Or perhaps hit by a meteor? (Wasn't there an article on this blog about that recently?)

> "Terror attacks have a huge psychological
> as well as an economic impact."

Which we have created with all this hype.

If it's the impact that's so bad, why don't we just ignore terror attacks?

> With respect to baby security bracelets...

It's not about baby snatching.

It's *really* easy to mix up two infants. They all look so alike. And with overworked hospital staff...

Parents have a deep genetic conditioning to never let go of their babies. But hospitals want the mother to get some rest. And they need to run tests...

Their security won't really prevent baby snatching. It's easily bypassed. But when not bypassed, it solves a lot of thorny liability issues.

DigitalCommandoAugust 26, 2007 2:49 PM

Department of Homeland Security memo to TSA agents: Our research teams have discovered 1001 ways in which a bowl of jello can be used to bring down a plane. Be particularily alert for strawberry flavor, however, since brussel sprout flavor jello does not exist at this time, the likelihood of it's use remains low. Oh, and please don't forget to strap on your baby monitoring bracelets, Sincerely, Mr. Erving.

DigitalCommandoAugust 26, 2007 3:38 PM

On a more serious note... the one statement in this article that nobody seems to have noticed, and is by far the most important, is bruce's assertion that we are a terrorist attack away from a police state. With warrantless eavesdropping, data logging/mining, militarization of local police depts., extensive camera networks, self appointed presidential powers which subvert any and all possibilities to prevent opposition, etc. can all be viewed as a systemic "Master Plan" to put in place a system that under closer scrutiny, would reveal not a plan to fight terrorism, but a plan to identify the "trouble makers" who would rise against declared martial law. This would allow their swift removal before martial law and the creation of the new police state would be implemented. The DHS can review your phone calls, e-mails, blogs, comments, life styles, who and what you support, who you read, etc. all of which is now stored in government databases which could be software scanned and return a probability score of your ability to interfere. Sounds crazy?
I believe a "created" terrorist attack or the nuking of Iran will be the catalyst for this exact scenario, all signs point to this and trust me, it's gonna happen. For those of you who still believe the DHS are the good guys........ check out

partdavidAugust 27, 2007 11:15 AM

@Sparky: "An, at that time, unidentified and violent man took a baby and attempted to leave. Had he identified himself, and said he wanted his whife and their baby be discharged from the hospital, there probably wouldn't have been any problem."

I wouldn't make too many assumptions about what did or didn't happen based on that news story. They don't seem to know whether the officer was named "Boland" or "Boling", for example.

However, at no point in the story does it say Lewis (the tasered father) was acting violently or was unidentified. Rather the contrary:

"The trouble began in April when William Lewis, 30, said he and his wife felt mistreated by staff at the Woman's Hospital of Texas so they decided to leave. Hospital employees told him doctors would not allow it, but Lewis picked up the baby and strode to a bank of elevators."

Sounds to me that he was pretty clearly identified, pretty clearly asked to leave... and was told "the doctors would not allow it"?!

I know as a parent, if someone ever tried to take or keep my child away from me, I would engage in some pretty extreme behavior to take them with me.

UR1986September 2, 2007 11:38 PM

SUNY Rochester??!?!?!?! Bruce you ought to be ashamed for letting them get away with that mistake

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.