Yes, I'm Leaving BT

The Register reported that I am leaving BT at the end of the year. It quoted BT as saying:

We hired Bruce because of his thought leadership in security and as part of our acquisition of Counterpane. We have agreed to part ways as we felt our relationship had run its course and come to a natural end. It has nothing to do with his recent blogs. We hired Bruce because of his thought leadership in security, not because we agree with everything he says. In fact, it’s his ability to challenge our assumptions that made him especially valuable to BT.

Yes, it’s true. And contrary to rumors, this has nothing to do with the NSA or GCHQ. No, BT wasn’t always happy with my writings on the topic, but it knew that I am an independent thinker and didn’t try to muzzle me in any way. I’m just ready to leave. I spent seven years at BT, and seven years at Counterpane Internet Security, Inc., before BT bought us. It’s past time for something new.

As to what comes next: answer cloudy; ask again later.

More news here. And a Slashdot and Hacker News thread.

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 2:31 PM36 Comments


NobodySpecial December 20, 2013 2:39 PM

” thought leadership”

Did you utilize synergies and leverage centers of excellence and core competencies as well ?

Man in Black December 20, 2013 2:54 PM

It’s later. What’s next?

How about a vacation? Go see Barry in Hawaii. Take over as head of the NSA and fix it up.

Andy December 20, 2013 3:07 PM

Go freelance and create a grand unified mail / messaging / voip encryption scheme that can be trusted…

Andrew Jarvis December 20, 2013 3:09 PM

I have had many, many reasons to be critical of BT over the years but that one statement (“No, BT wasn’t always happy with my writings on the topic, but it knew that I am an independent thinker and didn’t try to muzzle me in any way.”) is so important to my own values that it alone forgives many sins!

Best of luck, Bruce, in whatever ventures you next choose to pursue. Your informed commentary on issues of great importance contribute significantly to public awareness and to keeping the debate active. Thanks for that.

Anura December 20, 2013 3:13 PM

If it was me, and the public speaking, freelance writing, and book sales were enough, then I would consider world travel, volunteering, and the occassional consulting job.

Jan Willem December 20, 2013 3:16 PM

Bruce, I don’t think you will (or even can!) stop with your free and critical thinking.
With Counterpane and also during your time at BT, you have shown to be independent. Thanks for sharing your thanks with us.
I am waiting for your next round.

Ophilino Costa December 20, 2013 4:07 PM

Bruce, best wishes as you pursue new and interesting opportunities. I look forward to crossing paths again. cheers.

Bauke Jan Douma December 20, 2013 4:14 PM

How’s about airgapping BT 🙂

Carry on!
In other words: Get some coding done!
Things are happening.

Douglas Knight December 20, 2013 5:07 PM

Is the word “hews” a code to indicate that the one article hews more closely to the truth?

Herp Derp December 20, 2013 10:22 PM

“Well, you still have your magic eight-ball, so what more do you need?”

@Lon: Maybe the Magic 8-ball’s PRNG uses a weakened algorithm? 😛

mike December 20, 2013 10:59 PM

This turn of events could be good news. Please contact me after the holidays….we talked a couple of times a long time ago.

Clive Robinson December 21, 2013 3:48 AM

@ Bruce,

I suspect from your visable behaviour over the past few years that you are gravitating towards academia, to make your mark in a more definate way than is possible in ITSec.

Good luck and do every thing you can to make “papers free” such that others can freely walk in your footsteps, without having to pay the financial and mental toll to those who conspire to tax the work of others to their gain and the rest of societies loss.

Mike the goat December 21, 2013 7:11 AM


I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. I know someone as well qualified and talented as you will have little trouble finding a superior place in this great industry.

Lee December 21, 2013 9:38 PM

There is always your dining reviews – very helpful at RSA in the past. TSA consultant? So many options….

BrowserPrivacy December 22, 2013 9:57 AM

Thank you for doing the right thing, Bruce. Your decision to leave BT goes a long way toward mitigating the appearance of potential conflicts of interest, which can be just as problematic for public trust as actual conflicts of interest. Especially after the news about RSA giving up essentially its own customers to NSA, I’m glad you’ve decided to distance yourself from a company that may or may not have done something similar.

I’m excited because you’re one of the handful of people bright enough and bold enough to take on some of the biggest challenges of our time, like surveillance as a business model or how to dis-entangle problematic public-private partnerships. I can’t resist the temptation to mention that I hope you’ll consider helping The Tor Project fundraise and/or stay ahead of cryptanalytic attacks. I know it may sound boring or provincial, but a growing number of users believe Tor receives too much funding that comes either directly or indirectly from US Department of Defense sources. Helping The Tor Project diversify its funding sources seems like a great place to start helping to shore up public trust in basic privacy-enabling cryptography tools that help raise the cost of dragnet surveillance.

This year more than perhaps any other, you’ve inspired others–at significant personal and professional risk–to make the world safer and more free for everyone. And courage is contagious.

TomKaz December 23, 2013 8:00 AM

It’s never been particularly important to me who signs your paycheck. I’m sure there’s no shortage of technology firms, think tanks, or advocacy groups who will welcome you with open arms.

What matters is that you’re still here, still providing some of the best analysis (and criticism) of the world of security.

Enjoy the break and keep up the good work.

Wael December 24, 2013 12:28 AM

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

— Thomas Jefferson

Steve High December 27, 2013 9:40 PM

To find out what Bruce Schneier will do next, buy a Magic 8-Ball for eleven bucks and get it by Monday:

Or, paste the following answers on the wall and throw darts at them.

● It is certain
● It is decidedly so
● Without a doubt
● Yes definitely
● You may rely on it
● As I see it, yes
● Most likely
● Outlook good
● Yes
● Signs point to yes
● Reply hazy try again
● Ask again later
● Better not tell you now
● Cannot predict now
● Concentrate and ask again
● Don’t count on it
● My reply is no
● My sources say no
● Outlook not so good
● Very doubtful

Wikipedia says it’ll take 72 darts to see each answer at least once.

Mark Walker January 17, 2014 5:07 PM

@Steve High, A good dart thrower can get the answer he wants. I guess that’s another example of a poor PRNG.

Mark Walker January 17, 2014 5:14 PM

@Lawrence Hughes, Was there a Onefish cipher?

I guess the first FISH belonged to the Germans circa 1940.

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.