Essays Tagged "Nature"

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Census of Cyberspace Censoring

Book Review of <i>Access Denied</i><br />

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Nature
  • March 13, 2008

China restricts Internet access by keyword.

In 1993, Internet pioneer John Gilmore said “the net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it”, and we believed him. In 1996, cyberlibertarian John Perry Barlow issued his ‘Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’ at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, and online. He told governments: “You have no moral right to rule us, nor do you possess any methods of enforcement that we have true reason to fear.”

At the time, many shared Barlow’s sentiments. The Internet empowered people. It gave them access to information and couldn’t be stopped, blocked or filtered. Give someone access to the Internet, and they have access to everything. Governments that relied on censorship to control their citizens were doomed…

Protecting Privacy and Liberty

The events of 11 September offer a rare chance to rethink public security.

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Nature
  • October 25, 2001

Appalled by the events of 11 September, many Americans have declared so loudly that they are willing to give up civil liberties in the name of security that this trade-off seems to be a fait accompli. Article after article in the popular media debates the ‘balance’ of privacy and security—are various types of increase in security worth the consequent losses to privacy and civil liberty? Rarely do I see discussion about whether this linkage is valid.

Security and privacy are not two sides of an equation. This association is simplistic and largely fallacious. The best ways to increase security are not at the expense of privacy and liberty. Giving airline pilots firearms, reinforcing cockpit doors, better authentication of airport maintenance workers, armed air marshals travelling on flights and teaching flight attendants karate are all examples of suggested security measures that have no effect on individual privacy or liberties…

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.