Paul Bernal clicks with a maverick thinker who shows how business and governments are building a global surveillance network and how we can fight back
Investigating surveillance—whether corporate or governmental—can be a demoralising process. Those performing that surveillance, from the US' National Security Agency and the UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to Google and Facebook, are giants so overwhelmingly powerful that it seems too daunting to even contemplate taking them on. Their agendas may be even more terrifying: as Bruce Schneier observes, "The endgame of this isn't pretty: it's a global surveillance network where all countries collude to surveil everyone on the entire planet." What's more, he adds, the governments and the corporations are both in the same game: "It's a powerful feedback loop: the business model supports the government effort, and the government effort justifies the business model."
And yet, as the title of this book suggests, these giants are not invincible. Goliath was brought down to size—and here, Schneier attempts to set out how the new Goliaths might suffer a similar fate.
Dr Chris Brauer from Goldsmiths, University of London, on how big brands want to sell us things via wearable devices. Bruce Schneier, security and privacy expert and author of the book "Data and Goliath", warns of the threat of companies and governments misusing data about us. Emily Bell, from the Tow Centre for Digital Journalism, on Verizon's buyout of AOL, and Facebook's instant articles. And Zoe Kleinman spends a night alone in a house full of robots.
New America's Peter Singer and Passcode's Sara Sorcher chat with Bruce Schneier, prolific author and chief technology officer at Resilient Systems, about the challenges of publicly blaming countries for cyberattacks—and whose job it should be to defend private companies against sophisticated nation-state attacks. They also hear from Nate Fick, the CEO of Endgame, a venture-backed security intelligence software company, about how he's leveraging cybersecurity solutions once produced just for the government into the private sector.
Wired's Kim Zetter, author of Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon, joins the panel discussion to talk about how the cyber operation on Iran's nuclear facilities launched a new era of warfare; the vulnerability of US critical infrastructure to Stuxnet-like weapons; and the gender diversity issues bedeviling the cybersecurity industry.
This book has been difficult to review. It has proved tricky not because I didn't enjoy the book or because it was boring or badly written, but because it was so pertinent. Every time I went to write about it, a news story would emerge referencing the subject and I would find that my opinions of the news were influenced by the book and my opinions of the book were influenced by the news. This is an important topic and everyone should make up their own minds based on a decent knowledge and understanding of the issues.
In cyberspace and out, we're increasingly confronting extremely-low-probability, extremely-high-damage attacks. Protecting against these sorts of risks requires new ways of thinking about security; one that emphasizes agility and resilience, while avoiding worst-case thinking.
Privacy is becoming an antiquated concept. In “Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World” (ISBN: 9780393244816), security expert Bruce Schneier leads you through a labyrinth of surveillance that should scare the hell out of you.
Welcome to the NSA! We want to thank you for helping us with our collection of data about your work and personal habits. By using the computer, phone, public transportation, private vehicle, credit cards, library, banking systems, online shopping, or retail shopping, you are contributing to our data files.
Cris Sheridan welcomes Bruce Schneier, Chief Technology Officer at Resilient Systems and author of Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World. Bruce writes "we are living in the golden age of surveillance" where almost everything we do is now being tracked and used without our knowledge. Bruce speaks with Cris about how much data we produce, the way corporations are using it, the problems associated with ubiquitous surveillance, and why this is a defining issue of our time.
Episode 65 would be ugly if it weren't so much fun. Our guest is Bruce Schneier, cryptographer, computer science and privacy guru, and author of the best-selling Data and Goliath—a book I annotated every few pages of with the words, "Bruce, you can't possibly really believe this." And that's pretty much how the interview goes, as Bruce and I mix it up over hackbacks, whether everyone but government should be allowed to use Big Data tools, Edward Snowden, whether "mass surveillance" has value in fighting terrorism, and whether damaging cyberattacks are really infrequent and hard to attribute. We disagree mightily—and with civility.
DATA AND GOLIATH. By Bruce Schneier. Norton. 365 pages. $27.95.
Think of some of the ways the Enlightenment helped advance the human individual. The ability to shape your identity. The ability to own and control your stuff. Economic autonomy.
Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.
Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Resilient Systems, Inc.