Guarding Without Guardians
Bruce Schneier is concerned that without trust, society itself may be impossible
Socrates famously asked if a person could lead a just life in an unjust society. A new book, Liars & Outliers, by Bruce Schneier doesn’t in so many words raise the question, Can a person lead a secure life in an insecure society? but it does answer it. There’s only so much we can do without there being a framework of trust: There have to be moral codes; peer pressures are needed; institutions have to have their own codes of conduct, and so on.
It’s hard to imagine such a book being written by anyone but Bruce Schneier, one of the world’s foremost authorities on security. He started out in cryptography and published some world-class algorithms, but he quickly came to realize that the mathematics was rarely the weak link in the security chain. His books, starting with the best-selling Applied Cryptography, then Secrets & Lies and Beyond Fear, have so widened the scope of his interests that in the new book he finds himself borrowing the viewpoints of the psychologist, the sociologist, and the anthropologist as he searches for the foundations of security.