News Tagged "New York Times"
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More than 40 years ago, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft with a vision for putting a personal computer on every desk.
No one really believed them, so few tried to stop them. Then before anyone realized it, the deed was done: Just about everyone had a Windows machine, and governments were left scrambling to figure out how to put Microsoft’s monopoly back in the bottle.
This sort of thing happens again and again in the tech industry. Audacious founders set their sights on something hilariously out of reach—Mark Zuckerberg wants to connect …
Book Review of Data and Goliath by Bruce Schneier
There is a certain predictability to media and technology finance. Any company looking for money is inevitably characterized as similar to whatever has recently garnered the highest valuations.
For instance, when all of the software as a service (referred to in tech jargon as SaaS) companies traded in the public markets at 10 times revenue, other businesses looked desperately for something in their operations that could be tied, however tenuously, to SaaS.
The trouble with this approach is that bubbles tend to burst, as the SaaS one did last year. And once you have introduced yourself to investors—particularly in an initial public offering—it is hard to recharacterize your story later without losing all credibility…
Bruce Schneier ordered a Coke, no ice, at the Rio casino on a Saturday afternoon. I ordered Diet Coke, also no ice, and handed the bartender an American Express card. He said he needed to see proof of identity. Credit cards are often stolen around here, and eight casino workers had recently been fired for not demanding ID, he quietly explained. The bartender wanted to keep his job.
Mr. Schneier, 49, is a student of interactions like this, offline and on. He is a cryptographer, blogger and iconoclast in the world of computer security, and his latest subject of inquiry is trust: how it is cultivated, destroyed and tweaked in the digital age…
Over the years, Mr. Schneier has been a tough critic of the security agency, though he credits Mr. Hawley for “doing the best job he could with the bad hand he was dealt.” By that, he says he means that the agency operates under mandates from Congress and elsewhere that resulted in a vast, expensive bureaucracy.
The agency, he argues, is required to spend less effort than it should on sophisticated intelligence-gathering and more than it should on deeply flawed procedures, like depending on travel documents that can be easily counterfeited, or fishing in passengers’ bags for contraband screwdrivers and prohibited items like jars of spaghetti sauce that exceed three ounces…
To paraphrase a classic line from Lily Tomlin, I worry that the person who thought up the rules for carrying liquids and gels on airplanes last year is busy thinking up something new this year.
The thought arises partly because of a scene just after Christmas at an airport security checkpoint, where a half-dozen festive snow globes—like the ones with Frosty the Snowman in a liquid-filled glass globe that simulates snowfall when you shake it—were lined up on a counter.
Wasn’t that nice! The Transportation Security Administration had decorated the checkpoint! But as it turned out, Frosty and his co-conspirators had actually been busted—confiscated from passengers’ carry-on bags pursuant to the following notification by the security administration:…
FOR theater on a grand scale, you can’t do better than the audience-participation dramas performed at airports, under the direction of the Transportation Security Administration.
As passengers, we tender our boarding passes and IDs when asked. We stand in lines. We empty pockets. We take off shoes. We do whatever is asked of us in these mass rites of purification. We play our assigned parts, comforted in the belief that only those whose motives are good and true will be permitted to pass through.
Of course, we never see the actual heart of the security system: the government’s computerized no-fly list, to which our names are compared when we check in for departure. The T.S.A. is much more talented, however, in the theater arts than in the design of secure systems. This becomes all too clear when we see that the agency’s security procedures are unable to withstand the playful testing of a bored computer-science student…
A team of well-known computer security experts will announce on Thursday that they have cracked a key part of the electronic code meant to protect the privacy of calls made with the new, digital generation of cellular telephones.
These technologists, who planned to release their findings in a news
release on Thursday, argue that the best way to insure that the strongest
security codes are developed is to conduct the work in a public forum. And
so they are sharply critical of the current industry standard setting
process, which has made a trade secret of the underlying mathematical…
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.