Monday, March 28, 2005

Remember Homeland Security? The EAPA can't handle prevention.

Schneier on Security: TSA Lied About Protecting Passenger Data

The Transportation Safety Authority lied about how they used travel data obtained from airlines. Shocked I am not. I would have been shocked if they'd actually been both competent and honest.

Schneier's story and the comments are both well worth reading. Arguably the ongoing thread of incompetence is even worse than the deceptions (is it a lying if no-one believes you?). My own experience with TSA staff has been unremarkable -- I've found them to be polite and far more attentive than I could be in their place. As an organization, however, they seem to be overwhelmed.

Alas, the Department of Homeland Security (remember them?) is no better. In a recent detailed analysis of US intelligence, The Economist dismissed the DHS with a single curt sentence. It's been a costly failure.

The 'East African Plains Ape' (that's us) was not designed to deal with prevention in a modern industrial society. It probably has something to do with the way we evolved, and the kind of probability heuristics natural selection programmed into us. Even so, Bush isn't helping.

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