They're pure security theater: They look good without doing anything to make us safer.We're stuck with them because of a combination of buck passing, CYA thinking and fear.There are two basic schools of thought about how this came to pass. Read More → One of the assurances I keep hearing about the U. government's spying on American citizens is that it's only used in cases of terrorism.
Read More → Leaks from the whistleblower Edward Snowden have catapulted the NSA into newspaper headlines and demonstrated that it has become one of the most powerful government agencies in the country.
From the secret court rulings that allow it to collect data on all Americans to its systematic subversion of the entire Internet as a surveillance platform, the NSA has amassed an enormous amount of power. It's a normal part of life, but we're increasingly unwilling to accept it at any level. The problem is that technological security measures aren't free.
We think rare risks are more common than they are, and we fear them more than probability indicates we should.
Read More → As part of the fallout of the Boston bombings, we're probably going to get some new laws that give the FBI additional investigative powers.
One side creates ceramic handguns, laser-guided missiles, and new-identity theft techniques, while the other side creates anti-missile defense systems, fingerprint databases, and automatic facial recognition systems.
The problem is that it's not balanced: Attackers generally benefit from new security technologies before defenders do. Read More → Horrific events, such as the massacre in Aurora, can be catalysts for social and political change.How could they have ignored such a dangerous person?How do we reform the intelligence community to ensure this kind of failure doesn't happen again?They would have to be checked and put into the cargo hold. Read More → News that the Transportation Security Administration missed a whopping 95% of guns and bombs in recent airport security "red team" tests was justifiably shocking.It's clear that we're not getting value for the billion we're paying the TSA annually.It's an old song by now, one we heard after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and after the Underwear Bomber's failed attack in 2009.Read More → German translation As the details about the bombings in Boston unfold, it'd be easy to be scared.It'd be easy to feel powerless and demand that our elected leaders do something—anything—to keep us safe. We need to be angry and empathize with the victims without being scared.Read More → A core, not side, effect of technology is its ability to magnify power and multiply force—for both attackers and defenders.If our leaders can't say no—and there's no reason to believe they can—there are two concepts that need to be part of any new counterterrorism laws, and investigative laws in general: transparency and accountability.Read More → The FBI and the CIA are being criticized for not keeping better track of Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the months before the Boston Marathon bombings.