It's Not About Not Feeling Pain
On Monday, I had the opportunity to see Ed Tufte teach. Much of his analysis revolves around failures to think clearly. Things like poor presentation of data, or selection of data to not include enough context. He said he was in Houston last week, giving a class to the people who were responsible for the decision making failures that led to not examining the Columbia wing. This decision led to no action being considered to prevent the loss of 7 lives. He was in Houston, and apparently the people who created this slide were in the room. Several Boeing executives came to him and asked him to be gentle: He wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings, would he?
Apparently, he would. Their poor reasoning led to seven deaths. And so, in that spirit, Balrog, thanks for your comments. I like your “So you want to be a security consulant” post. But in “To ID Card or Not to ID Card,* you comment:
Germany has a long standing record of Identification Systems. I don’t believe this is either a bad or a good thing. It just is – what we as a society make of it is what makes it good or bad. Granted, it offers potential for abuse. Yet in the almost 60 years we’re having it, it has not been abused, partially because people are vigilant to this.
Why exactly, are people in Germany vigilant to abuse of their ID cards? Maybe something about how the previous government used information about their citizens? In IBM and the Holocaust, Edwin Black traces the history. Jews were rounded up based on census data, cross-tabulated with mandatory address registration. In other countries, it was easier: ID cards contained religious affiliation.
Regardless, I’m not asking for examples of I did this, and it didn’t hurt. That’s not science. What I’m asking for is a well thought out argument that ID cards won’t enable catastrophic failures.
* I can’t help but ask: “To be or not to be” is the opening of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy considering suicide. Was the irony intentional?