Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Small Bits: Xrays, Free Speech, Law, Cowards and Crypto School


  • Justin Mason has a good post on the new backscatter radiation xray machines that TSA would like to deploy. My favorite part: They create child pornography. Interestingly, these are one of the relatively few places that a privacy invasion makes us safer. Also interesting is that different people perceive either the hand-pat or the naked searches as more intrusive.
  • Someone Wikid sent me a pointer to “Bush-As-Groucho Posters Spark Furor At High School,” with the choice quote:

    “We had one student who was very upset,” [Principal Kenny] Lee said. “If something is bothering a student on campus, we’re going to address it.

    “Ummm, Principal Lee? It bothers me that you’re suppressing freedom of speech.”

  • Nanibetsuni points out that the Real ID act allows the Secretary of Homeland security to waive any law to construct fences, without possibility of review.

    So not only can the Secretary indiscrimately murder, no one can bring him to court over it! Now this may sound like a bunch of sensationlist crap, but I’m not the only one who sees this giant hole in this law.

  • William Lind has a good essay on courage, common sense, and homeland security, Of Cabbages and Kings:

    The episode also reveals what has become one of the main characteristics of America’s “homeland defense:” a total inability to use common sense. We have already seen that in our airport security procedures, our de facto open borders immigration policy and the idiotic “Patriot Act.” Here, it seems that no one was willing to act on the obvious, namely that if a small plane is approaching Washington, it is probably because the pilot got lost (which pilots do frequently). Why? Because to bureaucracies what is important is not external reality but covering your own backside politically. Putting on shows serves that purpose well, even if the shows make us look like both fools and cowards.

  • Finally, Stefan Brands takes IBM to cryptography school in “On IBM “anonymous” data sharing software and snake oil.