Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Long Bits of Stuck in McCarran International Airport

Kudos to McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas) for having free wifi. And congrats to my fellow Defcon attendees for stealing the cookie that authenticates me to this blog off that wireless net.

  • Tech Policy points to Bill West at Counterterror blog, in “Liberty & Security vs. Terror – an American Perspective.” Its worth reading in full.

    I wonder how the devil is feeling nowadays, since his lair has frozen over. The likes of me, a 29-year law enforcement veteran who spent half his career working organized crime and national security cases, has found common ground with the ACLU. I’m talking about the random police searches of bags conducted in the New York subway system recently implemented as a result of the twin terrorist attacks against the London transit system in July.

    …mass intrusion, for security, into our individual liberties by government, even if it’s slow and subtle, that should concern all of us. We do live in the 21st century, and the founders of our country never envisioned the possibility of mass destruction, but this is still America and we live under that remarkable document known as the Constitution.

    (The Counterterrorism group blog is fascinating to me. Much of what they write is great, and some, like “Michael Cutler: Don’t privatize federal aviation screeners,” just misses the boat. My question is not how dedicated the screeners are; its how effective they are. And evidence is, Federal screeners are no better than private screeners.)

  • Eric Rescorla asks the question, “Who should pay for your identity theft protection?” Eric’s answer is much longer and more eloquent than mine, which is that ID theft protection is like a mobster coming in and saying “Fine credit rating you’ve got here. It would be a real shame if anything were to happen to it.”
  • Speaking of protection rackets and the downside of credit agencies, Alex Tabarrok reports in “Heard on the Train” that Columbian kidnappers pull your credit file to calculate optimum ransom.

    Experian would be proud: Think of all the fingers that won’t be cut off to demonstrate the seriousness of the kidnappers.

  • If you’re in Portland, OR on Tuesday, Meet the Flockers at Doug Fir Lounge. I met one of the Flock guys this weekend, and while he wasn’t saying precisely what they’re doing, the orientational frame he drew appealed to me. I’m not going to say anything else here until they say it’s ok.