Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Nothing to Hide, but "Nothing to Hide"

You’ve heard of the tube, of lorries and bobbies, but

It’s a word that has emerged from London after last week’s
bombings. The English police believe the suspects in the case are
“cleanskins” – young operatives with no background of terrorism
or crime. It’s more difficult to investigate cleanskins because
they have no criminal records.

(From “British Bestow Term Of Terror.”) Meanwhile, Schneier points out that the London Times reports “Security sources confirmed that none of the bombers was on any MI5 file, although one had links to a person investigated by police.”

It seems that having a clean record will now be held against you. This reminds me of the DEA profiling criteria: ‘Acting nervous, acting calm. Well-dressed, shabbily dressed…’

Kafka would be so proud.

One comment on "Nothing to Hide, but "Nothing to Hide""

  • Nik says:

    It’s not a new term, just one that the press and general public haven’t been exposed to before.
    No-one credible in the security industry is suggesting that you’ll be suspected for having a clean record (the signal to noise ratio is enough of a problem without adding more suspects!). However it does make it much harder to preempt problems where the perpetrators have no specific record.
    An interesting aside are the various reports of one of the bombers being “connected” to Al Qaeda. I have not seen any reporting on how close a connection there was, but you soon run into “small world” network problems if you cast the net too far…

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