Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Who watches the watchers?" Bruce Schneier explains why privacy is important

My morning email included the monthly Crypto-Gram from security expert Bruce Schneier. His lead piece, which also appeared online on Wired, eloquently explains why privacy is important:
For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness.
He goes on to ask:
How many of us have paused during conversations in the past four-and-a-half years, suddenly aware that we might be eavesdropped on?
I know I have. In fact, it just made me a little nervous to admit it. That's what all this surveillance does to you.

Schneier concludes with another very good point:
Too many wrongly characterize the debate as "security versus privacy." The real choice is liberty versus control. . . . Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy.
Schneier knows what he's talking about. He's got an international reputation as a security expert -- a security "guru" according to a comment attributed to The Economist on his website. He is particularly good at showing the difference between real security and "security theater."

You can read back issues or subscribe to his monthly Crypto-Gram here. If you want to check out his opinion more frequently, try his blog.

His book Beyond Fear explains security situations so clearly that you, too, can make reasonable decisions about protecting both yourself and your liberty. I recommend it highly.

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