Monday, October 09, 2006

No-fly list and security

Bruce Schneier has a couple of good blog entries about airport security.

Firstly, he discusses a proposal to pass government employees with security clearances through airport security quickly, and why it is a bad idea.

This issue is no different than searching airplane pilots, something that regularly elicits howls of laughter among amateur security watchers. What they don't realize is that the issue is not whether we should trust pilots, airplane maintenance technicians or people with clearances. The issue is whether we should trust people who are dressed as pilots, wear airplane-maintenance-tech IDs or claim to have clearances.

The second discusses the No Fly list. The American Sixty Minutes television program has got their hands on the list, and discovered -- no surprises here -- that it:

[...] includes names of people not likely to cause terror, including the president of Bolivia, people who are dead and names so common, they are shared by thousands of innocent fliers.


But the names of some of the most dangerous living terrorists or suspects are kept off the list.

The 11 British suspects recently charged with plotting to blow up airliners with liquid explosives were not on it, despite the fact they were under surveillance for more than a year.

If you were hired as a consultant to implement a scheme that kept tens of thousands of people reminded of terrorism every day, keep them in a low-level state of anxiety, while still doing nothing to seriously inconvenience real terrorists, it would be hard to come up with a strategy better than the No Fly list.

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