Schneier’s Law

Saturday, 16 April, 2011

Something fun about cryptography. Enjoy.

“Schneier’s Law”

by Bruce Schneier on Friday, April 15, 2011 at 12:45pm

Back in 1998, I wrote:

Anyone, from the most clueless amateur to the best cryptographer, can create an algorithm that he himself can’t break.

In 2004, Cory Doctorow called this Schneier’s law:

…what I think of as Schneier’s Law: “any person can invent a security system so clever that she or he can’t think of how to break it.” Read the rest of this entry »


RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis in spotlight after BBC PlayBook interview

Thursday, 14 April, 2011

BlackBerry Playbook (RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis BBC interview)

Some facts and news first and then my comment. Here is a video of RIM CEO calls a halt to BBC Click interview

Here is a link to BBC source video and info text,

“The BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones spoke to Mike Lazaridis, the co-chief executive of Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian firm behind Blackberry.
After questioning him about RIM’s new Playbook tablet, he asked a question for BBC Click about RIM’s problems in India and the Middle East, where governments want to gain greater access to the tight security system used for Blackberry’s business users.
Mr Lazaridis responded by saying the question was unfair, and that the interview was over. A more complete cut of the interview will be broadcast on the television edition of BBC Click later in April.”

Here is CBC News report of the story of Mike walking off the BBC interview, “RIM co-CEO in spotlight as PlayBook launches” (emphasis added),

“Research in Motion Ltd. faces extra attention as its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet launches, the result of a public tantrum this week by the Canadian company’s co-CEO.

Mike Lazaridis made headlines after he abruptly ended a video interview with the BBC, calling a reporter’s questions “unfair.” The video was posted on the BBC’s dot.Rory technology blog just a day before the PlayBook’s launch party Thursday in New York City.”

My comments:

* Walking off an interview can sometimes create worst reactions than to stay clam and try to address a question (whether you see it as fair or not). Sometimes walking out of a harassing interview is the only way but I don’t see the BBC interview as one of those.

* RIM’s email/messaging (potential) security issues and problems is a very complex topic. Making matter worst is that it involve users’ legitimate security needs (imagine users being human rights and democracy fighters in China) and differentiating countries’ legitimate vs made-up/illegitimate “national securities concerns”.

* Security and encryption technologies are a bit out of my expertises but I recommend reading security expert Bruce Schneier’s Aug 3, 2010 analysis “UAE to Ban BlackBerrys to gain some understanding of the relevant issues.

P.S. Here is a mostly positive with some negatives review by tech writer Om Malik “BlackBerry Tablet, PlayBook, a Notable Debut”. Too bad the Playbook reviews (positive or negative) will likely be overshadowed by the BBC interview.

Reconceptualizing Security – Bruce Schneier @ TEDxPSU

Friday, 29 October, 2010

Bruce Schneier (wikipedia bio) talking about reconceptualizing security @ TEDxPSU. Bruce is an insightful man that knows a lot about security. [HT Bruce]

Wiretapping the Internet

Monday, 4 October, 2010

Here is an excerpt from Bruce Schneier’s insightful article “Wiretapping the Internet” (emphasis added),

“Surveillance infrastructure is easy to export. Once surveillance capabilities are built into Skype or Gmail or your BlackBerry, it’s easy for more totalitarian countries to demand the same access; after all, the technical work has already been done.

Western companies such as Siemens, Nokia and Secure Computing built Iran’s surveillance infrastructure, and U.S. companies like L-1 Identity Solutions helped build China’s electronic police state. The next generation of worldwide citizen control will be paid for by countries like the United States.

We should be embarrassed to export eavesdropping capabilities. Secure, surveillance-free systems protect the lives of people in totalitarian countries around the world. They allow people to exchange ideas even when the government wants to limit free exchange. They power citizen journalism, political movements and social change. For example, Twitter’s anonymity saved the lives of Iranian dissidents — anonymity that many governments want to eliminate.

Yes, communications technologies are used by both the good guys and the bad guys. But the good guys far outnumber the bad guys, and it’s far more valuable to make sure they’re secure than it is to cripple them on the off chance it might help catch a bad guy. It’s like the FBI demanding that no automobiles drive above 50 mph, so they can more easily pursue getaway cars. It might or might not work — but, regardless, the cost to society of the resulting slowdown would be enormous.”

Christmas Underwear Bomber

Tuesday, 29 December, 2009

I’ve wanted to write an article after I heard the case of the Christmas Underwear Bomber and what the US and Canadian governments decided to do in the name of “enhancing our safety”. If I had written that article, it would have been a mostly emotionally one where I would have questioned how a “failed terror attempt” managed to successfully disrupt our lives. And why that kind of scenario where we, the public, always loose is just not acceptable.

Fortunately I waited patiently and saved myself some a few hours in writing time as security expert Bruce Schneier has finally spoken (was more insightfully and eloquently than I can) to shine some light and shared his insights. Remember, I don’t blindly trust anyone, including Bruce. But so far, he speaks with the most wisdom that government officials sadly lack.

Bruce Schneier‘s MSNBC interview on The Rachel Maddow Show (starting at 2:45)

Bruce’s email interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg.

And an article “Is aviation security mostly for show?” at CNN written by Bruce. Very insightful and intelligent.

[HT Bruce Schneier]

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