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No, We Don't Need Any More Security!

2009-12-30

"This door is made of a completely new material that has been infused with diamonds making it virtually indestructible.  And every time you want to open it you let these spikes go through your hand; they'll sample your DNA, measure your pulse etc.  It takes 20 minutes and hurts like hell but no one is going to get through this door without your authorization!" "Wow that's awesome.  But what if they throw a rock at the window?"

I'm talking of course about airport security, copyright protection, monitoring communications and much more.  Things that are supposed to protect and do good but don't actually work and just waste enormous amounts of money, time and energy.

I'm not against security - security is important!  (no, it's not because of "terrorists") I don't think we can all live happily holding hands under a rainbow, although that would be great.  I'm somewhat of an expert in the field, not because I know a lot of crap but, because I have the mindset.  It's the difference between following instructions and knowing what to do even if no one tells you.  Most people don't understand this at all.

And that's why there is security, and there is security.  And the practical difference is often complete security, or no security.  Something easy and fundamentally important to remember is that "only the weakest link needs to be broken in order to break the whole chain".

Copyright Protection 

DRM (legal music files), CSS (dvd video) and various other.  The idea is simple and understandable.  Like the lock on your door - it's terribly easy to pick if you bother learning how but it reduces the amount of potential buglers substantially, because you're not going to pay more for security then you have in value times the chance of burglary less the hassle of unlocking it.

Ultimately, you can never have copyright protection because if you can listen to it just once you can make an endless amount of copies.  But for the users it's been terrible because even though they payed for it they still can't play it in their favorite media player or on their mp3-player of choice.  And sometimes there's even a limit to how many times you can listen to it and then you'll have to pay again.

The "bad" people on the other hand; worst case scenario: one person buys a single copy, copies the sound as it plays and then it's happy sharing for all.  In order to stop this the copyright protection systems have become increasingly complex, bothersome and mostly: expensive.  Even studios have failed screenings of their movies because they couldn't figure out their own copyright protection.  The "bad" people, however, are still making illegal copies same as before.

Airport Security 

This whole thing is just ridiculous if you know anything about actual security.  Here in sweden there was even an investigative show on public TV where they found that you could buy both alcohol and lighters after the security checkpoint and thus create a big fire on the plane.  And then use the broken bottle to cut people up.

If you've ever been to a "real" airport you'll know how stupidly huge they are.  If you stop to think you can imagine the vast amount of people that travel by plane every single day over the whole world for so many years.  And then you can compare that to the number of terrorists there have ever been.  It really is like hunting flies with a rocket launcher but innocent flies get killed in the process because virtually all flies are innocent and ones that aren't, they know to stay away.

We all know what the desperate convenience store robber looks like, we see on TV what stupid mistakes they make.  There are stupid terrorists too but usually they have a leader who knows what he's doing – all successful organizations work this way.  If you're gonna hijack a plane you know exactly what you can bring on and what you can't and since you're doing it you've found something the "security" doesn't know about.  If you try to bring something onto the plane that you're not allowed that's almost proof that you're innocent.

But still, all those millions and millions of people that travel by plane have to waste hours each to get through security, it's a big hassle and it's expensive too.  Still, the criminals know exactly what to do to get through and whatever they're getting, it's totally worth it.

If you wanna take down a plane you should just pay someone who works at an airport to plant a bomb or you can get a job there yourself and smuggle the bomb inside in pieces and assemble it there if you don't own the guard.  But seriously, if you wanna kill a lot of people in such a way you can just derail a high speed train at a "favorable" location during busy hours.  Trains have virtually no security.  I wonder why airplanes need it.

Monitoring Communications 

If you didn't know it already; whenever you talk on the phone, send texts or emails or use any other form of electronic communication there's usually agencies from several different countries listening in, in addition to the ones from the country you're in of course.

This insane invasion of privacy is supposedly to fight crime and terrorism.  What most people don't realize is that criminals use end to end high grade asymmetric encryption.  Whatever that is.

Basically encryption is a way to scramble some information with a specific key and only with that key can you unscramble it back into something understandable.  In asymmetric encryption you have different keys for encrypting and decryption which means you can let anyone know how to encrypt information for you without letting anyone know how to decrypt it.  High grade encryption simply means that the key is so large that even with a supercomputer it'll take years to try all combinations.

So again, the bad guys are unaffected and only the innocent have their privacy violated.  And the innocent also pay for it through taxes.  Of course, the real reason for monitoring all communication is to get a real-time feed of what people think and do which is extremely important if you want to control the masses.

More on Privacy: You Must Be Doing Something Bad

Illusion Of Safety 

Every day we hear about all the evils in the world and we start living in a fantasy world where everyone is out to get us.  In this world of imaginary terrors we're afraid of being killed by evil people and we crave imaginary security to protect us.  With so much "security" around us we can feel safe, but we're not.  Although our fear of terrorism and such is far greater than the reality we still have no actual protection against it.

And even so, in reality almost every single one of us will die from cancer because of smoking and pollution or heart problems because of obesity, poor food and little exercise.  Yet almost no money, time or energy is spent on this if you compare it to "security".

If you do the numbers, you're actually a million times more likely to die from anything else but terrorism.  Then why don't we spend a million times more money, time and energy on making cars safer, reducing pollution and curing decease?

When there's really only imaginary terrors and no matter how much money we spend we still don't get any safer.  And when there's so much more actually killing us; how much more "security" do we really need?