August 28, 2004

The No-Fly List and Think Like A Terrorist

Responding to my post "Data corruption attack on terrorist no-fly list?", Ernest Miller comments:

As amusing as that thought is, however, the real question is why would terrorists want to do this? Why would they want to flummox up a mostly ineffectual system that give the illusion, but not the reality of security? Sure, it might increase the costs of the system, but would it be worth it?

I reply: Think like a terrorist! (not a techie). Let's say, in the standard sort of nethead framework, that the silly security system is fooling those sheeple of the general population. Bovine-like, they are led and lulled by the shiny objects and pretty blinking lights. We are just so smart, we see through it, can't fool us, no siree.

But ... the terrorists, they're smart too. They know it's all a sham and political posturing. They also know that we smart people know it's all for show. So they don't *want* the general population to have the illusion of security. After all, if the general population has the illusion of security, then they're not terrified - and the terrorists have lost! Moreover, the beneficiaries of such illusions are the current government, which is exactly the opposite of a desirable situation from the viewpoint of a jihad-ist.

So flummoxing the no-fly list a "terror twofer". It embarrasses the government, and can be used to disrupt the travel of even high government officials. Think of it: a few plausible-deniability entries, corrupting a list, can throw a senior Senator's (or Representative's) schedule into disarray and personal frustration. And then cast doubt on the quality of whole data set. It's an incredible return on investment of a very low-level operation.

The conclusion is inevitable:


[Just to be clear, since this is the Internet, I have to break the mood and say that this article is written tongue-in-cheek. But feel free to take it seriously anyway.]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in security | on August 28, 2004 11:31 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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