August 27, 2008

My _Guardian_ column on Security by Obscurity = Ignorance is Strength

security by obscurity = ignorance is strength

Is research that uncovers flaws in transportation fare payment systems so dangerous as to justify censorship?

This is my reaction to the MBTA v. Anderson case, where three MIT students and MIT have been sued over their research showing security weaknesses in the MBTA subway fare system. I'm hoping my comparison of "security by obscurity" to the Orwellian slogan of "Ignorance is Strength" catches on. Happily, that comparison managed to make it into the title.

Blog bonus: My original draft had a paragraph "Some naive commentators have a ludicrous idea that there's teams of civil-libertarian lawyers on alert who scan the skies for the EFF-signal and then leap into the EFF-mobile to do battle. The reality may be heroic in its own way, but resembles battlefield triage far more than a bloodless inevitable triumph of good over evil."

But that either got cut for space or because the Batman references were too obscure.

[For all columns, see the page Seth Finkelstein |]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in legal , press , security | on August 27, 2008 08:55 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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