Beyond Security Theatre
Bruce Schneier has an outstanding post arguing for the need to move beyond security theater and engage our rational minds around the terrorism threat and what should be done to prevent it.
Security theater refers to security measures that make people feel more secure without doing anything to actually improve their security. An example: the photo ID checks that have sprung up in office buildings. No-one has ever explained why verifying that someone has a photo ID provides any actual security, but it looks like security to have a uniformed guard-for-hire looking at ID cards. Airport-security examples include the National Guard troops stationed at US airports in the months after 9/11 — their guns had no bullets. The US colour-coded system of threat levels, the pervasive harassment of photographers, and the metal detectors that are increasingly common in hotels and office buildings since the Mumbai terrorist attacks, are additional examples.
This entire post is worth reading. And we need more discussion on these points.
We’ve accepted many things out of fear since 9/11/01. But we rarely question whether the measures we’ve accepted actually make us safer.