Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Book review: Surveillance or Security?

"Over the last 20 years or so, there have been intermittent moves by the EU and the UK government to implement various levels of online surveillance — first by requiring ISPs to install equipment to facilitate wiretapping, and second by storing the masses of communications data created by all of us.

But, argues Susan Landau, a former Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems, now a fellow at Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, you can't build surveillance into networks without also poking some very serious security holes in them. Unlike the telephone network, which was built for control, the internet was built with very different goals in mind: information sharing, bandwidth sharing and robustness in the event of generalised attacks. Or, as Landau quotes former NSA director Brian Snow as saying, the internet was designed 'assuming random malice rather than targeted attacks'." (more)