"

As you stand in endless lines this holiday season, here’s a comforting thought: all those security measures accomplish nothing, at enormous cost. That’s the conclusion of Charles C. Mann, who put the T.S.A. to the test with the help of one of America’s top security experts [Bruce Schneier, actually one of the world’s top security experts].

Ten years ago, 19 men armed with utility knives hijacked four airplanes and within a few hours killed nearly 3,000 people. At a stroke, Americans were thrust into a menacing new world. “They are coming after us,” C.I.A. director George Tenet said of al-Qaeda. “They intend to strike this homeland again, and we better get about the business of putting the right structure in place as fast as we can.”

The United States tried to do just that. Federal and state governments embarked on a nationwide safety upgrade. Checkpoints proliferated in airports, train stations, and office buildings. A digital panopticon of radiation scanners, chemical sensors, and closed-circuit television cameras audited the movements of shipping containers, airborne chemicals, and ordinary Americans. None of this was or will be cheap. Since 9/11, the U.S. has spent more than $1.1 trillion on homeland security.

To a large number of security analysts, this expenditure makes no sense. The vast cost is not worth the infinitesimal benefit. Not only has the actual threat from terror been exaggerated, they say, but the great bulk of the post-9/11 measures to contain it are little more than what Schneier mocks as “security theater”: actions that accomplish nothing but are designed to make the government look like it is on the job. In fact, the continuing expenditure on security may actually have made the United States less safe.

To walk through an airport with Bruce Schneier is to see how much change a trillion dollars can wreak. So much inconvenience for so little benefit at such a staggering cost. And directed against a threat that, by any objective standard, is quite modest. Since 9/11, Islamic terrorists have killed just 17 people on American soil, all but four of them victims of an army major turned fanatic who shot fellow soldiers in a rampage at Fort Hood. (The other four were killed by lone-wolf assassins.) During that same period, 200 times as many Americans drowned in their bathtubs. Still more were killed by driving their cars into deer. The best memorial to the victims of 9/11, in Schneier’s view, would be to forget most of the “lessons” of 9/11. “It’s infuriating,” he said, waving my fraudulent boarding pass to indicate the mass of waiting passengers, the humming X-ray machines, the piles of unloaded computers and cell phones on the conveyor belts, the uniformed T.S.A. officers instructing people to remove their shoes and take loose change from their pockets. “We’re spending billions upon billions of dollars doing this—and it is almost entirely pointless. Not only is it not done right, but even if it was done right it would be the wrong thing to do.”

"

Does Airport Security Really Make Us Safer? | Culture | Vanity Fair

infoneer-pulse:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other international leaders urged countries and private businesses on Thursday to fight increasing efforts to restrict access to the Internet by repressive governments and even some democratic ones.

Opening a two-day conference on digital freedom here sponsored by Google and the Dutch government, Mrs. Clinton warned that restrictions on the Internet threatened not only basic freedoms and human rights, but also international commerce and the free flow of information that increasingly makes it possible.

“When ideas are blocked, information deleted, conversations stifled and people constrained in their choices, the Internet is diminished for all of us,” Mrs. Clinton said. She added: “There isn’t an economic Internet and a social Internet and a political Internet. There’s just the Internet.”

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

… while back home, her own government tries mightily to pass Internet-restricting legislation at Hollywood’s behest. stay classy, U.S. government.

thedailywhat:

Say What Now of the Day: In what sounds like a classic knee-slapper from an Orwellian joke book, the Calgary-based oil and gas company Paramount Resources is naming the subsidiary overseeing it controversial oil sands operation after one of the world’s most beloved animation studios: Pixar.
“Paramount Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce the reorganization of all of the Company’s oil sands and carbonate bitumen interests into a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Pixar Petroleum Corp. (“Pixar”),” announced a press release.
The Disney Blog points out that, while shameless, there isn’t likely to be a trademark issue as “there shouldn’t be any real confusion among the public that they’re the same company.”
That being said, Paramount is clearly hoping at least some people might be persuaded to lessen their distaste for the environmentally disastrous oil sands extraction process if they associate it with Buzz or Sulley or Nemo.
Big Screen Animation makes note of a poignant coincidence: The negative environmental impacts of the Athabasca (Alberta) tar sands were well explored in a series of documentaries produced by none-other-than Leslie Iwerks — director of The Pixar Story and A Day in the Life of John Lasseter.
One of the documentaries Downstream, is available for viewing online.  
[calgary / bsa / disneyblog.]

thedailywhat:

Say What Now of the Day: In what sounds like a classic knee-slapper from an Orwellian joke book, the Calgary-based oil and gas company Paramount Resources is naming the subsidiary overseeing it controversial oil sands operation after one of the world’s most beloved animation studios: Pixar.

“Paramount Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce the reorganization of all of the Company’s oil sands and carbonate bitumen interests into a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Pixar Petroleum Corp. (“Pixar”),” announced a press release.

The Disney Blog points out that, while shameless, there isn’t likely to be a trademark issue as “there shouldn’t be any real confusion among the public that they’re the same company.”

That being said, Paramount is clearly hoping at least some people might be persuaded to lessen their distaste for the environmentally disastrous oil sands extraction process if they associate it with Buzz or Sulley or Nemo.

Big Screen Animation makes note of a poignant coincidence: The negative environmental impacts of the Athabasca (Alberta) tar sands were well explored in a series of documentaries produced by none-other-than Leslie Iwerks — director of The Pixar Story and A Day in the Life of John Lasseter.

One of the documentaries Downstream, is available for viewing online.  

[calgary / bsa / disneyblog.]

(Source: thedailywhat)

wilwheaton:

The Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.

Senators need to hear from you, on whether you think your front yard is part of a “battlefield” and if any president can send the military anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial.

The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday.The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?

This is an appalling power grab on behalf of the military/industrial complex, and must be stopped. Please call your congresspeople and tell them to support the Udall Amendment to S. 1867, because America isn’t some giant “battlefield” where we’re all subject to military law at the whim of whoever happens to be president at the moment.

laughingsquid:

Fliers Still Must Turn Off Devices, but It’s Not Clear Why
thedailywhat:

This Is All Kinds Of Wrong of the Day: In a move to block important changes to the nutritional requirements of school lunches, the GOP-led House of Representatives yesterday voted to pass a bill that eliminates USDA-endorsed anti-childhood-obesity limits to French fries, while maintaining the status of pizza as a “vegetable.”
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, signed into law by President Obama last year, set new standards for government-funded lunch programs, reducing the serving of white potatoes to one cup a week, and requiring that pizzas contain at least half a cup of tomato paste to constitute “a vegetable.”
The new spending bill keeps the status quo of two tablespoons in place.
“It’s an important victory,” said a spokesman for the American Frozen Food Institute, which represents such food giants as ConAgra, Schwan, McCain, Heinz, Kraft, General Mills, and McDonald’s supplier J.R. Simplot. “Our concern is that the standards would force companies in many respects to change their products in a way that would make them unpalatable to students.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack acknowledged the loss, but said the USDA would still do “everything it can” to provide schoolchildren with nutritious lunches.
“Clearly more pizza and French fries in schools is not good for kids, but it’s good for companies that make pizza and French fries,” said Center for Science in the Public Interest nutrition policy director Margo Wootan, noting that food manufacturers talk up the nutritional value of their foods while fighting regulations that require them to do better.
[reuters / image: reddit.]

because schoolchildren don’t have powerful lobbyists and millions and millions of dollars to donate to Congressional re-election funds, that’s why.

thedailywhat:

This Is All Kinds Of Wrong of the Day: In a move to block important changes to the nutritional requirements of school lunches, the GOP-led House of Representatives yesterday voted to pass a bill that eliminates USDA-endorsed anti-childhood-obesity limits to French fries, while maintaining the status of pizza as a “vegetable.”

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, signed into law by President Obama last year, set new standards for government-funded lunch programs, reducing the serving of white potatoes to one cup a week, and requiring that pizzas contain at least half a cup of tomato paste to constitute “a vegetable.”

The new spending bill keeps the status quo of two tablespoons in place.

“It’s an important victory,” said a spokesman for the American Frozen Food Institute, which represents such food giants as ConAgra, Schwan, McCain, Heinz, Kraft, General Mills, and McDonald’s supplier J.R. Simplot. “Our concern is that the standards would force companies in many respects to change their products in a way that would make them unpalatable to students.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack acknowledged the loss, but said the USDA would still do “everything it can” to provide schoolchildren with nutritious lunches.

“Clearly more pizza and French fries in schools is not good for kids, but it’s good for companies that make pizza and French fries,” said Center for Science in the Public Interest nutrition policy director Margo Wootan, noting that food manufacturers talk up the nutritional value of their foods while fighting regulations that require them to do better.

[reuters / image: reddit.]

because schoolchildren don’t have powerful lobbyists and millions and millions of dollars to donate to Congressional re-election funds, that’s why.

(Source: thedailywhat)

"This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if an attacker sends a continuous flow of specially crafted UDP packets to a closed port on a target system."

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS11-083 - Critical : Vulnerability in TCP/IP Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2588516)

read that again: sending crafted UDP packets to a closed port can result in remote code execution.

trustworthy computing, indeed.

(via cleverhacks)

(via cleverhacks)

infoneer-pulse:

Researchers have demonstrated a vulnerability in the computer systems used to control facilities at federal prisons that could allow an outsider to remotely take them over, doing everything from opening and overloading cell door mechanisms to shutting down internal communications systems. Tiffany Rad, Teague Newman, and John Strauchs, who presented their research on October 26 at the Hacker Halted information security conference in Miami, worked in Newman’s basement to develop the attacks that could take control of prisons’ industrial control systems and programmable logic controllers. They spent less than $2,500 and had no previous experience in dealing with those technologies.

» via ars technica

pretty much this, yeah. security policy folks: only YOU can prevent password rage!

(via comixed.memebase.com)

pretty much this, yeah. security policy folks: only YOU can prevent password rage!

(via comixed.memebase.com)