The "cybersecurity" industry has become an increasingly bloated "money machine" for firms wishing to cash in on cyber fears of every stripe, from realistic to ridiculous. And even more alarmingly, it has become an excuse for potential government intrusions into Internet operations on a scope never before imagined.
There are warning signs galore. While we can all agree that SCADA systems that operate industrial control and other infrastructure environments are in need of serious security upgrades -- most really never should have been connected to the public Internet in the first place -- "war game" scenarios now being promulgated to garner political support (and the really big bucks!) for "cyber protection" have become de rigueur for agencies and others hell bent for a ride on the cybersecurity gravy train.
-- Lauren Weinstein
By the time of my arrival, the agency was focused almost entirely on
finding prohibited items. Constant positive reinforcement on finding items
like lighters had turned our checkpoint operations into an Easter-egg
hunt. When we ran a test, putting dummy bomb components near lighters in
bags at checkpoints, officers caught the lighters, not the bomb parts.
-- Kip Hawley
, former head of the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
This is the fundamental political problem of airport security: it's in nobody's self-interest to take a stand for what might appear to be reduced security. Imagine that the TSA management announces a new rule that box cutters are now okay, and that they respond to critics by explaining that the current risks to airplanes don't warrant prohibiting them. Even if they're right, they're open to attacks from political opponents that they're not taking terrorism seriously enough. And if they're wrong, their careers are over.
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