A few years ago I heard a quotation, and I am going to modify it here: If you think technology can solve your security problems, then you don't understand the problems and you don't understand the technology.
Every time I write about the impossibility of effectively protecting digital files on a general-purpose computer, I get responses from people decrying the death of copyright. "How will authors and artists get paid for their work?" they ask me. Truth be told, I don't know. I feel rather like the physicist who just explained relativity to a group of would-be interstellar travelers, only to be asked: "How do you expect us to get to the stars, then?" I'm sorry, but I don't know that, either.
Politics and societal issues of the digital age
It is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could someday facilitate a police state.
Secrets and Lies (2000), p. 53
I mean, the computer industry promises nothing. Did you ever read a shrink-wrapped license agreement? You should read one. It basically says, if this product deliberately kills your children, and we knew it would, and we decided not to tell you because it might harm sales, we're not liable. I mean, it says stuff like that. They're absurd documents. You have no rights.
"Your computer is not secure". Hartford Advocate. 2006-04-27.
Beware the Four Horsemen of the Information Apocalypse: terrorists, drug dealers, kidnappers, and child pornographers. Seems like you can scare any public into allowing the government to do anything with those four.
Schneier, Bruce (2005-12-16). Computer Crime Hype. Schneier on Security blog. Retrieved on 2006-09-08.
Chaos is hard to create, even on the Internet. Here's an example. Go to Amazon.com. Buy a book without using SSL. Watch the total lack of chaos.
When my mother gets a prompt 'Do you want to download this?' she's going to say yes. It's disingenuous for Microsoft to give you all of these tools [in Internet Explorer] with which to hang yourself, and when you do, then say it's your fault.
The very definition of news is something that hardly ever happens. If an incident is in the news, we shouldn't worry about it. It's when something is so common that its no longer news – car crashes, domestic violence – that we should worry.
We can't keep weapons out of prisons; we can't possibly expect to keep them out of airports.
Schneier, Bruce (2005-05-15). Prison Shivs. Cryptogram newsletter. Retrieved on 2009-12-27.
The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics.
The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.
And we're doing exactly what the terrorists want.