Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Small Bits of Irony: Secure Flight, Insecure Borders

Bruce Schneier talks about the Secure Flight being an improvement over the current watchlist system, but can’t give us details. The new system will rely on more information in the reservation. But if we don’t have that more information on the person on the watchlist, what will happen? Eg, if there’s no known birthday for David Nelson, will all the other David Nelsons still be in trouble? Will it store information on gender and race, which would be useful in reducing false positives for folks like Johnnie Thomas?

Oh, and while putting in place this expensive, ineffective system, Congress isn’t funding border guards.

4 comments on "Small Bits of Irony: Secure Flight, Insecure Borders"

  • Schneier reports on DHS committee – hope for Open Governance yet

    Even though under NDA, Bruce Schneier reports on on his committee work with DHS’ new terrorist / passenger matching system but he “can’t give us the details” says Adam. Right. But he’s stressed the important points, such as the system…

  • Iang says:

    I’m not sure I understand the connection between border guards and terrorism. My basic understanding is that the border(s) are porous and no amount of guards are going to stop that.
    That is, if the guards were increased 10-fold, would that make a difference? How many people slip in every year? What proportion are informals?
    One of the biggest problems with facing threat A is getting confused and facing threat B. Unfortunately, threat A likes that confusion. If I was bin Laden, I’d say “Yo! More money for border guards!” No?

  • Adam says:

    I’m not clear if it would make a difference. If I were a terrorist, trying to slip in to the US today, I would go across the Mexican border. Adding border guards increases the odds that we’ll catch them. The whole ‘Secure flight’ charade is a gigantic, expensive drag on American safety and budgets.

  • 2,000 New Border Patrol Agents Is “Fools Gold” Tom Ridge Says

    The intelligence reform bill passed last year authorized 10,000 new border patrol agents over the next 5 years nearly doubling the number of agents patrolling our borders. The bill did not include funding for the new agents and it looks…

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