[NetBehaviour] Security at What Cost?
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue Feb 26 00:15:47 CET 2008
Bruce Schneier: Security at What Cost?
National ID System Is Not Worth The $23 Billion Price Tag.
he argument was so obvious it hardly needed repeating: We would all be
safer if we had a better ID card. A good, hard-to-forge national ID is a
no-brainer (or so the argument goes), and it's ridiculous that a modern
country such as the United States doesn't have one. One result of this
line of thinking is the planned Real ID Act, which forces all states to
conform to common and more stringent rules for issuing driver's licenses.
But security is always a tradeoff; it must be balanced with the cost. We
all do this intuitively. Few of us walk around wearing bulletproof
vests. It's not because they're ineffective, it's because for most of
us, the tradeoff isn't worth it. It's not worth the cost, the
inconvenience, or the loss of fashion sense.
According to the Department of Homeland Security's own estimates, Real
ID will cost Americans around $23 billion. So is this a good tradeoff
for us -- are the security benefits worth the price tag?
When most people think of ID cards, they think of a small plastic card
with their name and photograph. This isn't wrong, but it's only a small
piece of any ID program. What starts out as a seemingly simple security
device -- a card that binds a photograph with a name -- rapidly becomes
a complex security system.
More information about the NetBehaviour