Opinion

Schneier warns that, without changes, the growth of the Internet will strengthen the hand of central authorities at the expense of individual liberties and democracy. (Photo courtesy of Schneier.com.)

Losing The Future: Schneier On How The Internet Could Kill Democracy

With his deep background in both cryptography and Internet security, Bruce Schneier is of the most thoughtful commentators on all matters cyber. So revered is he, that he even inspired a list of humorous Chuck Norris-style “Bruce Schneier” facts . In recent months, Bruce has been an invaluable sounding board amid the drip-drip-drip of details of ubiquitous government surveillance stemming from Edward Snowden’s leak of classified intelligence on NSA spying and cyber operations. In this video, from a recent speech Bruce did at the TEDxCambridge event up here in the Boston area, he goes a bit deeper: drawing out the current trend lines like hacktivism, Facebook- and Twitter-fueled popular revolutions, civil war and mass surveillance, and trying to discern what the future might look like. /div> Bruce’s theory: although nimble groups of activists, dissidents and hackers have been more adept at using the Internet and innovative technologies and platforms built on […]

Read "Insecure at any speed: are auto makers failing the software crash test?"

Software Safety Should Be Treated Just Like Food Safety. Discuss.

It’s easy to agree with statements like “the food we buy in supermarkets should be safe to eat.” After all, who wants go to bat for shoddy growers pushing contaminated lettuce, or distributors sending out botulinum-laced fish and meats? But what about software safety? Suffice it to say that if people ate software applications instead of, say, cinnamon rolls, they’d be dropping like flies. That’s because the code that powers those applications is often riddled with potentially dangerous insecurities. Unlike the food industry, however, there have been only fitful efforts by government and industry to address what everyone recognizes is a widespread problem.   I’ve written elsewhere about the relative lack of a “safety culture” in the software industry compared with industries like civil aviation or even food. (Remember: most of the food recalls and alerts that are issued today are voluntary.) But there’s also a decades-long track record of the government taking […]

World-is-Flat Author Weighs In On Internet Of Things

World-is-Flat Author Weighs In On Internet Of Things

Those of you who don’t religiously read the Op-ed page of The New York Times, but who are interested in the Internet of Things, probably want to surf on over to the Times’s web site to check out Thomas Friedman’s opinion piece “When Complexity Is Free” from the Sunday Times. There are a couple of points, here. Friedman is one of the most astute observers of the geopolitical zeitgeist. His 2005 book The World Is Flat talked about the confluence of technologic innovation, the Internet and economic globalization. It is one of the most widely read works of “business writing” of the last century and helped explain, for the public and policymakers, the tectonic changes taking place in emerging and mature economies worldwide. Friedman’s stature as a trend-spotter (see #1) means that, when he says something is important (as he did with IoT this week) important folks take notice. In the […]