Weird security

Bruce Shneier’s blog discusses how to secure your laptop at international borders. Ignoring the fact that the Shneier methods are impressively ingenious – although, surely, in the sledgehammer-nut category – the truly amazing thing is that any government thinks “security” is served by searching laptops at airports.

I don’t mean “searched to make sure that they aren’t hiding bombs or weapons”. That would be a completely reasonable kind of search.

No, I mean searched, in the sense of “searching the hard drive.” This is absurd, in purely practical terms – ignoring the civil liberties questions – on so many levels. (I planned to list the practical difficulties of the idea, but they should be obvious to anyone who’s ever trawled their own hard disks for hours, in a quest for a two years old cv.)

The gaping elephant-in-the-room sized flaw in the whole procedure is the INTERNET. Any given piece-of-dangerous-information can be sitting comfortably on a computer in end-country x, hours before a courier-with-the-laptop has driven to an international airport in origin-country y. So, why the laptop searches?

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