Security Needs

What kinds of security do we need, anyway? Before examining (and often dismissing) specific countermeasures against the threats we've already talked about, let's stop and talk about needs. In today's computerized, international, interconnected, interdependent world, what kind of security should we expect?


People have a complicated relationship with privacy. When asked to pay for it, they often don't want to. Businesses also have a complicated relationship with privacy. They want it—they know the importance of not having their dirty laundry spread all over the newspapers—and are even willing to pay for it: with locks, alarms, firewalls, and corporate security policies. But when push comes to shove and work needs to get done, security is the first thing that gets thrown out the window. Governments are comfortable with privacy: They know the importance of not having their military secrets in the hands of their enemies. They know they need it, and know that they are going to have to pay dearly for it. And they accept the burden that privacy puts on them. Governments often get the details wrong, but they grok the general idea.

Almost no one realizes exactly how important privacy is in his or her life. The Supreme Court has insinuated that it is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. Democracy is built upon the notion of privacy; you can't have a secret ballot without it. Businesses can't function without some notion of privacy; multiple individuals within a ...

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