2008-02-03

HistoryCENTER: Spying

My TiVo knows me well. This morning, it recorded a show on The History Channel titled "HistoryCENTER: Spying." History Channel's Steve Gillon does a good job of presenting material in this show from the few other episodes I've seen, but while educational, I normally find HistoryCENTER as exciting as watching paint dry. This one happens to fall right between one of the bigger political debates of the time and my profession, and as such I was immediately drawn in. The description, from their website:

Security vs. Civil Liberties: How have presidents during wartime walked the sometimes difficult line between protecting Americans and their civil liberties? And will the Bush Administration's decision to spy on American citizens without warrants end up as a chapter or footnote in American history? Guests: Timothy Naftali, professor of history at the University of Virginia's Miller Center and David Kahn, author of The Reader of Gentleman's Mail . Hosted by History Channel resident historian Steve Gillon.

I suspect this aired a year or two ago, but it is relevant today nonetheless. I found it an interesting historical perspective on the issue, and as fair and balanced as anything else I've seen on this topic. It's a javascript nightmare, but a replay of this is available courtesy of AOL Video.

If you're in the industry, you should care about and pay close attention to these discussions. Remember than what you're doing as security analysts is, in many cases, spying (network security monitoring, auditing transactional content, etc). How these public debates are resolved may directly impact our field, and in our positions of trust, we're obligated to strike a fair balance between the powers granted to us and the privacy of those impacted by our actions.

Quis custodiet, ipsos custodes?

2008-02-01

Recommended Reading: IEEE Security & Privacy

A few months ago, I was first introduced to IEEE Computer Society's Security and Privacy bi-monthly periodical. Available in both print and web format, I've found most of the articles insightful, useful, or theoretically promising. So far. Hype has claimed many a fine resource in the field, but I'm optimistic IEEE will be able to insulate this one from that common fate. Yes, our industry is still quite nascent. I'm glad to see a reputable, mature organization like IEEE attempt to put some discipline around it. I'll be the first to admit it's not perfect, but it certainly shows promise. To see what I'm talking about, check out their latest highlights. Articles appear by both recognized industry professionals (Bruce Schneier for example, of whom I'm a particularly big fan, in the last issue), as well as researchers with something valuable and intelligent to say who may not be "household" names.

They have an RSS feed. I suggest subscribing on your favorite reader and checking out the summaries for a few issues, you may find this a worthwhile investment. Or, become an IEEE member and enjoy all the benefits of their world-class online library and access to the top professionals in many technical fields.