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5.0 out of 5 stars Replete with Pragmatism and Insight, 15 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Schneier on Security (Hardcover)
Although Bruce Schneier is (perhaps) better known for his work in cryptography and computer security, his expertise is far more extensive and this collection of articles and essays demonstrate why he is considered one of the world's foremost security experts. All of the writings in this compilation exemplify his customary brevity, trademark clarity, and peerless familiarity with a wide-range of security matters and it is a must-read for anyone with an interest in society's relationship with its own security.

Moreover, despite covering so much ground and such diverse topics as airport screening and voting machines, it is difficult to quibble with anything Schneier writes: replete with pragmatism and insight, every essay articulates succinctly (and usually in less than a thousand words) what many of us feel intuitively about the constant battle for the feeling (the illusion?) of security. Of course, the fact that all of the material deals with similar issues and that the essays have been arranged by topic means that the "overlap" (p.vii) is extensive and there is a feeling of repetitiveness throughout: nonetheless, some of this work is so important that it should be required reading! Worthy of special mention are; Who Owns Your Computer (p.161 - 163), Cyberwar (p.218 - 220), and Computer and Information Security (p.227 - 230). More than any others, these three influential essays capture the essence of the ongoing privacy debate.

In summary, this is a superb introduction to security and how decisions designed to enhance our security often (usually!) curtail our liberty - as Schneier points out, "security is a trade-off" (p.vii), but any trade is better evaluated with a clear head and an informed opinion: that's what this book offers. You can find much (but not all) of this material online, but the collection provides a wonderful body of knowledge and a superb resource that deserves a wider audience than it will likely attract.
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