Net.wars CFP special: US crime database doesn't have to be accurate.

by Wendy M Grossman | posted on 02 April 2003

Bruce Schneier, security expert, has attacked an astonishing decision by the US authorities - that the National Crime Information Center database no longer has to be accurate - by launching a petition to have the idea reversed.

Wendy M Grossman

The debate about the NCCIC was a highlight of discussion before this year's 13th Annual Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy - CFP.

The conference kicked off with a keynote from Schneier, who talked about how to build effective security measures with particular reference to the current situation. There are, he says, always trade-offs. Are the freedoms we're being forced to give up worth it?

But the talk in the corridors of the conference this year so far is the recent US government announcement -- so bizarre it could have come out of a Terry Gilliam movie -- that the National Crime Information Center database no longer has to be accurate.

In his keynote address this morning, security expert Bruce Schneier argued that this is not just bad social doctrine but bad security, because it will increase the number of false alarms. (You can sign a petition to reverse this lame-headed decision).

There was a final irony: that attendance has been hit this year -- some people weren't willing to fly, others have too many demands on their time.

A number of non-US attendees, however, aren't here because they were refused visas. Long-time CFP recidivist and privacy campaigner Roger Clarke decided not even to try.

Wendy M. Grossman’s Web site has an extensive archive of her books, articles, and music, and an archive of all the earlier columns in this series. Readers are welcome to post here, at net.wars home, follow on Twitter or send email to netwars(at) skeptic.demon.co.uk (but please turn off HTML).