7/28/07

Radio Wave Scare Redux

This BBC News report, Wi-fi? Why worry?, talks about school (in Canada and in Chicago) banning Wi-fi because of fears of "the health impact of the 2.4Ghz radio waves used by wireless networks." BBC News rightly reported that there is no heath concern and pointed out the obvious: "If the journalists were really concerned about the dangers of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation on the sensitive brains of the young, they should be calling for the closure of TV and radio transmission towers rather than asking us to turn off our wi-fi laptops."

I had to laugh. It reminded me of something humorist and monologist Jean Shepherd said in a 1965 radio broadcast. Shep said, "Do you know that in the early days of radio, everybody blamed everything that happened on radio. In other words, in 1923 or something—it's a historical fact—when KDKA when on the air or the early radio stations, of course this was like magic to every body, it was fantastic, they could hear stuff right out of the air. And then they began to worry about what was in the air! 'What are these guys sending out?' And people were beginning to say all these words that were in the air were beginning to be—were rotting their brains."

Technology is scary. People are scarier.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Just after keyboarding a blog entry today, Why Proper Security is Not a Reality, I read a post in my friend Dave Piscitello's blog, which points to his article, Sad and Deplorable State of Internet Security, Revisited. It's a good read. Can you guess what he and his Core Competance partner, Lisa Phifer decided?

Their article, by the way, shows some of the stats we love to see, which is the fifth of six reasons why I hate computer and network security. Anyway, a good article.

Why Proper Security is Not a Reality

Now, here is an interesting point.
From a practical standpoint the security problem will remain as long as manufacturers remain committed to current system architectures, produced without a firm requirement for security. As long as there is support for ad hoc fixes and security packages for these inadequate designs and as long as the illusory results of penetration teams are accepted as demonstrations of a computer system security, proper security will not be a reality.
But, wait! That's from "Preliminary Notes on the Design of Secure Military Computer Systems," presented by Roger Schell, USAF, in 1973! (I was a senior in high school. Some of you weren't alive then.) We do keep talking about the same old stuff, one of my top 6 reasons that I hate computer and network security.

I found this quoted by spaf in a presentation from 2002. That presentation starts with a slide that states
First of all these are not new concerns. Some of us have been trying to warn people for decades. There is a body of established principles, largely ignored and a small population of practitioners. We know how to fix many of the problems without new research
Which is also another example of my thesis.

And the beat goes on. La-dee-da-dee-dee. La-dee-da-dee-da. (Yes, I've quoted those lyrics before in another blog, but repetition doesn't seem to bother us, nor does it seem to be efficacious.)