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Rational Inquiry -Volume 7 Number 1

Hello from the New President

By Todd Rockhold

Hello. I'm Todd Rockhold, "new kid on the block" SDARI president. 2002 looks to be shaping up as a pretty good year for us. Discussions with the outgoing president indicate that we are on a solid footing. We have a good mix of experienced and new SDARI members on the board of directors.

Besides musing about the organizationís future, Iíve had a few thoughts in my head about current national affairs. Probably all of us lately have noticed increased attention paid by government officials and the media to security concerns. It seems to me that a lack of levelheaded analysis has accompanied claims of security risks and proposed remedies or countermeasures.

In his December crypto-gram Bruce Schneier, a computing systems security expert, recently provided a useful "template" for such analyses consisting of five questions:

  1. What problem is the countermeasure trying to solve?
  2. How can the countermeasure fail in practice?
  3. Given the failure modes, how well does the countermeasure solve the problem?
  4. What does the countermeasure cost?
  5. Given the effectiveness and costs, is the countermeasure worth it?

To see discussion in that framework of the idea of developing a national identity card for security reasons, visit The entire crypto-gram is quite long, but the part I'm talking about is right at the top. It's a good read.

Looking forward to meeting you all at the first meeting of the new year!

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