More thoughts on passports - Gibson's Laws

Peter made a comment regarding my response to The Economist article I mentioned yesterday.

The more I think about this, the more I think I am in a quandary. My default take on many things is Gibson's First Law:

"Fundamentally most people are not out to get you"

By which I mean that while there are some real arseholes in the world, most people are not malicious and do not do things just to piss you off - they have a genuine reason (or at least think they do) to react the way they do.

The corollary to Gibson's First Law in the context of passports is therefore that most of this security crap isn't worth the effort because most people are not out to get you. If you do get caught, it's either because you're unlikely or you've changed the odds by going somewhere dangerous and doing something stupid.

The quandary
The quandary I am in is as a direct result of Gibson's Third Law:

"The more you think about security, the more paranoid you become"

Peter has raised a definite possibility for how this technology could be relatively easily used against me. I'm not convinced that it's worth worrying about, but it's possible. It comes back to where do we stop worrying. Security can never be perfect. Even if it could, we could never afford it - both in the monetary cost to implement it and the social cost of the restrictions it would place on people's lives. So my quandary is really, what if all my laws are wrong???? And that's too scary to contemplate right now.

Gibson's Second Law is a bit more controversial and will therefore be the subject of its own post at a later date ;-) as will the other laws.


  • Nice post.

    I often wonder how many phantoms are being chased. I have a standard front door lock that any competent lock pick could get through in seconds. That hardly stops us from locking our doors.


    By Blogger Stuart Berman, at 11:21 AM  

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