Snowden sparks NSA overhaul: Sensitive data to be treated like nuclear weapons
A “two-man rule” is being introduced at the NSA as means of tightening access to top-secret data, according to the agency’s chief Keith Alexander, who was speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on Thursday.
“We’ll close and lock server rooms so that it takes two people to get in there,” Alexander said.
So access to the sensitive information is equated to the access to the data centre. So much wrong with that.
I don’t know where to start with this, but the whole premise of “two man” control only really works in physical world. Any attempt of reproducing it in digital has spectacularly failed: not in design stages, but in implementation and use stages.
Let me pose two hypotheses:
1. sensitive information is only valuable if it’s used. There are three main ways that information is used: drive decisions, drive and steer action, or made known to others that we’re in possession of the information.
2. nuclear weapons are only valuable if they’re not used. Once used their value as deterrent is diminished. What’s worse, their use is likely to make their user worse off, especially if they don’t suffer retaliatory strike. (There’s studies on that and I’m too lazy to go search the library).
The only similarity between sensitive information (at its widest definition) and nuclear weapons is that everyone wants to have them until they realise the cost of maintaining their value.
Sensitive information isn’t free. It’s also not nuclear weapons.