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an observer

Becker writes:

The development of clearer international law about hacking would help deter attacks in cyberspace by private individuals and groups.

What a dull response.

Munger, who has a far better mind, once observed that the simple cash register is a better antidote to embezzlement than all the laws against embezzlement.

This post by Becker shows the limits of his mind and that he suffers with a man with a hammer syndrome---every problem to him appears to be a legal problem, needing more laws.

The solutions to cyberspying will not be found with better laws. They will arise in the same way that the cash register solved the problem of employee embezzlement

They will arise from complete rethinking of computer science and networks. Observer knows of people who are doing this work, applying the work of a great Chicago mind, Stephen Wolfram.

This post, like Posner's, is the work of the conservative mind, confusing the familiar with the necessary

an observer

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The growth of the cyber threat has risen in parallel with global internet usage. Online development happens so quickly that, at present, those who seek to intrude upon online systems have an advantage over those who are trying to protect them. Cyber-espionage is highly targeted, so protection should be greatest around information that has the highest value to outsiders.
Enterprises are not taking the threat of cyber espionage seriously enough, and many have not taken adequate steps to prevent an attack. The threat of cyber espionage must be addressed by enterprises as it is as relevant to them as it is to national security organisations.

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Not much to add on this one. Observer/Munger have a strong point in the "better cash register" theory....... but pre-computer embezzlement was typically very localized and of no threat to any overall system.

Today, we've the triple threats of 1. embezzlement 2.ID theft and 3. the whole area of security threat from terrorists (or fairly sick pranksters) taking down the grid or hacking a nukie installation to military secrets etc.

There's bound to be advancements in the "better cash register" but trouble is they all rely on a "key" typically a secret code that can be hacked, or can be "lost" or given away by one of the trustees.

The military, and the diplomats, may have to get used to there being less privacy.

Except for actual battle plan troop movements, which probably can be protected, it may not be all bad for the miltaries of the world and the diplomats to known more about weapons development etc.

And? some positives? I've LONG favored banning nukes, and making the factors of production and delivery international contraband. In the "USSR" days, perhaps, there was not the means to verify compliance. Today? I'd expect the military knows of most nuke projects, and the anonymity of the internet and "hackers" could help rat out the rest.

Once we've become civilized enough (as so many RETIRED generals have) to rapidly "build them down to zero" with a fair sized army of inspectors and lucrative "Rewards for info leading to........." we should all be much safer at FAR lower costs.

Any guesses here, as to what building, protecting, dismantling nukes costs us each year? More than $100 billion?

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Slightly off topic:

Some economists have reported the "speculation premium" on gasoline at the pump as being 83 cents/gallon. ...... about what I'd have guessed from oil co spokesmen having stated prices in the $50 range would cover most exploration and development.


..... Question: As it IS becoming more apparent that speculation is increasing our costs by such untenable margins......... WHY do we tolerate such an "inefficient" (rigged) market?

This is certainly happening in food prices as well.

But! Haha! IF we believe "markets" will eventually self-correct there's another round of our fellow citizens being beaten and robbed. How many brokers and "advisers" have we heard or read in recent years who are "putting their clients IN commodities?" Just as if taking a speculative, zero sum, "position" (feel free to use your imagination) "In commodities" was the same as investing in the future gains of a productive enterprise.

Will "fixing" SS soon be that of being "in" pork bellies?

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There's bound to be advancements in the "better cash register" but trouble is they all rely on a "key" typically a secret code that can be hacked, or can be "lost" or given away by one of the trustees....I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information...

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And these are the instances we know about. Can you imagine what hacking is going on behind the scenes?


Looks like the spammers are taking over this blog to put their links in!


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Ross Ander

Over the past ten years, a lot of work has been done on the economics of information security. Modern systems tend to have many stakeholders, who may be competitors or even in conflict; security often fails because the person who does the maintenance isn't the person who pays the cost of failure. But that's just the start. The field has many fascinating examples of asymmetric information, network and other externalities, agency effects and behavioural twists. For survey papers and links to recent research, see



Ross Anderson


Whether anyone is taking over this blog is debatable, but at least one can tell the spammers from the Leninists; the latter can't spell.


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