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Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren't Stopping Tomorrow's Terrorism (Hoover Inst Press Publication)

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Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren't Stopping Tomorrow's Terrorism (Hoover Inst Press Publication) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The events of 9/11 were caused as much by technological change as by evil men and government errors. From jet travel to the Internet, technologies that empower ordinary individuals will sooner or later also empower Osama bin Laden. When technologies grow exponentially, unintended consequences are inevitable.  Government needs new tools to respond to these emerging threats.  But no is still the privacy community’s default answer to any improvement in law enforcement technology. Anything government proposes to head off the risks of new technology faces bitter diplomatic, privacy, and business resistance. In this book, Stewart A. Baker—the first assistant secretary for policy at the Departmen of Homeland Security under the Bush administration—draws on his experiences in government to illuminate the ongoing battle between proponents of privacy versus those of security.

 

The author describes how civil liberties rules cost us our last, best chance to catch the 9/11 hijackers before they struck.  He shows how Homeland Security is transforming border security to meet the challenge of exponential increases in jet travel. And he looks at the European Union’s opposition to this transformation, cautioning that if Europe's first inclination is to slow the Americans down, question their motives, and make them pay for any changes in policy, we will not be able to meet the challenge of other accelerating new technologies. He examines how a left-right privacy coalition—including such strange bedfellows as the ACLU and the Gun Owners of America—blocked changes at the Transportation Security Administration that would have both made travel easier and stopped the “Christmas Day Bomber.”

 

Turning to other exponential technologies that carry new risks, Baker examines the rise of “Moore’s outlaws”—those who use the growth of information technology to spy, steal, and wage war in cyberspace—and the democratization of biotechnology that will make it possible for garage biohackers to reconstruct smallpox and worse in garage labs. 

 

We can avoid the worst risks, concludes Baker, if we take action early. But with privacy campaigners fighting all new government uses of technology, early action is nearly impossible.  What’s needed is a view of privacy that embraces the future instead of trying to keep law enforcement in the 1950s until disaster strikes. 

Book News Annotation:

Baker, former assistant secretary for policy at the US Department of Homeland Security under the Bush administration, offers his opinions about the shortcomings of border security and predictions for the future in this semi-memoir of his time on the job. He blames private groups and the international community for blocking the implementation of tighter security measures at the borders. He also touches on technological worries and bioterrorism. The book will be of interest to the general reader, especially those who hearken back to the days of Bush. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

In the years after 9/11, officials scrambled to rethink security at the border and in the air--while privacy groups and foreign governments did their best to stop and then roll back security measures.  As a result, we have only partially closed gaping security holes.  Worse, the resistance has made it all but impossible to head off other disasters that are inherent in new technologies such as computer networks and biotech. 

 

In Skating on Stilts, Stewart A. Baker draws on his experience at Homeland Security to give the reader a ringside seat as the battle unfolds.  In a lively memoir, he describes his agency’s post-9/11 strategy to rebuild border security on a foundation of better information about travelers, and the bitter resistance the strategy met from privacy campaigners in the United States and Europe. He shows how a left-right privacy coalition helped set the stage for the Christmas Day bombing. 

 

Looking to the future, Baker examines two new technologies that carry within them the seeds of disasters more damaging than 9/11. As with border security, we can avoid catastrophe by changing our current course a few degrees, building prudent new security measures around information networks and biotechnology. But that course faces stiff resistance from the same groups that fought new security measures after 9/11.   Baker argues that privacy campaigners should abandon their stance of opposing all new government uses of technology.  Instead of fighting the inevitable in the name of privacy, we should embrace new technologies that offer new ways to protect citizens from abuse.

Synopsis:

Stewart A. Baker, a former Homeland Security official, examines the technologies we love—jet travel, computer networks, and biotech—and finds that they are likely to empower new forms of terrorism unless we change our current course a few degrees and overcome resistance to change from business, foreign governments, and privacy advocates. He draws on his Homeland Security experience to show how that was done in the case of jet travel and border security but concludes that heading off disasters in computer networks and biotech will require a hardheaded recognition that privacy must sometimes yield to security, especially as technology changes the risks to both.

About the Author

Stewart A. Baker was the first assistant secretary for policy at the United States Department of Homeland Security and the former general counsel of the National Security Agency.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Part One: The Road to 9/11

Introduction: The Gift

1 Skating on Stilts

2 Atta’s Soldier

3 To the Wall

4 Never Again

Part Two: Flight and Facts

5 Europe Picks a Privacy Fight

6 To the Brink

7 Al Qaeda’s Frequent Traveler Program

8 Privacy Victims in the Air

Part Three: Tomorrow’s Terrorism

9 Moore’s Outlaws

10 Big Brother’s Revenge

11 Invested in Insecurity

12 Smallpox in the Garage

Part Four: The Privacy Problem

13 What’s Wrong with Privacy?

14 Privacy for the Real World

Endnotes

About the Author

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780817911546
Author:
Baker, Stewart A
Publisher:
Hoover Institution Press
Author:
Baker, Stewart
Author:
Baker, Stewart A.
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Terrorism
Subject:
Science & Technology
Subject:
Law Enforcement
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - International Secur
Subject:
Terrorism -- United States -- Prevention.
Subject:
United States Foreign relations.
Subject:
Politics - General
Edition Description:
1st Edition
Series:
Hoover Institution Press Publication
Publication Date:
20100631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
360
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Law Enforcement
History and Social Science » Law » Legal Guides and Reference
History and Social Science » Military » Terrorism Mercenaries and Guerrillas
History and Social Science » Politics » General

Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren't Stopping Tomorrow's Terrorism (Hoover Inst Press Publication) Used Hardcover
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Product details 360 pages Hoover Institute Press Book Division - English 9780817911546 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

In the years after 9/11, officials scrambled to rethink security at the border and in the air--while privacy groups and foreign governments did their best to stop and then roll back security measures.  As a result, we have only partially closed gaping security holes.  Worse, the resistance has made it all but impossible to head off other disasters that are inherent in new technologies such as computer networks and biotech. 

 

In Skating on Stilts, Stewart A. Baker draws on his experience at Homeland Security to give the reader a ringside seat as the battle unfolds.  In a lively memoir, he describes his agency’s post-9/11 strategy to rebuild border security on a foundation of better information about travelers, and the bitter resistance the strategy met from privacy campaigners in the United States and Europe. He shows how a left-right privacy coalition helped set the stage for the Christmas Day bombing. 

 

Looking to the future, Baker examines two new technologies that carry within them the seeds of disasters more damaging than 9/11. As with border security, we can avoid catastrophe by changing our current course a few degrees, building prudent new security measures around information networks and biotechnology. But that course faces stiff resistance from the same groups that fought new security measures after 9/11.   Baker argues that privacy campaigners should abandon their stance of opposing all new government uses of technology.  Instead of fighting the inevitable in the name of privacy, we should embrace new technologies that offer new ways to protect citizens from abuse.

"Synopsis" by , Stewart A. Baker, a former Homeland Security official, examines the technologies we love—jet travel, computer networks, and biotech—and finds that they are likely to empower new forms of terrorism unless we change our current course a few degrees and overcome resistance to change from business, foreign governments, and privacy advocates. He draws on his Homeland Security experience to show how that was done in the case of jet travel and border security but concludes that heading off disasters in computer networks and biotech will require a hardheaded recognition that privacy must sometimes yield to security, especially as technology changes the risks to both.
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