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Liars and Outliers, Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive von Schneier, Bruce (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 27.01.2012
  • Verlag: Wiley
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Liars and Outliers,

How does society function when you can't trust everyone? When we think about trust, we naturally think about personal relationships or bank vaults. That's too narrow. Trust is much broader, and much more important. Nothing in society works without trust. It's the foundation of communities, commerce, democracy - everything. In this insightful and entertaining book, Schneier weaves together ideas from across the social and biological sciences to explain how society induces trust. He shows how trust works and fails in social settings, communities, organizations, countries, and the world. In today's hyper-connected society, understanding the mechanisms of trust is as important as understanding electricity was a century ago. Issues of trust and security are critical to solving problems as diverse as corporate responsibility, global warming, and our moribund political system. After reading Liars and Outliers, you'll think about social problems, large and small, differently. AUTHOR BIO BRUCE SCHNEIER is an internationally renowned security technologist who studies the human side of security. He is the author of eleven books; and hundreds of articles, essays, and academic papers. He has testified before Congress, is a frequent guest on television and radio, and is regularly quoted in the press. His blog and monthly newsletter at www.schneier.com reach over devoted 250,000 devoted readers world-wide. 'The closest thing the security industry has to a rock star.' - The Register ADVANCE PRAISE FOR LIARS AND OUTLIERS 'A rich, insightfully fresh take on what security really means!' - DAVID ROPEIK, Author of How Risky is it, Really? 'Schneier has accomplished a spectacular tour de force: an enthralling ride through history, economics, and psychology, searching for the meanings of trust and security. A must read.' - ALESSANDRO ACQUISTI , Associate Professor of Information Systems and Public Policy at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University 'Liars and Outliers offers a major contribution to the understandability of these issues, and has the potential to help readers cope with the ever-increasing risks to which we are being exposed. It is well written and delightful to read.' - PETER G. NEUMANN , Principal Scientist in the SRI International Computer Science Laboratory 'Whether it's banks versus robbers, Hollywood versus downloaders, or even the Iranian secret police against democracy activists, security is often a dynamic struggle between a majority who want to impose their will, and a minority who want to push the boundaries. Liars and Outliers will change how you think about conflict, our security, and even who we are.' - ROSS ANDERSON , Professor of Security Engineering at Cambridge University and author of Security Engineering 'Readers of Bruce Schneier's Liars and Outliers will better understand technology and its consequences and become more mature practitioners.' - PABLO G. MOLINA , Professor of Technology Management, Georgetown University ' Liars & Outliers is not just a book about security - it is the book about it. Schneier shows that the power of humour can be harnessed to explore even a serious subject such as security. A great read!' - FRANK FUREDI , author of On Tolerance: A Defence of Moral Independence 'This fascinating book gives an insightful and convincing framework for understanding security and trust.' - JEFF YAN , Founding Research Director, Center for Cybercrime and Computer Security, Newcastle University 'By analyzing the moving parts and interrelationships among security, trust, and society, Schneier has identifi ed critical patterns, pressures, levers, and security holes within society. Clearly written, thoroughly interdisciplinary, and always smart, Liars and Outliers provides great insight into resolving society's various dilemmas.' - JERRY KANG , Professor of Law, UCLA 'By keeping the social dimension of trust and security in the center of his analysis, Schneier breaks new ground wit


    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: AdobeDRM
    Seitenzahl: 336
    Erscheinungsdatum: 27.01.2012
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9781118239018
    Verlag: Wiley
    Größe: 1551 kBytes
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Liars and Outliers,

Chapter 1


Just today, a stranger came to my door claiming he was here to unclog a bathroom drain. I let him into my house without verifying his identity, and not only did he repair the drain, he also took off his shoes so he wouldn't track mud on my floors. When he was done, I gave him a piece of paper that asked my bank to give him some money. He accepted it without a second glance. At no point did he attempt to take my possessions, and at no point did I attempt the same of him. In fact, neither of us worried that the other would. My wife was also home, but it never occurred to me that he was a sexual rival and I should therefore kill him.

Also today, I passed several strangers on the street without any of them attacking me. I bought food from a grocery store, not at all concerned that it might be unfit for human consumption. I locked my front door, but didn't spare a moment's worry at how easy it would be for someone to smash my window in. Even people driving cars, large murderous instruments that could crush me like a bug, didn't scare me.

Most amazingly, this worked without much overt security. I don't carry a gun for self-defense, nor do I wear body armor. I don't use a home burglar alarm. I don't test my food for poison. I don't even engage in conspicuous displays of physical prowess to intimidate other people I encounter.

It's what we call "trust." Actually, it's what we call "civilization."

All complex ecosystems, whether they are biological ecosystems like the human body, natural ecosystems like a rain forest, social ecosystems like an open-air market, or socio-technical ecosystems like the global financial system or the Internet, are deeply interlinked. Individual units within those ecosystems are interdependent, each doing its part and relying on the other units to do their parts as well. This is neither rare nor difficult, and complex ecosystems abound.

At the same time, all complex ecosystems contain parasites . Within every interdependent system, there are individuals who try to subvert the system to their own ends. These could be tapeworms in our digestive tracts, thieves in a bazaar, robbers disguised as plumbers, spammers on the Internet, or companies that move their profits offshore to evade taxes.

Within complex systems, there is a fundamental tension between what I'm going to call cooperating, or acting in the group interest; and what I'll call defecting, or acting against the group interest and instead in one's own self-interest. Political philosophers have recognized this antinomy since Plato. We might individually want each other's stuff, but we're collectively better off if everyone respects property rights and no one steals. We might individually want to reap the benefits of government without having to pay for them, but we're collectively better off if everyone pays taxes. Every country might want to be able to do whatever it wants, but the world is better off with international agreements, treaties, and organizations. In general, we're collectively better off if society limits individual behavior, and we'd each be better off if those limits didn't apply to us individually. That doesn't work, of course, and most of us recognize this. Most of the time, we realize that it is in our self-interest to act in the group interest. But because parasites will always exist - because some of us steal, don't pay our taxes, ignore international agreements, or ignore limits on our behavior - we also need security.

Society runs on trust. We all need to trust that the random people we interact with will cooperate. Not trust completely, not trust blindly, but be reasonably sure (whatever that means) that our trust is well-founded and they will be trustworthy in return (whatever that means). This is vital. If the number of parasites gets too large, if too many people steal or too many

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