Schneier on Impersonation

Bruce Schneier wrote a terrific piece about impersonation and identity authentication at He uses the various “physical tokens” we carry in our wallets to argue that “[d]ecentralized authentication systems work better than centralized ones:” loss or compromise of your credit or health club membership card does not compromise your driver’s license or library card. He concludes “[t]his is one of the reasons that centralized systems like REAL-ID make us less secure.”

2 thoughts on “Schneier on Impersonation”

  1. Although Bruce Schneier argues that “It’s human nature to trust these credentials. We naturally trust uniforms, even though we know that anyone can wear one,” his argument is somewhat far fetched. Aren’t we ‘conditioned’ by society and our parents to trust people with these credentials as we grow up since that’s the ‘right and normal’ thing to do? If your parents taught you not to trust such people, clearly you wouldn’t trust them. And as a matter of fact, we do have such people in society. Thus, it is not really human nature to trust people with these credentials, but rather, it is a result of our parent’s teachings as we grow up, and what the society demands of us,that results in us trusting these people regardless of whether or not they are ‘real’.

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