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Subject: IP: Resilience!

  • From: David Farber <>
  • Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 17:18:38 -0400

>From: "Bob Frankston" <>
>To: <>
>I want to emphasize that Matt Blaze's point about the end to end
>argument is about more than networking. As tragic as the events are, our
>ability to rebound depends on our resilience. Imagine our much worse it
>would be if the customers of the companies directly affected lost their
>I am concerned, but unfortunately not surprised, by the clamor for
>increasing the perimeter security of airports. Here at Logan, a
>spokesperson called for banning plastic knives at restaurants. As Lauren
>noted, it is not obvious that any of these measures would have made a
>difference here and they will only serve the terrorist's goal of
>weakening our infrastructure. I have seen no comments about addressing
>the real problems -- the ones that occur after the inevitable failures
>of the perimeter. And what is the value of keeping cars away from
>airports buildings while allowing them on bridges? How could LaGuardia
>function with such a rule? On Tuesday evening I drove my rented car from
>LGA to BOS where my own cars were parked and arrived just as they
>started to put the new rules into effect. My wife flew BOS=>LGA that
>morning, my son arrived night before and I flew down on Sunday -- maybe
>that's why I care so much about aviation.
>This is reminiscent of the Y2K mania -- many people seem to have a
>simplistic model of the infrastructure and assume that it is a brittle
>tightly interlocked system. Aviation seems particularly susceptible to
>pandering to fears of flying. The rationale for the "Personal Electronic
>Device" rules are more superstition than science. The price of pandering
>to fears is to reduce security by emphasizing ineffective approaches and
>taking the focus from the opportunity to significant improvements in
>safety. By increasingly restricting what one may carry and use in
>airplanes, not only does it make flying unpleasant, it makes the less
>productive at a time when we are concerned about the economy.
>You may want to read James Fallows' book "Free Flight" and Steven
>Cushing's "Fatal Words" for more on these issues. All this said, I
>sympathize with the need to make gestures in light of peoples' fear of
>flying but we must understand the cost and limits of these gestures.
>I don't want to overemphasize aviation. As we take stock, we can see how
>our infrastructure systems have fared. Most companies seem to have
>offsite backup procedures. According to television reports, however, the
>SEC maintained critical records handwritten on paper. The very
>distributed Internet seemed unaffected though some sites were overloaded
>and other sites weren't sufficiently dynamic but this is understanding
>at the early stage of the technology. And the Pentagon building itself
>An open society (and the end to end argument) does indeed threaten those
>who want to enforce their narrow views on others. Our open society is
>not just an ideal, it is our strength.

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