So yesterday I blasted the first person account of a woman who encountered suspicious Arab men on a flight from Women’s Wall Street magazine with both barrels. Today I read this, from Bruce Schneier:

Read it through; it’s worth the time.

To me, this is exactly the sort of suspicious behavior that should be questioned. It’s not blindly correlating databases and profiling; it’s suspicious behavior on an airplane by a group of people. How do we build a security system where investigating this sort of thing is okay, while also protecting civil liberties?

Needless to say, when someone who you generally perceive as the voice of reason and good sense takes exactly the opposite tack on an issue as you, second thoughts are called for. The things that stood out to me from the article were the hysterical tone, the layer of conjecture that was spread over every seemingly objective observation, and the absurd conclusion. Obviously Schneier is more interested in how we include the observations of bystanders in a security system. So I’m going to assume that we just looked at the article in different ways and move on.

Update: Brock Meeks adds the following:

I thought this story was fascinating, too, when one of my sources alerted me to it. The story started to fall apart pretty quickly when I dug into it.

The woman at the core of this story fancies herself as a “creative writer” (just Google her) and indeed, it seems she got a bit creative in her narrative.

Another update: Further research seems to dismiss the idea that Anne Jacobsen (the author of the story) is the same Anne Jacobsen that Meeks is referring to.