The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

The Center for Education and Research in
Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

Richard Thieme - ThiemeWorks

Students: Spring 2024, unless noted otherwise, sessions will be virtual on Zoom.

Security, Soft Boundaries, and oh-so-subtle Strategies:How to Play Chess While the Board is Disappearing

Nov 07, 2007

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Non-state and state intelligence are converging in a context of fluid boundaries. It is increasingly difficult to know who is inside and who is not. Creating a trusted network does not resolve the most critical security problems because those problems begin at the interface of the network and the human user. The identity and intention of that human user is critical, but that is often what is most difficult to discern.

This emergent world of ambiguous boundaries and multiple identities challenges our models and descriptions of the playing field. Even with a program, we can't always tell the players, because both players and program are morphing.

And it's worse than that: the ethical guidelines of the past, rooted in religious systems thousand of years old, are going through the looking-glass, too, along with the structures of spirituality and religion. Identity-shift applies to God and Self as well as the social and cultural structures in which they are embedded.

This speech confronts the transformation of the structures in which we live, identifies some consequences of identity-shift, and distinguishes the business of security from the myths of the security business. It points to new ways to organize our lives that complement rather than replace traditional methods of defending electronic and human networks.

About the Speaker

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." - Frederick Nietzsche*

Richard Thieme has been hearing the music for a long time. His track record includes hundreds of published articles, dozens of published short stories, one published book with more coming, several thousand speeches, and – in a former incarnation - hundreds of sermons, all original, all unique.

In the nineteen eighties, Thieme began writing about the impact of new technologies on religious systems and images, on spirituality, on identity. He was an Episcopal priest, and it made sense to begin where he was. What he wrote sounds obvious now. But it didn't, then.

He realized that his insights applied to other aspects of society and culture too. What was happening to religions was happening to everything else, a sea change of global transformation driven by new technologies of information and communication. He left the professional ministry to write and speak full time in 1993.

Security and intelligence professionals often value his insights because he sees into the heart of complex issues. He takes nothing at face value and links insights to the mixed motives of the human heart, trying to amplify the unheard music playing at the edges of our lives.

Mostly he delivers keynotes and closing speeches that unite the diverse themes of a conference. He has spoken in lots of venues - Sydney and Brisbane, Dublin and Amsterdam and Oslo, Israel (for Microsoft), and all around the States, including many hacker cons. Def Con is his favorite, where he spoke in 2007 for the twelfth straight year.

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