A Formal Model of Accountability (and US civil liberties)

First off, I was very disturbed to read this recently:
http://papersplease.org/wp/2012/09/24/state-dept-admits-passport-form-was-illegal-but-still-wants-it-approved/

I left the US a year and a half ago and have been thankful I did every day since — and thankful for not being a citizen there, but that’s another thing. If you’re still there and a citizen, consider putting in for your passport immediately. Even better, Reddit ( http://www.reddit.com/r/LifeProTips/comments/10o2zh/lpt_you_can_inherit_citizenship_from_your/ ) suggests ways of getting dual citizenship.

At the risk of sounding extreme, think about how to make a permanent move on a few hours’ notice.* When the Berlin Wall went up, people had from midnight until morning to escape before the border was sealed, and a handful of days before the security measures were in place. Coordination and technology has improved orders of magnitude since then.

* for the record, my last move went from zero to fully packed in two and a half hours, because my alarm failed and I had a train to catch.

Anyway.

A neat paper considering different types of accountability: where it’s inherent to the process, where it’s enforced by an authority, where the parties held accountable are entirely anonymous, and where they’re not.

This isn’t just useful for designing an organization so as to keep its members from doing evil. One of the big problems of security is that advance / technical measures often can’t allow both efficient working and the necessary security.

Accountability — or audit-based security — provides a solution. Where you can’t keep people from being evil through technical means, you can assure them that ‘being evil == getting fvcked.’

http://www.nspw.org/papers/2011/nspw2011-feigenbaum.pdf

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