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86%: Would you buy an IDS this good?

A number of commenters on yesterday's post, "Noh Entry: Halvar's experience and American Legalisms" are taking me to task for being idealistic about rule of law. I agree strongly with what Nicko wrote in the comments:

[C]ountries are at liberty to apply "complex, stupid, and complete arbitrary" rules but one of the fundamental tenants of the rule of law is that any rules should be applied consistently. It's naive to suggest that all travellers should be fully knowledgeable of all aspects of immigration law; that's an expertise for which people pay hundreds of dollars an hour.

Since this is sometimes an information security blog, I'd like to put this another way. Imagine you're testing an IDS that watches 7 identical packets flow by, and flags one of them. It either has an 86% success rate or a 14% success rate.

Without paying someone several hundred dollars, I don't know if Halvar got lucky 6 times, or unlucky once.

I do know that I'm upset that our border agents aren't consistent. If they were an IDS system, and that's all the data I had, I wouldn't be buying right now.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.