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June 22, 2004

Garrett's General Application of Schneier's Law

In Cory Doctorow's Microsoft Research DRM talk, he coins "Schneier's Law" (in reference to the cryptography theorist and security expert Bruce Schneier):

Any person can invent a security system so clever that she or he can't think of how to break it.

I realized this was a variant form of a phenomenon I've recognized for years -- usually when engineers try to do UI work:

Any person can design a user interface so intuitive that she or he can't think of why other people wouldn't be able to use it.

Which, in turn, led me to think there's a more general law at work here:

Any person can create a solution to a complex problem so clever that she or he can't think of how it could possibly fail.

<=> | June 22, 2004

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