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Monday, May 13, 2002


Mike has been covering a wide range of topics lately, but his 11 May entry inspired me to give my thoughts about a few of the books he mentioned.

One, CyberRegs, is a complete primer on intellectual property and its value to the enterprise. Key issues that are addressed include:

  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)- this is probably the most important discussion in the book because it continues to be controversial.
  • Complete discussions of all aspects of intellectual property law as it pertains to cyberspace. The clarification of the protections afforded to patent holders that are not given to trademark holders is invaluable. In addition, I learned much about the value of patents and how a business model can be developed around patents alone. I particularly liked the discussion of patent ownership (employee inventor vs. company to which the patent was assigned). This alone makes the book worth reading.
  • Case studies - many of the case studies which are used throughout the book focused on pending court cases when the book was published. Many have now been resolved, the resolution of which open more questions and further cloud issues. I'd like to see an update or second edition that provides closure.
  • Excellent introduction to technical issues. The author has a knack for reducing the key elements into easy-to-understand chunks of information that teach non-technical readers quite a lot about technology.
If you buy one book on intellectual property law from a cyber-business perspective, this is the one to get.

Probably the most influential book, and the one that covers the widest range of topics is Bruce Schneier's classic, Secrets and Lies. This book introduces security and privacy to technical and non-technical readers alike. What I especially like are:

  • Social aspects of security and privacy are addressed using the motives of attackers and broad profiles of attacker types, analysis of threats and countermeasures, and what it all means from legal and social perspectives.
  • Easy introduction to security infrastructures. The author imparts a good deal of technical knowledge without overwhelming non-technical readers.
This book may initially disappoint technical readers who have read Mr. Schneier's earlier book (Applied Cryptography), but I can assure you that the technical underpinnings are only part of the picture. This book gives a complete view of all aspects of security, and is invaluable because it raises awareness of all issues. It's all the more valuable because it can be read and understood by a broad audience. There are two other books that I recommend in addition to this one:
  1. Know Your Enemy: Revealing the Security Tools, Tactics, and Motives of the Blackhat Community (Mr. Schneier wrote the preface to this book, which Mike reviewed on 11 April 2002 on Amazon).
  2. Richard Hunter's World Without Secrets: Business, Crime and Privacy in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing, which I reviewed on 21 April on Amazon.

Additional material that is related to these books include:

In closing I want to echo Mike's sentiments: we miss you Kate!