There was a story on NPR about a program in Texas to decentralize border patrol efforts.  Texas sheriffs are webcasting their surveillance cameras to the website where private citizens can login, monitor the video stream and report any suspicious activity they see.

Putting aside the political dimension of this, I see it as an interesting case study in open-source security.  In the realm of computer network security, there is a debate about openness vs “security by obscurity.”  For example, we may debate whether an open-source operating system like Linux is more or less secure than closed-source Windows.  On the one hand, the security measures are in plain view for all the black-hats to see and try to circumvent.  On the other hand, the openness enables the enourmous community of white hats to fix whatever problems they find.  Which effect dominates?

The Texas sheriffs apparently side with the open-source community on this one.  They seem not to be worried that the black-hat coyotes will use these cameras to figure out where to cross the border without being seen.

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