An assortment of indigestible things

Category: rants

‘Sovereign’ citizens in the UK: a study in nonsense

There is a group of people in the UK who believe that, by submitting a document to the government, they can detach themselves from society and thereby avoid all statutory responsibilities. They are predominantly male, intelligent, articulate, and for some reason seem to live in the south-west of England. They call themselves ‘sovereign citizens’ or ‘freemen on the land’, and seem to be a small offshoot from a much larger US-based movement (of which more on the excellent Quatloos! forum). I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of them: despite the number of videos on YouTube, they seem to boil down to a few relatively high-profile individuals. In this article I’ll just refer to them as ‘sovereigns’—you know, as if that actually means something—and try to explain why they really, really get my goat.

Security through obscurity is a good thing!

(This is a bit of a rant. There may well be more rants to come.)

If you say to a security professional, ‘I’m going to run my ssh daemon on an unusual port for security reasons’, you’d better stand back and wait for the gasp. *gasp* they say! That’s just security through obscurity, which is no security at all! Shut down your servers and turn the lights off on the way out, you worthless collection of mucus.

‘Security through obscurity’: it even rhymes, which means that it joins the list of empty phrases that sound like they carry authority but actually don’t. ‘It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!’ ‘White is right!’ Ohhh I seeeee: there was me thinking you were just a bigot, but your argument rhymes, so it smartly trumps anything I could possibly say!

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