Cicero wrote, "No place is so strongly fortified that money could not capture it." (Nihil tam munitum quod non expugnari pecuna possit. - Verrem, I, ii, 4) On a related theme, last year someone told me, "Locks are to keep out honest people."

He was right. A lock is primarily a symbol: an indication that something is private, or expensive, or hazardous, or otherwise needs to be left undisturbed. No lock can stand against a determined assault. At most, a lock buys time --- enough time, if other measures are in place, for responsible people to arrive and stop mischief from happening.

Locks, like all other "security" technologies, are part of a multidimensional trade-off among cost, convenience, aesthetics, reliability, and a host of other parameters. Doing that trade-off intelligently is the art of risk management.

TopicSociety - 2001-12-17

Locks are also to keep out those who don't know enough to know better. I wonder what we will make of the first alien locks we run across...?

In that vein, there are also all manner of abstract locks, intricate or clever verbal obfuscations, that preserve some knowledge in a cryptic notation that only those who know enough (or the right things) can decypher. Others can make neither heads nor tail of it.

"... Speak friend and enter. ..." - Hollin Gate, Moria - Bo Leuf

(correlates: PickTwoOutOfThree, GibbonChapter12, ChatTuringTest, ...)