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Incentivized hyperbole

Posted by on October 29, 2016.

I laugh a lot these days. It’s the fail safe response of my CPS – my Crying Prevention System. After all, real men don’t cry, do they?

But what can you do when every day brings a new absurdity that borders on insanity? Here’s an example from Ian Levy. He has moved from being technical director of cyber security at GCHQ to the same position with the new National Cyber Security Centre.

He was talking at the Wired Security conference in London about cyber security issues being framed by hyperbole.

“The way you talk about something fundamentally changes the way you evaluate risk about it,” he said. “The context in which you judge something also determines how you interpret it. So if you’re told that cyber security attacks are purported by winged ninja cyber monkeys who sit in a foreign country who can compromise your machine just by thinking about it you’re going to have a fear response. And that’s where we are today.”
TechCrunch: UK’s new cyber security centre to debunk scare tactics and lead by example

He thinks that the cyber security agenda is run by vested interests who build up the fear factor.

“The security companies are incentivized to make it sound as scary as possible because they want you buy their magic amulets,” Levy added. “This is what we’re doing today. You buy a cyber security product and you throw it at the problem because you’ve no idea what the problem actually is anymore.

“If we talk about things as they really are, we have a different set of responses to them.”

I could not agree more. There’s only one thing missing; the one thing that triggered my CPS. Where is concern over government hyperbole in this?

Government makes security very scary indeed by invoking fears of unfettered terrorists and paedophiles and gangsters that can only be controlled by the magic amulet of universal surveillance of everyone. And the internet is such a scary place full of dirty pictures and illegal content that we need the magic amulet of government-instigated censorship to protect us.

Pure incentivized hyperbole – but where is Mr Levy’s concern over this? Makes you laugh, don’t it?


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Submitted in: Expert Views, Kevin Townsend's opinions | Tags: