Digital Hazards

I agree[1]. The INTERNET information super highway isn’t so different from the highways we use to get around. Both have traffic. One presents hazards that are not always obvious and the other is riddled with hazards, many of which we can see. They are similar hazards, in that someone raiding your personal data can have just as devastating an impact as your car running off the road.

Giving people mandatory training before they venture out into the world of INTERNET banking, and the mad whirl of social media has merit. This will not reduce serious problems to zero, but it can mean fewer people suffer financial misfortunes and reputational nightmares.

I know this thinking is hard for anyone with an inbuilt downer on the notion that Governments should intervene to protect citizens from every threat. This is fine. There should be a reasonable threshold set before rules and regulations are grasped as a weapon against potential harms. Everyone has a responsibility to look after their own health and safety to the greatest extent that they can. That’s where there’s marked limitations in the case of the digital landscape.

Even for those aware of live digital threats the means to address them are not well known or easily accessible. The human factor plays a part too. Many people are reluctant to admit that they may have been dupped or take for a ride in the wild west of the INTERNET.

On another subject, but not unrelated, is that we live in a world of gurus and commentators. This predates social media but that has heightened the trend. It’s as if well-informed person A says, “don’t stick your finger in the fire” and nobody listens. However, when well-known person B says the same everybody listens. All the time the facts remain the same.

Sadly, this works with disinformation as well as the truth. There’s a propensity to wish to agree with people that we imagine others agree with at the same time. It’s a cosy security blanked. There was once a saying that; nobody ever got the sack for hiring IBM. This phrase captures the belief that those others can’t all be wrong and even if a choice is wrong for me, I’m not alone.

Such blame avoidance is pessimistic thinking. It elevates the fear of failure and places it at the heart of decision making. A balance is better. Awareness of hazards is the first step in managing risk.