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Watch “The security mirage” by Bruce Schneier

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Source: http://www.ted.com/talks/bruce_schneier.html

So security is two different things: it’s a feeling, and it’s a reality. And they’re different. You could feel secure even if you’re not. And you can be secure even if you don’t feel it. Really, we have two separate concepts mapped onto the same word. …

…Every species does it. Imagine a rabbit in a field, eating grass, and the rabbit’s going to see a fox. That rabbit will make a security trade-off: "Should I stay, or should I flee?" And if you think about it, the rabbits that are good at making that trade-off will tend to live and reproduce, and the rabbits that are bad at it will get eaten or starve. So you’d think that us, as a successful species on the planet — you, me, everybody — would be really good at making these trade-offs. Yet it seems, again and again, that we’re hopelessly bad at it. And I think that’s a fundamentally interesting question. …

…We tend to exaggerate spectacular and rare risks and downplay common risks — so flying versus driving. The unknown is perceived to be riskier than the familiar. One example would be, people fear kidnapping by strangers when the data supports kidnapping by relatives is much more common. This is for children. Third, personified risks are perceived to be greater than anonymous risks — so Bin Laden is scarier because he has a name. And the fourth is people underestimate risks in situations they do control and overestimate them in situations they don’t control. So once you take up skydiving or smoking, you downplay the risks. If a risk is thrust upon you — terrorism was a good example — you’ll overplay it because you don’t feel like it’s in your control….

 

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Written by gmaran23

September 18, 2013 at 11:02 am

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