Play Dead

Play Dead


I was looking outside my window into the dark skies that cover the city of Brussels. It was 5:40 in the evening, and I was sad.

When I was a child our surrounding nature gave us comfort, gave us a feeling of freedom, and provided us the ability to learn without fear. But now, as the siren sounds rush through the streets of my neighbourhood and reaches my window I am thinking to myself on the level of freedom each and every one of us have.

It brought me back to the feeling I had a few days ago when I watched the latest Adam Curtis’s TV series called “All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace“. Broadcast on BBC, in this 3 part masterpiece Adam Curtis was connecting the dots on how our perception of a better world, one that will be running by itself via the aid of computers had caused economies to collapse. How the human crave for new technology gadgets had high implications on remote countries, how good intentions ended up igniting the genocide of millions and millions of people.

I do not wish to take away from you the pleasure of watching the series. It is the best TV series I have ever seen in my life because it touches a very deep truth about our existence. Trying to touch the subject of existence has always been a challenge, but this series manage to handle the subject in an incredible approach.

This brings me to the latest wikileak’s publication. Entitled “THE SPY FILES“, wikileaks stated “On Thursday, December 1st, 2011 wikileaks began publishing The Spy Files, thousands of pages and other materials exposing the global mass surveillance industry”. So this time it will challenge a subject I am well familiar with. “Great” I thought to myself as via the open window I can hear fast cars speed down the road.

When I started to go over the documents wikileaks published you cannot stop wondering how much of this is endless amount of high technology is targeted against people like me, my kids, and my friends? Does the fact that just a few days ago a researcher had shown that mobile providers installed a spyware on phones sold to their customers, that there are two types of law in the world – one for normal people and one for politicians – is freedom and privacy are just illusions or are they reality – and what can I do to influence it – if any.

That brings me back to yesterday. For some reason every girlfriend I ever had always suspected that I installed something on their computer. I told all of them that I never in my life did such a thing and that trust is the most important asset a relationship could have, and really never did (I swear!) – but it never helped. Yesterday I had a conversation with one of my ex-girlfriends, and at some point I told her about the latest information security news. The minute I told her that she just dismissed it, told me that I’m trying to scare her and brought back the “you probably tried to put spyware on my computer”. “You must be kidding me, right?” I asked her “There are governments and companies and criminals that constantly spy on you, and all you think is that I put something on your computer?” oh yes she did! It puzzled me, and only after talking to her for ten more minutes I realized why she and so many other people do it. They do it because we, in the information security world, have been telling them something SO BIG they simply cannot grasp how to cope with it. I mean, it’s almost like someone tells you a meteor is about to hit you on the head, and you don’t have any clue how to hide from it. But can you blame them? After all, even for us it’s becoming impossible to stay protected.

This is how they feel

When we “bombard” them, what happens is that they experience a fight/flight/play-dead feeling, and since it’s so big, they go and plays dead immediately – cognitively speaking.

So what is my conclusion? Next time you need to speak to the average Jane or Joe (AKA the common woman or man) – try to remember that helping your user and friends’ community can only be done if you find a way to empower them, not scare them to death. The more unbalance they will feel by your information and awareness sessions, the more chances they will “bring up” this unbalanced state when they will be facing an incidents and the last thing you want is a user who’s unbalanced during information security incidents 🙂

© All rights reserved 2011.


“Play Dead” / Bjork

darling stop confusing me
with your wishful thinking
hopeful enbraces
don’t you understand?
i have to go through this
i belong to here where
no-one cares and no-one loves
no light no air to live in
a place called hate
the city of fear

i play dead
it stops the hurting
i play dead
and hurting stops

it’s sometimes just like sleeping
curling up inside my private tortures
i nestle into pain
hug suffering
caress every ache

i play dead
it stops the hurting

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