Culture: Conversation
Privacy Weariness   (-3)  [vote for, against]
Defend privacy by having a national conversation about it.

This is a near-rant about social engineers.

Companies that secure data, maintain confidential and protected information that is vital to various interests, and carry substantial liability for risks of data breach generally require employees to be confidential and to follow ethical guidelines in the course of business. That assumes a desire of hackers or social engineers (SE) to acquire and subvert the property or data of companies through a breach of confidential communication. I realize that efforts to "put the fear of god" into employees to maintain security, exhausting hours of team time in meetings pouring over vignettes of SE, mitigating team members who fail to remain confidential, and even posted signs and warnings about the valuable secrets we keep will not stop SE.

What will?
-- reensure, Apr 01 2011

I do not understand what you're trying to say.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 01 2011

I have no idea. [reensure] you need to bulldoze this rant into something more focussed. I mean focussed.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 01 2011

Are the social engineers in the room with you right now?
-- rcarty, Apr 01 2011

I know quite a chatty mechanic, if that helps.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 01 2011

-- normzone, Apr 01 2011

Is this an April fools prank?
-- pocmloc, Apr 01 2011

No, quite real. Call me "stuck on stupid"; but there has to be some way to educate the masses that does not rely on, say, a website. Some way to deny those who would probe organizations' security, either ignorantly or in a SE role.
-- reensure, Apr 01 2011

I became weary just reading the first sentence. National snooze fest more like. Is there some joke about the British census in this someplace?
-- WcW, Apr 02 2011

Thank you for the edit. Much clearer, now.

Well, one thing that will help will be a gradual diminution in people's expectation of privacy -- redefining the problem out of existence, as it were. That will take generations, but we've already made a start.

But some personal information -- passwords, credid card numbers, that sort of thing -- will remain problematic. What'll solve that is new forms of identification less easily separated from the person being identified. Biometrics, maybe. (At least until we all discorporealize by uploading ourselves to the Cloud.)

Trying to solve the problem by hardening employees against "Social Engineers," (or con artists as they used to be called) is asking a lot. That amounts to finding a way to ensure that the mark is always smarter than the grifter, which is, prima facie not gonna happen.

There, did that make you feel better? Didn't think so.
-- mouseposture, Apr 02 2011

[bigsleep] But such systems rely on senior management being less gullible than call center employees. Can this, in practice, be relied upon? (I suppose the mere fact of their being less numerous affords some protection.)
-- mouseposture, Apr 02 2011

Private data can only be kept private through trust and honesty. Private data has market value in today's society; trust and honesty do not.
-- lurch, Apr 02 2011

Ah! The editing makes this idea very nearly understandable by me. So, the idea is find a way to stop Social Engineers trying to hack into databases to obtain private data, thereby perhaps relieving some of the burden of securing this information?

Well, that does sound like a rant rather than an idea. But I'm still not sure I get your point.

Social Engineering (as far as I understand it, which isn't very far) is normally associated with governments or other bodies who have a large interest in the structure of society. Presumably, they can just legislate to obtain whatever information they think they need, can't they? I'm sure that my salary and address are both available to the government.

I thought the main threat from hackers, to the individual, was having one's bank account cleaned out or discovering that someone has bought a yacht using one's Amex card. I can imagine saying "shit! my account's been hacked and I've lost all my money!", but not "shit! my account's been hacked and I've been socially engineered!".

Or maybe I've missed the point. A [-] from me because either the invention isn't clear even after editing, or else it's as I read it.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 02 2011

You bring a good point, lurch. High level collaboration with keys, biometrics, and restrictions imposed by various layers of security keep data secure; but, call centers can't access secret data (in a secure environment). Gaining access to highly secure data really propels SE from the level of gaming to a more tangible criminal level such as hacking, fraud, or extortion. How can an company foster openness, convenience, and efficiency both when facing its patrons and within its organization structure, if held to non-disclosure agreements? Is there some way to reconcile trust and honesty as imperatives against policies "written in absence" to comply with confidentiality agreements?

Simple minds want to know.
-- reensure, Apr 02 2011

//pouring over vignettes// sp. vinaigrettes.

I'm assuming this refers to confidence tricksters, rather than the political science use of the term "social engineer".
-- spidermother, Apr 09 2011

That much of a difference ? Arguably social-engineering has done a bit to decrease this generation's propensity towards smoking, though my natural cynicism says there's a proportionate increase in the insufferability of the general population.

Latest one I saw was a paint job to keep people from stockpiling potassium iodide pills.
-- FlyingToaster, Apr 09 2011

I am also cynical about the motives and effects of such measures. Current anti-smoking propaganda in my country has so much misinformation that my first reaction was to want to take up smoking, just to spite them. Also, the "war on drugs" - just don't get me started! However, the distinction is important in the context of this Idea.
-- spidermother, Apr 09 2011

I agree with MaxB, maybe youre on to something, but none of us can see what it is yet.
-- bob, Apr 10 2011

random, halfbakery