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Intervention by Denise Caruso Read Intervention by Denise Caruso, Executive Director of the Hybrid Vigor Silver Award Winner, 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards; Best Business Books 2007, Strategy+Business Magazine

MIKEY’S LAW—A SPECIAL CASE EXCEPTION TO MURPHY’S LAW

by ~ August 18, 2010.
Permalink | Filed under: Hybrid Vigor, Social Trust Online.

My friend and security-industry-great, Gunnar Peterson gave a fantastic keynote presentation at the Cloud Identity Summit last month. During his speech, he used a series of images to show show some absurdly feeble attempts at security. One in particular caught my eye:

Bike Security

Given the subject of my presentation two days later—”trust” in the cloud—I couldn’t resist goading Gunnar a bit by countering that the bike’s security in fact passes muster. Here’s my argument:

According to Murphy’s Law, this bike should be stolen. And yet, there it is. Someone even took a picture or it. Is there something else going on here that’s keeping the bike from being stolen? I think so. In fact, I offer a special exception to Murphy’s Law. I call it “Mikey’s Law” and it goes like this:

Just because something can be stolen doesn’t mean it will be.

Perhaps in the society where the owner lives, simply putting a lock around something expresses one’s wishes for the item not to be taken—and that’s sufficient security because others respect that wish. People may even help you enforce your wish for respect of personal property by taking pictures and looking out for would-be thieves. Sounds like the kind of place where I’d like to live, in fact.

Idealistic? Perhaps. But for most of us it’s also part of our everyday experience. After all, do you lock up all of your valuables all of the time? Can you leave your wallet or purse in your office and expect to come back an hour later and find them just where you left them? In many cases, in fact you can. And that’s a good thing.

My point is that security practitioners are inclined to propose the “security society” as the ideal model for public safety. In a security society, citizens can’t trust others, fear that bad things always will occur, and lock up everything of value. In my view, the security society is the model of last resort. Where we “live” we should instead aspire to create a cooperative society, one based on trust rather than distrust. Yes, bad things will happen in the cooperative model, just as they do in the security society. But then again, all hell won’t break lose either, as some would have us believe. And even if the incidence of theft if a security society and a cooperative society were roughly the same, in which place would you prefer to live?

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