Convenience over Security? A re-definition of security in a virtual world

Security. A word that fundamentally constructs visions of the world and is performative in how individuals interact within that world. However, security as an entity is often socially taken for granted, placed in the ridged subconscious of the mind.

The art and act of security have morphed considerably in recent decades with both advancing technological improvements as well as the internalised notion of security becoming embedded within the groundings of everyday life. Arguably, however, the most drastic developments to the realm of security that the individual currently witnesses is its position in terms of the individual. Bygone is the age where security meant physically arming yourself against potential oncoming threats, taking the security of oneself in one’sown hands. Today, we are living through an era where we see a displacement of security andone that is indeed adjacent to that of the self. A displacement in which security is arguably an accepted norm that individuals no longer feel they need to grasp and tightly hold at their core. We are witnessing now what can be deemed an externalised outsourcing of security.  

With the developments of social media and technological growth and subsequent impact to undertakings of the everyday; individuals have become sucked into a secondary virtual reality of life and hub of false sense of security. Without questioning, our alternate virtual persona shares, unconsciously manipulates information, and disseminates personal information as if it were shedding a winter layer of coat.  No longer do we carefully consider information or indeed the consequences that may come about from our virtual actions as simplistically it is not represented in the physical sense. Reflecting back to the British Airways data hack in September 2018, the personal and financial details of approximately 380,000 customers were extracted from the company’sonline resources. Suffice to say, customers were reimbursed with compensation, yet does this in itself indicate the pawning of security as a bargaining chip? Do we now entertain the reduction of personal security to monetary value? What’s more, the latest case in the Facebook breaches over the last few weeks condemning data including username, gender, work, religion…etc. saw some 14 million hacked users not being covered with fraud protection. Instances like these demonstratethe damage to personal security with the leaking of private information. More importantly we see this movement of the individual placing trust in an external third party. In other words, the movement to outsourcing security from the personal.   

This outsourcing can be viewed as the movement towards convenience over security. It would appear that the contemporary masses would rather gamble personal security and details with the advantages of convenient accessibility to online networks and sites of supposed secure accounts. Voice activation is a current trend which poses debatable challenges in providing more security or, arguably, further adding to complicating this already messy scene. Voice activated access to online bank accounts provides a more convenient and less time-consuming alternative to sifting through paper work, remembering pernickety details and the ultimate dread of which password opens which account. Online payments no longer present moments of frustration with card details being retained making payments simply a one-click job. Ultimately, alternatives such as voice activation make everyday life easier for individuals yet sacrifices and risks are met in the process. Thus, a prioritisation of convenience in a technologically prolific world, mobilised through the virtual, appears to contextualise and dictate the interaction and engagement withby-products of personal security. In turn, individuals are so wrapped up within these virtual sites, being chained to the rhythm of society that without a moment of doubt security is overpowered by convenience.  

Image Courtesy of Pixabay via Pixabay © 2013, some rights reserved

What’s left is the consideration of how this process defines the very core of security. This externalising of security and movement to outsourcing to an ‘other’ taking control and maintaining our security. Whether it be engaging within virtual realities of social media, placing information in the hands of an essentially unknown body or sharing excess of intricate details that, if leaked, could potentially place our personal security in danger to becoming fascinated with quick, efficient and time effective modes of accessibility of private information; a movement to convenience over securing our security is an all too familiar redefining of the security realm.  Going forward, this externalising may continue to wage its way through barricades of built up layers of securitising the individual, breaking it down to reduce individual security to a sacrificial component for adaption to a virtual world. Or will we reach a point where there can no longer be sacrifices made for convenience, where data breaches and the loosening of our grasp on security must be tackled head on. If convenience continues to overpower basic personal security and individuals continue to outsource, what can only be left is a void of countless data breaches, vacuums of prolific crime and continuous, multiplicities of endangered personal security. 



Banner Image: Image Courtesy of Colin via Wikimedia Images © 2013, some rights reserved