Thursday, 26 June 2014

Crowdsource services at your peril.

We have emerged from a world of the Venetian masked ball, to our current world where some people wear masks with their own face upon the mask. Simply because some people act in a trustworthy manner online and appear to have their own face upon the mask, does not mean that the same characters who previously used anonymity do not use the anonymity of a false identity to engage in the same activities.


AirBnB, and other applications are crowdsourcing all things from accommodation to lift clubs. To many this is a new era in social media, founded upon trust, transparency and open honesty.

The core of this entire movement however comes down to one word: that word is trust. People apparently use their real identities and thus are accountable.

Unfortunately in many cases there still exists a world of trolls, sociopaths, false profiles, criminals masquerading and other such things online. If credit card details are not safe, then systems using banking details to verify a person are not safe. If identity numbers or social security codes are not safe, nor are systems which use these to identify a person. As it is most systems use aspects such as a person's Facebook account to verify a person. It is very easy to set up a fake Facebook, and just as easy to populate it with false friends. In fact, studies show just that: a massive portion of Facebook accounts are set up by cybercriminals and untoward characters. Another important detail is that many people use weak passwords. Often genuine social media accounts are compromised and then used for nefarious activities.

We have emerged from a world of the Venetian masked ball, to our current world where some people wear masks with their own face upon the mask. Simply because some people act in a trustworthy manner online and appear to have their own face upon the mask, does not mean that the same characters who previously used anonymity do not use the anonymity of a false identity to engage in the same activities.

It is the same people who are honest and used anonymity as a protection who have come out of the woodwork and have decided to utilise their own birth names. The criminals, trolls and other undesirables have not determined to follow the same path necessarily. I certainly am not engaging in activities such as air B&B. The Internet remains a wild wild West: crime only continues to increase online. Such a movement comes down to one word: and that sole word is trust. Trustworthiness is an entirely different matter.

If companies hire individuals to write good reviews of their products online, and bad reviews of their opposing forces: why would criminals not do likewise? Due to a false sense of security individuals are opening up their homes and motorvehicles to complete strangers. Even relatively honest people steal towels from hotel bathrooms, or run off with scented shampoos: this is why hotels only offer tiny shampoo bottles. Gated communities create a similar false sense of security, which is why crime statistics show these to be high crime areas, criminals simply buy a house within the community or rent it and suddenly have access to unknowing victims. Holidaymakers have a similar false sense of security and are thus favourite targets for criminals.

Just as classifieds are used to post fake job openings to facilitate rape and murder, these other movements are inviting to criminal psyches.

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Marc Evan Aupiais

Marc Evan Aupiais

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