War on drugs and social media

Although some of my ramblings may suggest otherwise, I have never taken drugs in my life and quite frankly I have no intention of doing so.

Neither have I ever been employed to stop drug trafficking, arrest drug dealers or help rehabilitate a drug addict.

Which makes me a perfect candidate to comment on the topic of drug use and the war on drugs. Why? Because I’m a totally impartial person with no allegiance to either side.

The war on drugs is an interesting one. Like many of these “war on fill in the blanks” they are built upon a moral high ground. Show some pictures of dying young kids whose lives were taken before their time, parade out some grieving parents and no-one will disagree that drugs are a bad thing. But decades have passed and billions have been spent trying to stem the problem, yet little or no success has been achieved.

Sure you get the odd cartel member taken down by a brave SWAT team every now and then. You also have a global army of anti-drug personnel all kept in gainful employment. But it’s a commonly known fact that the war on drugs cannot be won.

The crime that surrounds illegal drugs is an artificial creation produced by our laws because they have created extraordinarily lucrative black markets in a wide array of mood altering substances to satisfy consistent demand among our citizens.  The violence seen along the Mexican side of the United States border is an extreme example but it highlights the role of prohibition policies in creating both crime and violence.

So it’s not surprising that countries such as Mexico and Argentina have in recent months taken steps to decriminalise drugs. Argentina’s supreme court has ruled it unconstitutional to punish people for using marijuana for personal consumption, following Mexico’s decision to stop prosecuting people for possession of relatively small quantities of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs. Instead, they will be referred to clinics and treated as patients, not criminals.

But what does this have to do with information security? Perhaps a bit more than you thought. More and more companies are finding their employee’s are addicted to the latest drug. A drug that is freely available and most addicts need to take several times a day.

It’s the drug of social media.

Some people may only be addicted to Facebook, others get their high from Twitter. The most severely affected connect on multiple social networking sites at least once every 15 minutes. They never bother saying goodbye to any of their friends, because they’re never really out of touch.

Chief executives at companies have seen this behaviour and obviously consulted with the Government as to what they best way to tackle this perceived problem. Because of this, the steps that have been taken are very similar to the steps Governments all over the world have taken to fight the war on drugs. The conversation probably took place a bit like this.

Corporate Chief Exec:

Mr President, we have a problem. Numerous reports are coming in about our employee’s being addicted to social networking.


Hot dog! Whenever we have a problem, we make it a matter of national security. That way people feel obliged to comply.

Corporate Chief Exec:

We’ve got an Infosec division, we’ll make it their problem. What next?


Secondly we change the law, to ensure anyone continuing this act will labelled a criminal.

Corporate Chief Exec:

I’ll get the Infosec team to write up a social media policy which forbid almost any form of online social interaction. HR should be able to provide the muscle needed to fire any miscreants.


Finally we setup an entire black ops division whose sole purpose is to monitor and find criminals. The do a great service for our nation, they kick down doors, scare, intimidate and basically make innocent people look like criminals. The best thing is they aren’t answerablee to anyone because it’s all done for national security reasons. Anyone questioning the tactics is tried for treason which is punishable by death.

Corporate Chief Exec:

I could learn so much from you… hmmm I wonder how we can implement the death penalty within our organisation? I’m sure it would be cheaper than laying staff off.

The war between disobedient employee’s and dominating employers only seems to be picking up steam with the worst yet to come.

Realistically, nobody wants or needs employers playing big brother and scrutinising every picture and comment one puts up on the internet. Blocking websites has only contributed towards the increase in sales of smartphones. The traditional cigarette break is fast becoming the social media break.

The revolution is here, it’s a people revolution. But please keep infosec out of this. No need to drag your infosec team down just because management are unable to manage their staff.


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