Security fatigue

I think I’m suffering from security fatigue. On any given day in London Waterloo I’m likely to hear this over a loudspeaker:

“At this time of heightened security, it is important to report any suspect package or luggage to a member of staff immediately”

while reading this on a screen:




Forgive me if this is a surreal concept, but I would have thought that reserving terms like “Security Alert” for an actual security alert would have been a sensible approach. The first time I saw that introduction (complete with asterisks and all caps to make it really stand out) I actually stopped walking and read the rest text. Now, presumably along with millions of other people, I’m blind to it.

One reply on “Security fatigue”

  1. This is something Bruce Schneier writes about a lot. I’m really disturbed by the kind of country we’re living in.

    Every 10 minutes: “If you suspect it, report it to the help point at this station”.

    Now it is valuable to know how to report suspicious things, but the average person should not be on hyper alert level – they don’t know what to look for anyway, and asking them to be hyper alert will only bring out their fear and latent racism. If something is suspicious enough for a normal person to report it, then it’s so suspicious that they don’t need to have been warned about it every 10 minutes. These messages will increase the false positive rate, and the fear rate, while having next to zero impact on the success rate.

    Have you heard the radio advertisements to stop illegal immigrants from getting jobs?

    Report your neighbors everyone!

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