Sexual “honey traps”, Security, Safety, SoP and my Mother

Sexual “honey traps”, Security, Safety, SoP and my Mother

Oct 17th, 2013

Sexual “honey traps”, Security, Safety, SoP and my Mother

Reportedly the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) recently tactfully warned travelling government officials that there are bad guys and girls out there who could attract them into sexual “honey traps” with the goal of bringing them under coercion, steel information or both.

My Mama used to tell me not to accept candies from strangers (when I was a child of course, but actually she still does…). My Mama did not know anything about risk management, but reacting just to the hazard, gave me strict operating procedures: DO NOT ACCEPT CANDIES FROM STRANGERS.

Julius Caesar, later to become Emperor of Rome, was kidnapped by pirates. Their Mama did not tell them TO AVOID MESSING WITH PEOPLE YOU DO NOT KNOW. Cesar told them he would manage to pay the ransom and then, once free, he would kill them all. He eventually kept his promise.

These apparently unrelated stories bring us to Risk Management.

The hazards in these stories are “falling into a honey trap”, or “messing with the wrong guy”, but the consequences range from devastating for one individual (who may be abducted and coerced), to being killed by the next Emperor of Rome, to catastrophic for Canada (if top secret documents are stolen).

The risk= (hazard type likelihood)*(consequences) is obviously not the same for everyone!

The kind of SoP (Standard Operating Procedures) mothers tell their children (I was joking above when I wrote strict instead of standard, but my Mama was not joking at all…) is intended to increase security, safety, not risks.

Security is the state of being free from danger or threat. One can never be totally secure. Security is not a measure of the absence of risks, but a measure of the absence of hazards. If you start increasing security without knowing where your risks are, you will end up overspending in security enhancements.

Safety is the control of recognized hazards to achieve an acceptable level of risk. Unless you have defined your risk acceptability (tolerance) and your risks, you cannot rationally increase your safety.

Be assured, I am not going to launch into writing a Risk Based Sexual Honey Trap policy today, but I guess you get the drift, right?

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Category: Hazard, Risk analysis, Tolerance/Acceptability

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