When something is very dangerous, like nuclear weapons, standard forms of protections and control methodologies aren’t sufficient.
Something that potentially dangerous needs something more aggressive.
In the military, that’s called positive control.
Positive control is an active form of control where the dangerous item is under 24x7x365 monitoring, checking, patrolling, testing, etc.
In this type of system, no information = danger. Alarm bells sound when the feeds and system checks monitoring the item go dark.
This is the opposite of the type of security and law enforcement we’re used to in our daily lives. These systems are best described as negative control systems.
Negative control systems are focused on detecting exceptions. A crime. Good behavior is expected. As a result, this system only takes action when a failure occurs.
Positive security and People
Positive security can apply to people too, if they are dangerous enough.
NOTE: When I was the Internet guru at Forrester Research over decade ao, we had an analyst day that discussed dangerous knowledge. The conclusion? Someday, technology and the knowledge of how to use it will become so dangerous that education would become a controlled substance. Granted, I influenced that conclusion, since I had experience working with people in the past who were under “positive” control. Most were in black programs, but one was a physics instructor who designed nuclear weapons (shaped charges, x-ray, etc.) as a profession.
We’ve even designed corporate environments where every movement is being tracked (keystrokes and other forms of Taylorism) to determine whether people are doing the busy work they were tasked with.
However, those situations are only possible because they are limited in scope.
We’ve always assumed, despite the fears stoked by fiction like “1984“, that positive control wasn’t likely more nightmare than reality.
So far, the attempts to apply positive control to complete societies in the past have fallen far short, even with an aggressive application of technology. Bureaucratic forms of dictitorial governance like communism and fascism never reached the level of active surveillance required for true positive control. Further, the process of attempting it undermined their ability to deliver robust growth over the long term.
How quickly things change. We’re now actively moving towards a society, and a world, founded on positive control.
Why? Paranoia over terrorism, a massive national security infrastructure, and new technology has made it not only possible, but probable.
So, let me lay it out in simple terms.
Here’s a framework that will allow you to put the stuff you read in the news into context.
From hat bans to NSA leaks about surveillance programs.
Problem: Everybody on the planet IS a potential terrorist.
Solution: Put everybody on the planet under positive control.
Positive control means the continuous monitoring.
- Location GPS phone. Implied by utility use (smart grid). Car GPS. CCTV. Facial recognition everywhere. Social media data.
- Network Phone. Social media connections. Proximity. Network analysis.
- Behavior Economic activity. Utility use. Content use. Usage monitoring.
In the case of positive control, any lack of activity or lapse in data is considered dangerous act. Try to hide = something to hide.
Any blocking of monitoring will be made illegal and a major crime.
Multiple systems with overlapping control with provide a complete cradle to grave blanket.
There’s no way to avoid this. It’s already here and nobody cares.