[Air-l] metaphors for internet security

jeremy hunsinger jhuns at vt.edu
Mon Jun 2 12:59:17 PDT 2003

the problem with the body metaphor is that it is quite hard to seize 
total control of  someone's body and mind...  but it isn't that hard to 
take control of a computer, even without any virus, etc.

the office or locked drawer metaphor is problematic in that it probably 
only governs certain interest groups, and does not really consider the 
harm to others.  The office seems to me to be a property metaphor aimed 
toward privacy, and does not really consider the harm toward others can 
Distributed Attacks, and trojans can perform.  This is why i entered 
the car metaphor, which has serious implications for harm to others, 
but then i thought maybe a toaster and its warning labels are more 
appropriate, because you can (I subscribe to strange news sources) die 
or serious harm others from misusing a toaster or by not securing a 
toaster properly.  However, a toaster in that regard is not nearly the 
same sort of thing as other more obviously dangerous implements like 
knives and guns, which culturally carry their own warning in their 
design, though yes, that has to be learned, but the toaster looks very 
much like an appliance, and i think many people have begun to think of 
the personal computer as an  appliance like the toaster....  your 

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