- Invisible, roll-on protection.
- It’s altruism. Really.
- Can I get a witness?
- You have been protected!
How saturated in the 1950s pre-digital era this email from MnSCU is. The pitch is straight out of commercial advertising: protect your home, your family, your innocence. Protect yourself from embarrassing body odor. Even the Civil Defense left it up to the target family to build their own shelters and to take cover in defense.
But the Minnesota State Internet Guardian has you protected. Protected so well you won’t even know it. Because you’re blameless. We trust you. The only reason you would click a shifty link is accidentally. Because you don’t know any better, we monitor your every click for you.
The place for protection in 2017 is the state university. It’s not about us. It’s you.
From: Faculty/Staff Announcement List
Date: December 4, 2017 at 3:20:07 PM Central Standard Time
Subject: Minnesota State Internet Guardian
Who: All faculty, staff and students
What: Full implementation of Internet Guardian
When: Tuesday, December 5
Where: BSU, NTC and Distance MN
Why: To protect you from internet threats by stopping malicious links, phishing links and other malicious software from reaching their intended destinations
Complete Details: Your campus will be deploying a service that is being rolled out system wide known as Minnesota State Internet Guardian. This service will help to protect you from internet threats by stopping malicious links, phishing links and other malicious software from reaching their intended destinations. The service and its deployment will mostly be invisible to you as it works at the network level. The only way you will know that it is active is if you accidently click on a malicious link or navigate to a web page that has malicious software on it. At that time, a web page will pop up to inform you that you have been protected. Simple as that!
We can ask why MnSCU isn’t telling students and faculty – each time they click – that their move has been recorded, analyzed, vetted by The Guardian to be OK. Is the silence protection from ourselves? A little pop up with each click could be an affirmation: Good Choice! Gold Star!
The state educational system is extending the same parental protections it brings to the dorms to the network. But they wrestle with their parenting role. They try to cast the control as altruism – a position they are not comfortable with. They can’t hide their apprehension that our use threatens their network. The same apprehension on the face of moms and dads and teachers in 1959 and 1962 when they sketched plans for fallout shelters and held duck and cover exercises. They were doing it for The Kids – knowing that the gestures were nothing more than altruism. We don’t need to be reminded with evert click that the protection is in marketing only.
The Civil Defense banner image is from the Civil Defense Museum. The faculty email shares the same archive. The Cold War prepared us. The same misuse of military equipment can claim guardianship.