Risk Assessment is Hard
The BBC reports (TV personality) “Clarkson stung after bank prank” in which he published his bank account numbers in the newspaper:
The Top Gear host revealed his account numbers after rubbishing the furore over the loss of 25 million people’s personal details on two computer discs.
He wanted to prove the story was a fuss about nothing.
But Clarkson admitted he was “wrong” after he discovered a reader had used the details to create a £500 direct debit to the charity Diabetes UK.
Clarkson published details of his Barclays account in the Sun newspaper, including his account number and sort code. He even told people how to find out his address.
“All you’ll be able to do with them is put money into my account. Not take it out. Honestly, I’ve never known such a palaver about nothing,” he told readers.
It’s easy to mock (fun too!), but I’m not sure it’s the right response. Risk assessment is hard. Our instincts about how hard these things might be are often wrong. Criminals often live in places where it’s worth weeks or a month of their time to steal £500. That’s twice the average income in some places. Each risk assessment takes time and energy to perform.
As chaos is all around us, our ability to reasonably and quickly assess risk is stuck in another time.
Thanks to Phil Hallam-Baker and Ryan Singel for pointing this out. Phil has great video on his blog.