Saturday, November 11, 2006

A case of social engineering in collectivist society

In a mailing list I joined (subcription is by other member's reference only, sorry), there is an article about meatless day. The poster persuades readers to observe this day, while offering them a reminder service. In short, she asked people's cell phone number and email address so she can remind them of meatless day.

You probably ask, "who would give away his email address or cell number to such a stupid request? Don't people have any common sense?". The answer is "it depends on the community's culture". In community with high collectivism, giving away such information still fit the so called common sense. On the other hand, in a more individualistic community there is more concern on "why you need to know" and "mind your own business" thus such request is unlikely to be responded.

Regardless of whether she had any bad intention, such as to sell contact numbers to spammer and telemarketers, this is an example of social engineering.

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