Social engineering is the art and science of getting people to comply with your wishes. An example of how this can be better understood would be visualizing a group that is against smoking in public areas. This group will do whatever it can in order to get bills and laws passed to have smoking banned. The wishes of this group would be to ban smoking and in order for an anti smoking law to pass, enough people in the community would need to believe in what the group is fighting for. The group would need to convince the community in a way that the group’s wishes to ban smoking would occur. Laws can be used as tools for social engineering because if certain laws pass, it can be proved that social engineering really does work.
If I was in a position to enact laws, I would focus on laws such as making the driving age higher. I would use social engineering by explaining to my government officials why I believe the age limit should be increased. In Texas, the law requires that persons under the age of 18 to successfully complete a state-approved drivers course before they are able to receive their license. My proposal would be to make the age required to obtain a license to be 21. The reason I would push for this law is due to the amount of accidents that teenagers are involved in. Although I do look at situations such as the fact that we send individuals to war at age 18 and to some it may seem absurd to increase the driving age if we can send an 18 year old to war. Statically, teenagers have a much higher rate of death and accidents due to their age and inexperience.
An area of law that concerns me is the fact that teenagers who drive while under the influence of alcohol also cause a large amount of accidents. The age group most involved in these accidents range from 15 to 24 years of age. Due to the pressures and peer pressure that teens face in our current society, statistics show that one out of ten children ages 12 and 13 use alcohol at least once a month. (Brenner, 2004) Although every state has raised the legal drinking age to 21, this has not detoured teenagers from drinking and driving. Part of my social engineering plan would to have more citizens to get involved in programs such as “safe rides.” This program often involves taxi services that provide free rides to individuals who believe they have had too much to drink and are unable to drive.
Another area that is controversial in the Austin, Texas area where I currently reside is the no smoking laws that certain groups are trying to get passed. There are groups using social engineering to try to pursue the community that smoking should not be allowed in any public areas, including bars. In years past, a case could be made that anti smoking laws in public places such as governmental buildings were designated to protect those who were not smokers. The idea that this group is trying to implement is to bring this law full force to include not only all city buildings, (which has already been enforced) but in all public places. The controversy with this law is that bar owners firmly believe that if individuals are not allowed to smoke in their establishment, the bar owners will lose business and revenue. Supporters of the anti smoking law believe that this law is a “public health issue” but the dangers of even outdoor second hand smoking have never been proved by science. This group in Austin represents a small group of tobacco prohibitionist who don’t like smoking, so they are trying to use the coercive power of government to prohibit people from engaging in a habit that they do not approve of. (Liao, 2005)
A final area that I would use laws by means of social engineering would be whether or not children should be made to say the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. I believe that reciting the Pledge should be a decision that is made within a family, not within the government. In Texas, students are not only required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but they are required to Pledge Allegiance to the Texas flag. I would use social engineering to pursued individuals to make the Pledge an option for all students. In Texas, a very Republican state, I feel as though pushing this law through our government would be very difficult. (2005)
Although I do not feel social engineering is an area that I would be involved in much, I do feel as though certain laws do need to be reworked in order to please as many individuals in a community as possible. I feel that social engineering can be misleading and mischievous at times. I do not feel as though trying to bribe someone to believe in the same ideas as you is an area that I believe to be something that is morally and ethically correct.
(2005). Retrieved Apr. 17, 2005, from The Pledge of Allegiance and Social Engineering Web site: http://www.vaughnthompson.com/ichthus/archives/2005/01/the_pledge_of_a.php.
Brenner, S. (2004). People Hacking: The Psychology of Social Engineering. Retrieved Apr. 17, 2005, from http://cybercrimes.net/Property/Hacking/Social%20Engineering/PsychSocEng/PsySocEng.html.
Liao, R. (2005). Retrieved Apr. 16, 2005, from Bar Owners Weigh in on Austin Smoking Debate Web site: http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2005/03/21/TopStories/Bar-Owners.Weigh.In.On.Austin.Smoking.Debate-898663.shtml.
Pearsey, N. (2005). Retrieved Apr. 16, 2005, from How Judges Make the Law Web site: http://www.unitedseniors.org/full_story.cfm?article_id=73&category_id=3.