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Virtues of the Millennial Generation

It seems as if stigma’s for the millennial generation are piling up daily, but the most despicable one is “laziness”. Supposedly, we’re idle because we spend a lot of our time at the gym and sloths because we tend to live more in our parents’ basement. At least that’s what Jennifer Graham seems to indicate in her article in the BostonGlobe named “A Generation of Idle Trophy Kids”. Let me give you some reasons why we’re far from being the lazy generation.

Back in the day of Generation X’s twenties, people had to go out to gather information; today we do it simply by tapping on our Google app. The other day my professor told the class that we would find something much quicker on Google than his generation would; but if you’d ask Generation X to look something up in the Yellow Pages – that’s right, the “search engine” of the eighties – he would do it much quicker than us. He has a point: it depends on what you are more comfortable with. The means of communicating have changed, but didn’t make us lazier. We might as well be using Groupon to sign up for martial art deals!

Graham states, “Today’s kids simply can’t imagine downsizing to quarters like that. They’re victims of their parents’ success and frustrated that they see no way to replicate it. And why should they, if they’re already livin’ the dream?” Now, let me be clear: we’re not frustrated because we can’t replicate our parents’ success. We’re frustrated because jobs are hard to get since they require experience. But how do employers expect us to have experience if there’s no one willing to train us? After all, Millennials are the smartest. Our generation is the best educated in American history, according to a study released by Pew Research Center of 18- to 29-year-old Millennials.

A Canadian study from 2010 conducted a field study of the millennial generation and found that we place the greatest importance on individualistic aspects of a job. We also have realistic expectations of our first job and salary. Yet we’re looking for quick advancement and development of new skills while at the same time ensuring a meaningful and satisfying life outside of work. I think that’s reasonable because of our knowledge that needs to be challenged – or else we’ll be bored and deeply unhappy.

Every generation had its fair share of political turmoil and uprisings, but our experiences with such are different. In the nineties, the various revolutions in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe were strongly influenced by young people. In’89, China, protests were held by college students on the Tiananmen Square. Today, social media enables Millennials to communicate easily from a distance to spread true and direct news. In recent news, for example, the Ukraine looks more like a war scene than the intended peaceful protest and more than 15 deaths have occurred. Through Twitter, Ukrainians are able to report about day-to-day corruptive events taking place. Last year in Turkey at the Gezi Park protests, student-aged people used social media to their advantage and gained great recognition globally as the Turkish government censored TV and the Prime Minister’s lies came to surface. Due to these tweets and direct news, authorities from other countries had been able to interfere by for example blocking talks of Turkey joining Europe and cutting a supply for tear gas that has been used excessively. Or just take a look at the Arab spring. Enough said.


On Neil Fisher's Security Blog


I was minded this week of three events. The first was the NCA warning about the Game Over Zeus malware and that NCA along with Europol and FBI had disrupted the gang perpetrating its spread and implementation (assumed Russian) by closing down the command and control servers it was using. But only for two weeks! A well publicised operation with an insider story from Geoff White of Channel 4 News. Unfortunately the warning to the public was somewhat alarming and advised those who read it to seek advice from GetSafeOnline and CyberStreetWise, the latest Government cyber security campaign. I don’t know about the latter but GetSafeOnline crashed within the hour of the warning going out and was down for about two days. It’s back up now however. There is a golden rule in informing the public about a serious and possibly catastrophic national issue - Alert but don’t Alarm. Otherwise you get panic, which is what it looked like to me. It also caused me to look at the Civil Contingencies’ page to see whether cyber incidents merited mention yet as part of the Emergency Response process. It doesn’t appear to.

The second event was that 5 Jun 14 was the first anniversary of the release of the Snowden files. Still reverberating today, the release of so much classified information by Snowden and his media voice Greenwald may appear to do a public good but in fact does untold national harm.

Ironically, the Government decided that that would be the same day it announced its Cyber Essentials project. I mentioned this last week. It is basically a subset of the Ten Steps for good cyber hygiene that business of all sizes should take. It’s very techie and I don’t see it being a topic of conversation at the next Board meeting.

All this led me to think about how the public - you and me - are inextricably involved in what happens online yet are treated by our Authorities as if we are at arms length. The same mistake was made in developing the National Identity Scheme - there was a clear need for a national authentication scheme if the public were to benefit from online Government services yet the execution of that intent was muddled by officials and politicians who didn’t understand what they were dealing with - the power of the internet to empower the individual. Empowerment of Me led to concern over my Privacy.

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