Monday, May 22, 2017

Houston we have a problem!


Of the many undesirable results of the Space Program is the fetishization of the "mission control center", with it's rows of workstations facing a common central screen. Ever since, anybody with any sort of mission now has a similar control center.

It's a pain for us in the cybersecurity community because every organization wants a "security operations center" laid out the same way. The point of he room isn't to create something that's efficient for working, but one that will impress visitors. The things done to impress customers can often make an already difficult job even more difficult.




I point this out because of the "glowing globe" picture from President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia. It's supposed to celebrate the opening of the "Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology" (http://etidal.org). Zoom the camera out a bit, and you can see it's the mission control center from hell.


Manually counting, I see three sides, each with slightly more than 100 workstations/employees, or more than 300 in total. I don't know if they intend all three sections to focus on the same sets of problems, or if they are split into three different tasks (e.g. broadcast TV vs. Internet content). Their brochure is unclear. I suspect in the long it'll be full of third country nations from a broad swath of Muslim nations who can speak the local languages and dialects, working in a sweat-shop manner.

In any case, it's clear that the desire for show/spectacle has far outstripped any practical use.

The more I read about this, the more Orwellian it seems. Rather than opposing ISIS's violence, it seems more intent on promoting a Saudi ideology. The whole spectacle seems intent on tricking the Trump administration into supporting something it really should be opposing.

3 comments:

David Wong said...

this is actually hilarious

Siegfried Kiermayer said...

Jepp as a SciFi Movie fan and Software engineere i would love to have such an impressive cool looking room even if it is a little bit less useful :).

The same with hacker representations in movies, like the hacker in 'the core' or similiar stuff. Like multiply keyboards, doom running on one of the many screens etc. :)

Yeah they are way cooler than basicly everything you are using on a daily base.

Gary Hinson said...

With the increasingly sophisticated automation necessary to spot and react to incidents in near-real-time, the very idea of putting hundreds of people in the loop seems quite ridiculous.