Telling People What to Do

Guy trains himself to come across as a cop / security goon, walks around a college campus, and on video demonstrates just how effective this attitude is at getting people to do all sorts of stuff.

I don’t think the reason for his success is just that he’s acting like a cop, though. They adopt this attitude for a reason, they didn’t invent it. I also strongly disagree with the poster’s argument that people “strive” to be subjugated. (Except perhaps for very certain personalities, generally in the bedroom.)

Rather, not disagreeing with authority is taught. Generally by people in authority or people who want to be in authority. As the corporate anarcho-syndicalism thing a while back pointed out, de-programming people from the usual Hegelian master-slave hierarchy is hard. (Collectivism isn’t the way, either: “we’re all too weak to be individuals” is a big step in the wrong direction.)

From a security perspective, this pretty much goes to the core of all social engineering. It drops the facade of trickery and goes to the heart of the matter: “do this thing without me giving you sufficient justification.”

Worth noting is that, though this approach is successful, it also has an effect on the guy himself. Witness about halfway through as he starts getting a little drunk on the power, telling people to pick stuff up & deliberately humiliating them. By the end he starts showing a bit of paranoia (“you came out here deliberately because you knew we were filming!”).

(On a literary level, you could draw some inference about what happens when you start bending the world to your will — you start seeing everything in those terms, or perhaps the world starts bending you back.)

Even more interesting is the vitriolic response the guy got when he posted the video to r/SocialEngineernig… His behavior raised a lot of ire even among people interested in manipulating others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3DSSGWisgk
(Use “Flash Video Downloader” so you don’t need Flash, etc.)

http://www.reddit.com/r/SocialEngineering/comments/19wjk6/a_hilarious_example_of_just_how_compliant_people/c8rz4wt

“The guy in this video isn’t actually some awkward autistic type, the voice he uses is incredibly practiced and extremely superficial to say the least. He has an incredibly dominate persona that he adopts at will, that has taken this guy years to accomplish successfully. This isn’t just another “haha look at this jerk doing strange shit” video. Quite far from it. This guy might not touch on the cognitive or social-sciences behind his experiments, but many of them play off the same principles I apply every time I’m working the field. Be it picking up girls, testing an offices’s security, or a financial industry’s labyrinth of hallways and server rooms, sometimes it’s as easy as (Another real world scenario from a state office hallway a few months back) “Can you hold this for a moment? force something into their hands while looking at a map” (something out of the ordinary is more likely to be met with compliance because it subverts our preconceived notion to say ‘no’ right off the bat) followed quickly by “Tell me where the server room is.” notice there is no question mark. This principle is what we’re watching in real time on this guys video. It’s not just a simple prank.

Personally, I’ve been doing this type of thing for about 4 years, before that it was a sales men, then a PR guy, then a marketing team leader, an online engineer / Hacker (I really hate the term hacker, I don’t script my own code I just use social engineering or other “hacks” to accomplish/compromise whatever I’m working on day to day), and part time security auditor (aka pen.tester…such a stupid name). Nay say all you want. But there is science behind this link. “

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