Fintan O’Toole: Why we didn’t think the cyber criminals were coming for us

It’s time for a government department devoted to counteracting inevitable threats

The rules governing the use of expertise have not changed for good – they have been abolished. Photograph: iStock

The rules governing the use of expertise have not changed for good – they have been abolished. Photograph: iStock

The pandemic and the cyberattack on the HSE have two things in common. One is that they were certain to happen some time. The other is that almost all of us assumed they wouldn’t happen any time soon – and they wouldn’t happen to us.

This contradiction is rooted in one of the facts of contemporary life: a huge and ever-growing gap between expertise on the one hand and the public realm on the other. This is not just a matter of the wilful ignorance of the new right, its deliberate assault on science, evidence and fact. It is more fundamental than that.

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