The paradoxes of individual empowerment and security

26th of January 2023

The concept of individual empowerment is included in many reports and studies as one of the trends that will shape the world in the coming years, such as the seven keys of the future drawn up by Prosegur Research, although there is no consensus on its meaning.

This study opts for the conceptualization proposal developed by the United Nations (UN), where individual empowerment is the process that allows people to have greater control over their own lives and over the factors and decisions that shape them. Therefore, although the approach values negative dynamics generated by this trend, as well as paradoxes and associated problems, empowerment is undoubtedly an important lever for social progress.

However, individual empowerment is a trend that impacts on security in a multitude of aspects and from various disciplines, with derived effects related to new forms of criminality and other more traditional ones that are evolving in line with new technological and social developments. In this regard, four areas are highlighted in which this phenomenon has a direct impact on security: social unrest and activism; hate speech and violent extremism; organized crime and cybercrime; and, finally, internal fraud and leaks.

As an example, the role of the Internet is pointed out, since empowerment facilitates recruitment for criminal groups of various kinds thanks to actions on social networks and video games, due to the anonymity that underlies most platforms and enhances sensitive interactions, making them difficult to monitor.

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