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Ladybug's OPSEC failures

3.07.23

This whole show is an absolute trainwreck, especially when it comes to writing. And that's exactly why it's so captivating. One could write essays on every single part of this show because everything is frustratingly flawed. I'll cover the part of the show that overlaps with my special interest: Ladybug's OPSEC. Or, rather, lack thereof. I know full well this is primitive, but I just wanted to get this off my chest.

Yes, she's a lot safer than she could have been due to the fact that her archenemy is - to put it lightly - not the brightest bulb. But a) she had no means of knowing the enemy's intelligence in the very beginning, where she still made some of the described mistakes and b) betting your whole life on the adversary's stupidity is NOT a good strategy. You know, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Intelligence aside, Marinette should know that her enemy has access to any existing surveillance technology and beyond (hi Optigami). And whether or not Hawk Moth has political connections (which, I remind you, he DOES!) does not matter at all, given that he is capable of simply akumatizing one of the people in charge.

Let's start with the obvious: CCTV cameras (I'd also note that it is a tiny bit weird that kwamis can mess with cameras and be invisible for them, yet this does not extend to their human partners). I am actually not sure how she'd be able to avoid this one entirely, especially if this version of Paris employs facial recognition. The closest I can think of is finding large enough blind spots, in particular those that are entered/exited by more people than just her. However, she doesn't even try to do the basics. For example, in at least one episode she transforms right in the subway - in a place notoriously full of security guards and cameras. However, this is not even the most egregious mistake of hers.

Which brings us to the second critical mistake: Marinette always carries around an active smartphone! It doesn't even matter that much whether she has a stock spyware OS or a safer custom one. She's betrayed by cell towers either way. (I also don't remember whether she has used it to discuss particularly secret things - I'll edit the post if I notice this happening).

It was never stated what happens to Marinette's purse when she transforms, so we cannot know for sure if her phone loses signal in such situations. But either way it puts Mari into a pretty bad situation.
Case 1: the phone does not disconnect. Then it's incredibly straightforward: through the carrier, look up which phones were active in the areas where Ladybug was in. After a while, you'd spot that one phone that appears over and over, or at worst very few ones that can be surveilled manually.
Case 2: the phone does disconnect. In this case it's also pretty easy: look up which cellphones were disconnected from the network in the timeframe between the villain being akumatized and Ladybug arriving on the scene. Maybe also narrow down the area, but not too much since Ladybug can travel pretty fast. The outcome is ultimately the same. Girl, you could really benefit from a good Faraday bag.

Third mistake is her face (lol I should certainly use this as an insult). Many people watching the show were frustrated by the fact that no one recognizes the heroes despite them only wearing narrow domino masks. This was handwaved by the kwamis' secondary power to mess with people's perception. But that leaves out another important factor - facial recognition AI. It was outright stated that AI is NOT influenced by this, as in New York special the heroes are recognized by an android. I'd say that none of the citizens ever trying to use publicly-available facial recognition software is the biggest plot hole in the series, but compared to everything else, this is more like a minor one. So I'll count this one as another one of Marinette's mistakes. Be more like Hawk Moth, cover the whole face. There's nothing embarrassing in having a balaclava as a part of your suit if it's for everyone's safety.

Fourth point. Isn't it ju-u-ust a little bit risky that Ladybug knows the identities of every single teammate except for Cat? While being an active combatant? Reminds me of a certain internet criminal who had a wise idea to demand IDs from his employees, and then guess what happened once this boss was busted.

I often hear that Ladybug should have shared her guardian duty with Cat Noir due to how unequally they have been treated by the show. I agree, but for a different reason: to avoid having a single point of failure. It doesn't necessarily have to be Cat (it just would probably work the best within the narrative) - just someone she trusts. Very preferrably not a combatant for less risk.

That's all for now. Maybe I forgot something - haven't been following the later episodes as much as I did earlier ones. Today I saw a tweet that the story arc has concluded. Turns out this is only THE FIRST story arc, heh. Kind of curious what would they come up with later, but don't really have hopes that it would improve. However, when I think about it... I don't really think they need to. Please, Miraculous, stay a beautiful trainwreck.