A World Without Secrets

8 02 2012

This past week the American people were treated to the unedifying spectacle of a woman, formerly a White House intern, alleging an affair with a former president.   Apparently a hot news item for those who thrive on the tawdry.

Whether or not this dalliance took place is not the point of this post.  This does, however, highlight something that is most relevant to us who now live in a digital universe:

Secrets.

There really are none.

If you read here often you know that I make my living in the Information Sciences.  IT is one of the most complex and profoundly detailed enterprises in our world.  Those of us who traffic in IT on a daily basis often shake our heads, wondering “What on earth was he or she thinking when they did this?” concerning the latest bit of unflattering information that hits the Web and goes viral.  Inappropriate texts.  Party animal videos.  Smoking-gun memos intended to be kept under cover.

Someone once said, in the aftermath of the fall of a high-profile leader, “You should live your life as if there were no such thing as a secret, because there are none.”

Here are some things to remember when making choices, in light of living in the Information Age:

  • Integrity, above all, must be your watchword.  Be consistent in public and private.
  • Anything you say, do or have recorded is ultimately accessible.  Most Americans carry a phone in their pocket or purse that transmits and receives information that is stored on servers and tape in data centers around the world as digital information.  Texts, phone messages, photographs and video; it’s all there courtesy of your cell phone. The same applies to computers of any form.  Where you and I go on the internet, what we send in emails and tweets, etc.–everything is preserved and can be resurrected in the most embarrassing ways and inconvenient moments.  It has ruined the potential of a lot of people.
  • Poor choice of words can get you in legal hot water. Rants and other ill-advised utterances when splattered on a blog, an email or in range of some kind of recording device are admissible evidence in lawsuits for slander, libel, or defamation of character.  We live in an increasingly litigious society and people sue at the drop of a hat.  If in doubt, don’t.
  • Human beings make poor skeleton closets.  We are not designed to conceal deeds of darkness and foolishness.  It corrodes like battery acid and nearly always emerges, even if years later.
  • God is watching. One day we will all account for every word and deed.  Be prepared.

If you are always the same, publicly and privately, you will have nothing to worry about.  No need to cover tracks and look over your shoulder.  It really is the only way to live.  Start today.

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2 responses

10 02 2012
reenie

A Hearty Amen !

10 02 2012
Christian Fahey

She was a GREAT lady. Thanks for reading Reenie!

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