Wednesday, 23 March 2011

"Top Secret", a myth? How much information is Safe?


With WikiLeaks becoming a thorn in sides of some Governments and countries, and Julian Assange, the torch-bearer of freedom of information, one wonders if, perhaps we have not come too far in being liberal with all types of information! One remembers the words, “Top Secret, For Your Eyes Only” on some of the documents given to James Bond 007 and wonder whether  secrecy isn’t  is an obsolete word after all! After all,  information is now in the public domain thanks to the right to  information act. In the 2G scam in India, there was a debate about the tapping of phones of some prominent personalities and confidential conversations were  published by some newspapers and Media organisations.


The quantum leap in the dissemination of information has resulted in the common man being bombarded with all types of information. Some of this information might be useful, but most of it is harmful, divisive, dangerous, and usually useless. The old adage, “ignorance is bliss” is mere wishful thinking today. Today, no Government is safe from a WikiLeaks expose! And you can forget Corporate Confidentiality or keeping policies under wraps till  the right time! It is all part of Globalisation, where the entire Earth is one Global Village where no “Secrets are hidden!” It is however true that premature disclosure of Corporate Policies, Government Foreign Policies, Inventions, and future plans might harm the entity.

A question then arises, how much should we reveal, or how much should the common Man know, or for that effect should a particular information be revealed at all? One remembers the famous story about the fisherman marrying a mermaid, and the gifting of a mystery box with the specific instructions to the fisherman not to open it. The fisherman doesn’t heed the mermaid’s instructions and he opens the box, a Pandora’s box of diseases, misery pain and suffering! For that effect, Adam and Eve were specifically instructed not to eat the fruit of a particular tree in the Garden of Eden. They disobeyed God’s instructions and when they ate of the fruit, they learned of pain and suffering. In the two instances, there were instructions which were given to the particular people, they were not allowed to open a box or eat of the “forbidden fruit”! Today however, we don’t have proper guidelines regarding the dissemination of information. Risqué Exposes might end up doing more harm than good.The recent turmoil in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya has been attributed to the leaking of secret cables by WikiLeaks! Today we are not better off for what is going on in Libya, or Yemen or Bahrain. Having just entered the process of recovery from recession, we are in the process of being plunged into yet another Global Crisis-all because of the leaking of secret cables!  So then how much information should we allow to enter the Public Domain? The answer to this question will have to be give by Julian Assange himself!

No comments:

Post a Comment