Mohammad Al-Ubaydli’s blog

How much does it cost you to keep a secret?

Posted in Society by Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli on December 24, 2007

Looking back on the last ten years, the work I have most enjoyed doing is helping people stop keeping secrets. In another couple of decades I want to look back and think that I have done this work well. Because it is, I am guessing, what I will be spending much of my time doing during these coming years.

I do not like secrets because they cost so much. I do not mean the cost of training UK government staff how to maintain the confidentiality of their citizens’ records rather than sending 25 million of them in the post unprotected. Rather, I mean the cost of keeping this training manual secret from most staff members:

A manual which laid down strict rules on how Revenue & Customs should safeguard the information was not widely distributed because it was thought to contain too much sensitive information to be handed out to 90,000 civil servants. Instead, only a few senior civil servants had access.

The next time you keep a secret from your team, your friends, your family, ask yourself: is it really worth it?


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