#SonyHack shows there are no “safe secrets” in the corporate world – what do you do?

Dishonest Man's WisdomThe #sonyhack will change the way the corporate world operates in many ways that we cannot even yet imagine. Yes, there are obvious data security implications that I usually drone on about, but there is another change that we may see come about.

The now outdated idea that internal corporate secrets will remain corporate secrets. You know, things like email conversations among colleagues containing snide and catty remarks, etc. Not to mention the real corporate secrets — trade secrets and other competitive information.

What does this mean for the way the corporate world does business?

Who knows how far the ramifications will be felt. I doubt it will lead to a rebirth of that outdated thing called the “Golden Rule” when it comes to talking about others, but it just may push folks back into the direction of that other outdated notion of not “putting it in writing” if you do not need to.

Earlier in my legal career I found myself in the unenviable position of having a client’s interests in a lawsuit be aligned with a rather unsavory character. Nah, who am I kidding, the guy was a crook — I mean the stereotypical “snake oil salesman” type.

Once, I asked him if he had any written proof of a conversation that he was telling me about. He laughed, paused, and shared with me some of his dishonest man’s wisdom that I will never forget:

  • Don’t say anything if a nod will do
  • Don’t say something over the telephone if you can say it in person
  • Don’t put something in writing if you can just say it

And, while email wasn’t very prevalent back then, I suspect there would be one more rule if we were having that conversation today:

  • Don’t put it in an email if you can write it on a napkin!

Maybe this dishonest man’s wisdom is not only for the dishonest …

 

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