Limits of Secrecy

LIMITS of SECRECY Recently, a conversation between Dr Kalam and PM Vajpayee just before a nuclear test was in circulation in the social media : Before the nuclear test, PM Vajpayee asked Dr. Abdul Kalam “Are all the preparations done Kalam Sahab?” Dr. Kalam replied “Yes Sir, but the information should not get leaked.” Vajpayee ji smiled and said“How will the information ever get leaked? Both of us are bachelors." No, trust me, PM didn't have anything in particular against wives or womenfolk. The message was, if there is no trustworthy persons around, one is not likely to share information that one considers sensitive. My way of keeping secrets is, if I am in possession of an information that I classify as secret, I won't share it with anyone. While working in a central government organisation, I have seen bundles of files moving from desk to desk with long flags (10"x2") on which the word "SECRET" is printed in ba old and dark capitals. We had such flags in appropriate colours to mark URGENT, IMMEDIATE etc also which were supplied from the stationery section along with monthly quota of stationery items against indents. Long ago, when we used to travel by train for a couple of days to reach Delhi or Mumbai from Kerala, the person sitting next to you in the compartment would have collected your full family profile within an hour of the commencement of journey. We never thought of the possibility of a stranger misusing such information. Today, we are warned against sharing personal information with strangers. Last week and anonymous message which talked about harrasment by strangers over the phone was shared in a WhatsApp group. The scare was about miscreants obtaining online or over the phone sensitive information from you and misusing it to your disadvantage including financial loss. Select responses : Response 1 : "Really horrible. Any thing can happen to anybody any time. Where is our country/ society/ system going ? Any idea who had gone through this ordeal originally?( since it is a forwarded message )" Obviously source was unavailable. I responded : "Yes Really uncomfortable to hear. Such messages get widely circulated. No harm. We get cautioned. One thing to keep in mind is, one can get cheated in multiple ways. Especially about sensitive information including financial, we have to be cautious. Always." Response 2 : "I am getting such fraudulent messages or calls on every day basis. On contacting. Cyberdome has forewarned me that my phone number has been compromised and they had suggested some inputs to raise firewall against such attacks. I had already shared that points in our group." I thought that is not an acceptable approach. Take my case. My number is available in the public domain. If someone accesses it and makes a call, I don't think there's any firewall I can have to prevent the call from reaching me. Second, I can't refuse to accept call from strangers. The best I can do is to be cautious from the moment the call gets connected. The moment I get a suspicion, I disconnect the call. M G Warrier


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