Whether motivated by political point scoring, money or emotion, leaking information is a serious business. You can guarantee that if you want something kept quiet, someone somewhere will do their best to leak it.
As Jeremy Corbyn announced yesterday that he’d seen screenshots of a so-called ‘sweetheart deal’ between central government and Surrey County Council, I could almost hear faces hitting palms in the offices of Westminster.
It may be that conversations between government and Surrey County Council were ‘entirely appropriate’ as the government claims, but whether they were or not, those texts were not supposed to get into the public domain.
And is it ever really appropriate to have confidential conversations by text? It’s insecure, hard to track from a compliance point of view (should government ever bypass official channels?) and all-too-easy to screenshot or forward to someone you really don’t want to see it. In this case, Jeremy Corbyn.
SMS or IM is great in lots of ways because it’s so instant. You know that your message has got to its recipient. It conveys a sense of urgency. It’ll get a more immediate response from the recipient.
But as I’ve posted on Finextra recently, it’s a security nightmare.
When I came up with the concept of projecting, rather than sending messages (the basis of Pushfor), it was to combat this problem. If you send information, even if you use encryption, you can’t guarantee what will happen to it once it’s reached its destination. It’s out of your control.
Something that Surrey County Council and the government has just found out to its cost.