Sunday, July 05, 2009


Most of you immediately recognized the abbreviation for Too Much Information, TMI, so welcome aboard. The episodes of normally functional, if not impressive, public figures putting up incredibly dumb communications on Twitter, Facebook and the like are pretty funny as those publicity users try to adjust to a whole new world.

The communication that made it possible for everyday citizens of Iran to maintain some hold on their government has given us all sorts of possibilities for direct lines among us people. Where media has dominated for much of our lives, at least attempting to portray itself as the real source for knowledge, that imaginary role has failed increasingly as the newspapers sell themselves to the highest bidder.

Suddenly the office seekers are finding out they can't establish a few trusted reporters to deliver their message to, and expect us to suck it in. Now they need to communicate. The results are enchanting. Who would have thunk it was important to him, not what he concluded about the peccadilloes of his party, but what Newt had for dinner. Twittering about hearing voices is a new way to claim sacred communication status among those who are so inclined.

A new standard for chatter is desperately being sought by the 'personalities' who thought they had their images covered. How diverting for staff, to try making a new sort of person up, some one sympathetic to keen observers and casual browsers at the same time. However, the field of online communications has real dangers for security personnel.

For the secret services in England, the communications of its operatives are suddenly making problematic their official security measures. His wife's online persona suddenly is a problem for having a casual social presence with friends that wasn't protected from sharing at large.

Personal details about the life of the next head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, have been removed from social networking site Facebook amid security concerns.

The Mail on Sunday said his wife had put details about their children and the location of their flat on the site.

The details were removed after the paper contacted the Foreign Office.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband denied claims security had been compromised, saying: "You know he wears a Speedo swimsuit. That's not a state secret."
Former Prime Minister Sir John Major said the issue had been "overblown".

He said: "I know John Sawers. He's a very able man, he's a very able appointment. It's pretty unfortunate that this has happened, I think that is true.

"But I think when you're faced with leaving Iraq possibly too early, huge problems in Afghanistan, the mess in Pakistan, the depth of the recession, I think this falls a long way below those."

Sir John Sawers is due to replace Sir John Scarlett as head of the overseas Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).

While most of the people I chat with are pretty well known to me, and their secrets are just that, all of us know that trolls like to wriggle in and try to find tidbits to make a hullabaloo about. One likes to accuse members of our circle of being twisted in some way, or having a seamy side that they alone have recognized.

What sort of motivation the nuisances operate from is a sad sidelight to the substantial support most of us find in online communications. What would be the national threat to anyone who carries on normal communications that may reveal security concerns is yet another wrinkle in the possibilities of our chatter. Your swimwear look isn't going to tear down anyone's marriage, most probably, but your address may make you vulnerable.

Online most of us have a rich and satisfactory circle of friends, associates, and like-minded social contacts. It's probably not a possibility for all of us, though, and the public exposure has to be obvious from the start.

In a public position, especially one that deals with security issues, there will have to be limits of exposure. Sadly, it appears that online life will have to stay virtual for anyone in a sensitive position.

In the groupings where I have conversations, we tend to let each other know when one of us is taking chances with some one who's been untrustworthy in the past. All of us have learned to wait and let any new member establish a persona that we recognize for basic consideration and reputable practices. Hopefully, this kind of protective attitude can be adopted by those in the field of security to those it needs to protect.

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Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...


Am I showing my age when the first think i think of is "Three Mile Island"?

2:44 PM  
Blogger martha said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


6:02 AM  

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