The greater question is…why are there such repeated security leaks?
2016 has not been a banner year for large international corporations. It would seem that increasing globalization in combination with a higher level of technological savvy (and a healthy dose of employee discontent) is causing corporate corruption schemes to unravel. Between the Unaoil bribery debacle and the Panama Papers offshore funds scandal, some of the best-known global companies and personalities have been brought under the miscroscope by investigative journalism.
In recent years, a lot of scrutiny has been given to whistleblowers and leaks, particularly as they pertain to governments (Edward Snowden and PRISM, anyone?). However, what we have seen in the first few months of 2016 is the strength of journalistic investigtion bought to bear on multinational companies and global corruption on an increasing scale. And, more and more, current or former members of staff for these companies are the source for massive amounts of information that can and have resulted in arrests, ruined careers, and spectacular losses of reputation.
And another thing; current technology and Big Data being what it is, nearly unfathomable amounts of information are being released into the wild by these whistleblowers, and with every leak that volume of information is increasing. Wikileaks accounted for approximately 1.2 million documents (so far, anyway). Snowden made off with roughly 1.7 million documents. The Panama Papers, on the other hand, have been estimated at 11.5 million documents.
Eleven point five million documents. Consider that for a moment.
Now, I actually agree with corporations being held accountable for corruption of the size and scale revealed by the Unaoil and Panama Papers documents. That is not national security, that is people with more money than sense trying take from others more than the ungodly amounts of money they already have. Not cool.
However, I understand (but do not necessarily agree with) the actions of those like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Freedom of information, ra ra, etc etc. Whether or not people should leak that information because they can is beyond my pay grade to explain, and well beyond their pay grade to make such a decision. That is national security, and so far beyond the purview of a single person to understand that I still find it utterly ludicrous that any self-respecting citizen could commit that sort of treason. Even the President of the United States has advisors. Dozens of them, in fact.
Why Edward Snowden “thought” he had a better grasp on matters of national and international security that the President, the Joint Chiefs, the Directors of the letter agencies and all their merry men is something I will likely never know or understand.
A lingering question for me, as I see the headlines and read the articles every day, is how on earth these people are actually able to remove millions of documents from supposedly secure databases without anyone knowing. One would think, on the heels of half a decades worth of whistleblowing and international scandal, that somebody somewhere would have thought it a decent idea to start tracking employee access to and download of company (or agency/government, come to that!) documents.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me again and again….well.