Home > Community, Network, Politics, Society > Going Deep: Secrecy, Violation and Response

Going Deep: Secrecy, Violation and Response

December 12, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

In light of the Wikileaks fiasco, I’ve been thinking about how as humans we create secrecy and then respond when our hiding is revealed. To start, I view secrecy as sub-level categorization of material. In other words, when we classify something as “secret” we categorize it differently from other information and in a way tag it as being special. A common example is a love interest. If a friend reveals to us a piece of information deemed “secret” we know the info to be special and demanding of a different set of behaviors and treatment. Secret information must be protected at the risk of defying the friendship that deemed us worthy of being given the secret information. In a way we keep a secret in order to be eligible for future revelations of secrets. If we violate the trust that established us as worthy “secret holders” we forfeit our right to additional secret information and are immediately re-assigned.

Herein we see the complex function of categorization. Both the info and the individuals involved with secrets are deemed unique. We categorize or tag this people and info in a different way. Interestingly both content and audience are grouped in this situation. Its as if in recognition of the secrecy we create blanket responses that group both people and information in bubbles of concern.

This is the basic function of secret keeping and revelation. This procedure functions well in a controlled environment where after a secret is revealed the new categorizations are established and a violation does not occur. If our secret stays safe we’re ok. Its only when a violation occurs- a la at the hands of a dissident solider working in cahoots with a curiously motivated website anarchist that things go awry. In cases in which our trust has been breached we must respond. Herein we find an interesting re-categorization.

When a secret has been revealed we immediately update our categories. Now the individual who has revealed our secret is categorizes as one not worthy of our trust. We break this person from any future revelations and, in a way, access to the line of personal thinking that produced the initial secret now breached. Our changes in categories go still further as we re-assess the n0w reveled information. No longer a secret, this now public private information must be treated differently as we either deny, defend or disavow the truth of the information. In the revelation of a secret we see a great shattering of a connected network. Unlike the formation of the secret network in which information and people are meshed together, when a secret is revealed the entire network is cracked and scattered in order to create confusion and distance.

Faced with these broken pieces we move beyond the revelation in an interesting way: we create more secrecy. Despite the violation of our trust we reassess the figures who we trust and create a deeper level of secrecy. This increase in secrecy is a deepening of the network so that the initial layer of secrecy still exists and yet is unaware of the new layer of secrecy. For example, aware of the violation of our trust we deny our violator with access to secret information. We do not reveal this information the person is simply denied future access and exists unaware of the new designation. Now the newer, deeper level of secrecy is the major area of function.

In the new layer of secrecy we adjust our procedure with what we have learned with the initial violation. Now we look more closely at those we trust and perhaps increase the requirements needed to reveal secret information. While at the older, less-secretive level information was revealed more easily and to more people, the new level is one created after being burned and so info is revealed less commonly and to fewer individuals. Additional violations will only increase the depth of the secret network. The ultimate result of constant violations is an increasingly deeper network of secrecy that ultimately leads to zero revelations and a system in which we are the only individual aware of secret information. At this deepest level there are no figures of trust, no secret information revealed and, by design, zero potential that a violation can occur.

This process of tightening the network of secrecy is the only realistic response American can make to the Wikileaks breach. American cannot control the leak of information, nor can it control the figures who desire to reveal secret information to others. The only real response comes from within and utilizes the only tools available. Ultimately America’s secret networks must be tightened and as the network tightens the access and potential of leaks gradually diminishes.

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