Whistleblower and Super-Leaker Edward Snowden changed his career trajectory purposely and forever when he revealed details of a National Security Agency data collection project. He is now unemployed, possibly in the middle of his 15 minutes of fame, marooned somewhere in Russia, and, perhaps, on his way to jail someday.> Very few people have either the opportunity or the desire to betray their employers, their colleagues, and their country in one singular act of mind-blowing bravado. Hero? Villain? Ego-maniac? The airwaves, the blogosphere, the courts, and the dissertation factories will chew on this for decades.
3 Rules for Protecting Confidential Information should keep you out of the headlines.
- Treat your employer’s and your clients’ private information as if it were your own. This is Professionalism Rule #1. Don’t chat about work in restaurants, airports, elevators or in the gym. Be afraid. The person at the next table knows who you are and is listening, and possibly recording your conversation. He may be your clients’ brother-in-law or the opposing attorney on the matter that you are blabbing about.
- Keep an iron grip on your laptop, tablet, and phone. Unless you have Super-Double-Special-Grade-A-Absolutely-Top-Notch encryption software on your devices, they can be hacked. Back up everything in a secure place. You do not want to say: “Sorry Ms. Client. The only copy of your very expensive super secret due diligence report was on my lost laptop, and not backed up.”
- Know that you have a public electronic footprint. Just because you don’t engage in anything that could damage national security and have no substantive fear of terrorist-hunting data mining, doesn’t mean that everything that you write or tweet isn’t discoverable and subject to wild misinterpretation. During World War II, people said “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” For the 21st century, perhaps a version of “Tiny Tweets Torpedo Promising Career” is apt.
6 Rules for Protecting Confidential Information