, ,

On the peculiar case of Trumpian data security habits…

Using todays working practices as the bench mark for acceptable behaviour I not only take my work home but have access to corporately sensitive documents to work on. A lot of the corporate information I’ve added value to, which at many levels has made that data in need of being more commercially private and I would hope valuable.

We have a company document classification system that effectively manages the retention, circulation, labelling and broad usage of company data.

It seems eminently reasonable for me to adhere to this information security policy and to expect sanction should I fall short of my employee responsibilities in this regard. I don’t expect any special consideration and don’t aim to work outside the boundaries of the document security and management system. If I disagree with corporate information governance I can challenge it, which does afford me an opportunity to affect change should I choose.

I accept my data security obligation and the authority of the company to manage information in a secure and thereby effective manner not least because they hold my data. As such I hold the company responsible to keep information on me in a secure manner in line with corporate data compliance laws. If they want to police me by process or technology then, in reason, this is normal working practice and acceptable. Here I’m expressing personal responsibility which is a core theme in the neo-liberal discourse.

Thus far we have information obligations, the reasonable need to personally adhere to security principles and an individual opportunity to create change should the system require as much. I feel secure and empowered in equal measure when it comes to information management at the corporate and governmental levels.

As a person in the real world that accepts the provenance of informational checks and balances I’m at a loss to think why former President Trump believes he’s above such controls and laws. Why do the American people, without equivocation, not hold him to the same standards of responsibility as all other citizens. Indeed why does former President Trump feel entitled to abrogate this personal responsibility and to cast himself above the laws of the land. Surely, he expects no less regarding data management in the day to day handling of his own company data.

Having any individual set themselves above the law is a recipe for whimsical data chaos. It shouldn’t matter what you political affiliations are, we should all expect and champion information in our or others charge or pertaining to us or the workings of our country to be handled by process in a secure manner.

I won’t pretend to understand the American system of politics but as I comprehend it the President serves the people not the other way round. There’s supposed to be constitutionally defined power separation between the Executive, Congress and the Judicial system. As such within this system no person is above the law and all are subject to the laws of the land. Not withstanding the opinion a person has on the effectiveness of each one of the governing forums, in theory it’s the best that can be conceived. Allowing a former President to be above the people is a move to authoritarianism and away from personal freedom.

Keep in mind though that there is intent and opportunity potentially at play here. The documents may not have been taken had they not had value, commercial, political or judicial. Where there’s value there’s a seller and a potential buyer. Isn’t this good business if you can get away with it, given any perceived lack of restrictive oversight and supposed or hoped for deficits in being held to account. Look to who the buyer could possible be or the potential utility and this may speak to intent.

James Madison the father of the American Constitution, explained that the new nation would remain free only so long as lawmakers had to live by the same laws they imposed on the public.

Treat Trump (and any other public servant for that matter), as a special case, without expecting his personal responsibility to the people (as a Caesar no less), at the very cost to your own freedoms. Caveat Emptor.