THOSE LEAKING DOCUMENTS

by jermaine | Posted on Friday, June 8th, 2012

By Loughlin Tatem

Some months ago there was much hullaballoo in the federation over information being leaked out of the offices of social security. That storm has since blown over. It was what we here refer to as a nine-day wonder and there are lots of those around.

Fortunately it is not just in our federation that things become nine-day wonders. It is part of human nature to want to move on to fresher, newer things, no matter how exciting or troubling previous things may have been. We become tired and want fresh happenings to sink our intellect into, to show off our knowledge, and entertain our basic human need for social interaction; opportunities which things like these toss up every now and then.

The United States of America is at present having its own debates about leakage of information of a military nature, the type of leak which we will never have here in St. Kitts, and if we did it would not matter because we are of little if any significant military importance to the world. We were important in the 1980s because of the Cold War bringing about Russian and American heightened interest in some of our Caribbean neighbours.

For the time being we have sunk back into the realm of the insignificant when it comes to our airports being of any value to any world superpower, and the hosting of their military hardware passing through our country on its way to any place viewed as significant threat to the peace and stability of any of the once superpowers be it The United States, Russia or Cuba.

When we think of information leakage, we imagine some whiz-kid born with what one imagines is a computer chip in his brain, hacking into our office computers while belly-down on his bed in his room full of basketball jerseys and dozens of balls on the floor somewhere, either in the United States of America or over at Frigate Bay. But it very likely not one of those kids with a Duggie-top or any computer at all for that matter.

The imagined computer used to hack the leaked information might not be any more than a draw left unclosed or unlocked overnight, a door that remains unlocked because no one can locate the key and everyone has stopped looking, or perhaps a trusted messenger, a friend of the son or daughter of the janitor, the assistant to the plumber who fixed the running faucet in the ladies washroom, or the bottled-water delivery-man whose eyes someone in the office simply cannot wait to feast on again.

We are so caught up with either the too simple or the too complex view of how the leak occurred,that we are unable to imagine a middle ground somewhere as the source of the information leakage. It is either the extremely mundane and simple, namely: someone in the office was paid off or had some ulterior motive for leaking the information, or the high-end, high-tech extreme theory namely: some computer genius, somewhere, hacked into it. No one imagines the information could have been simply forgotten on a desk.

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