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« Handicapped at the 2006 Arizona Ironman | Main | IEEE Spectrum Story: Vegas 911 »

April 19, 2006


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Bill Brabant

Very insightful Jeff. For me it has been family doing the betraying. What may be highly important for us, the individual, becomes heresay for whoever we trust. I don't think it holds the same pending circumstances for them as it would us. Yet, if they were to feel the same pain we would, they may hold a secret longer than its half-life. Bill



Read your piece yesterday and then pondered a bit.
Re-read it this AM.

What about another side of the issue, understanding that there may be many facets, maybe importance has a half life too.

Some secrets are more important than others, while some have more rapid decay than others.

Somebody tells me that they have or had relatives in the CIA isn’t important today, now that the relatives have passed away. Somebody tells me about political string pulling for a company to make a windfall is less important as time passes.
Headline news today becomes a “so what” story over time.

Another facet can be one of personal perception.
Something you think of as “insider knowledge”, once revealed may end up being common knowledge … where others reply “everybody knows That!”

Brian Benz

I can definitely relate to this - I used to work for a mergers & acquisitions group in a large telecom company in Canada. In that group we had to work in strict secrecy, with project and company code names – up until a certain day, when announcements were made. Knowledge that one day would have cost certain parties millions or billions, the next day was free for all.

I guess the half-life for me would be measured by what can be done with the information vs. what can be revealed. Revelation may sometimes be painful, but not always harmful. The holder of the secret gets to decide which is which based on their intentions. And of course there are always the unintended consequences of disclosure, especially with family ;).

Dave Piscitello

Hi Jeff,

I think it's time to try to marry your thoughts about trust having a half-life with progressive, voluntary disclosure of personal information through social networking, location "disclosing" applications (Twitter, Geo-spatial tagging), unifying applications like Google Voice, and (here it comes) cloud computing and storage.

I'll propose the following as a topic: we have reached a state where the decay rate of trust is accelerating and the persistence of publicly accessible personal information is growing, arguably exponentially. What is the limit of this function? Knowing your next movement and thoughts? Wow...

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