What has science come to (secrecy)?

When a science oriented blog takes up things like “Leave no trace of your electronic correspondence” it makes one wonder. This might be a response to the CRU email message release but, in any case, it goes away from basic values of science research. The topic might bring to mind the famous missing minutes in the Nixon White House tapes.

The essay suggests that letters “were like mini-contracts” and voice conversations were not. That is a question as verbal contracts are just as valid as written ones. The difference is that written ones have more certainty and less confusion.

Now whatever you have to say to someone, you can rest assured that your correspondence will never come back to bite you.

Gullibility is also at issue here. Whenever someone makes a lock, someone else figures out how to defeat it. Thinking you can buy confidentiality as a magic bullet is a mistake that has been made many times over the years. The best way to avoid having communications “come back to bite you” is to never engage in communications that are dishonest or despicable.

Of course, as has been seen with some political figures, there are those who will create things for you in order to try to make them bite. That’s another issue.

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