Edward Snowden. Ever heard of the guy? 🙂 I realize his story isn’t as juicy as Kanye & Kim’s practical baby-joke (that’s not really the name, is it?) or Paula Deen trampling on the legacy of Medgar Evers, but still…something about “leaking” confidential information about our country’s surveillance activities seems worthy of a discussion.

History will tell us whether Mr. Snowden will be remembered as Guy Fawkes or Julius Rosenberg, but at the heart of his story is a very basic question of ethical behavior.

add glasses & a bad haircut...

add glasses & a bad haircut…

I’m not encouraging an e-flaming session regarding rights to privacy, I still think this ball of twine is unraveling. I do think notice has been served to anyone paying attention ~ NO information is truly private. In your personal life, you may have been hacked (I have), trolled, duped, or otherwise harassed online, but there’s also been a criminal (or at the very least negative perception & reaction) to anyone accessing information that doesn’t belong to him or her.

Now, it seems that same behavior is looked at through a different lens ~ individuals like Snowden operate under a self-assumed role of public defender. In the case of Mr. Snowden, he did so as an employee of the people he chose to compromise.

This may be our generation’s new version of revolution; the “99 percent” movement lost steam but showed the power of social media in a coordinated rebellion. With Snowden, you have other “leakers” (including the Godfather of “leakers, Julian Assange) and supporters attempting to raise money for a fugitive by using the same social tools. Think of it; “fund-raisers for fugitives” in the light of day.

Think of this in the context of Human Resources – an employee delivers to you a classified file of information describing some intrusive activities of Senior Management; do you provide safe harbor?


John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); HR Hardball™ is a blunt, self-aware, and sometimes snarky perspective of Human Resources