The political dimension of negligent neglect

The world of work and organizational environments have been transformed in the last half century. A number of corporate and institutional policies, as well as the division of human resources and occupational health-safety have been implemented and instituted during that time. Today, we have virtually unlimited amounts of information and resources that enable us to fulfill our contractual obligations and fiduciary duties as salaried workers and professionals. In my opinion, one of the main problems of any complex organization, regardless of the sector —public, private, non-profit— is the management of information and documents. There is no organization that is not lacerated by communication slips, or reprehensible handling of documentation; this applies to the organizational entity in general as well as to the individuals that compose it. It is especially critical of organizations and private figures that represent public power.

Let’s take a moment as an example. We have been able to verify in the last five years the mistakes of private entities —social media such as Twitter and Facebook—, as well as biopharmaceuticals such as AstraZeneca, which have been negligent in handling their internal documentation and that which they handle for the public and entities. regulators. In the case of the first firm, the social network Twitter, the culture of laxity and laziness imposed by its new owner, Elon Musk, had the unfortunate result of not only allowing especially toxic elements of political extremes to return to the platform, but Instead, large companies will pull their advertising—Twitter’s optimal way to generate revenue—from the forum. The particularity of all that painful experience was manifested —among documents, journalistic reviews and the social network’s own ‘feed’— in a very public way.

Before Twitter, Facebook—at this juncture, arguably the most widely used social media globally—also faced accusations of poorly handling viciously incorrect and deliberately false information, while also violating the privacy of its users—through a third party entity. that collected their data, Cambridge Analytica—by negligently exposing them to such misinformation ahead of the 2016 United States general election. The complaint generated by an informant could be verified through documents provided —emails, particularly— that revealed in great detail the disdain of the company that privileged profit over the cybernetic security of its users. Today, Facebook faces doubts about its reliability, as its former prosperity fades and its leader, Mark Zuckerberg, prefers to gamble and take refuge in the Metaverse.

I discussed the AstraZeneca case in this space about two years ago. Suffice it to emphasize that even today, thanks to the mishandling of its documentation, it is the only vaccine against covid-19 manufactured in the West, which is not allowed to be used and administered in the United States. These blunders have a significant impact on public opinion and attitudes. We all pay the price for the entities we empower and empower, even in the private sector.

This curse is tripled when it comes to public power. The unique responsibility that we attribute to the state, as an entity that seeks and maintains the “common good”, implies that its actions in the entire space in which we —individuals, groups, communities, entities— socially interact and get involved in productive activity, it affects us. This includes the production, distribution and safeguarding of the documentation issued by the public entity, especially that pertaining to security and state secrets.

In the case of the United States, the confusion comes precisely from the revelation by the media that the office of now President Joseph Biden also mishandled sensitive documents. It already seems a disturbingly inevitable pattern among the US political class: the casual—carelessly negligent—handling of government documentation, especially those classified as confidential or state secrets. First with Hillary Clinton, then Donald Trump and now Biden, it becomes clear that public and elected officials commit bad habits that undoubtedly violate the national security of the United States.

Surely the president’s adversaries will put on the appropriate show, even though they are equally devoid of any moral authority. Thus, the vice of humiliating the opponent will end up taking attention away from what is essential: that three prominent figures of the political class, in ministerial functions, were criminally negligent with sensitive state documents, and that they opened the door for enemies to of the United States to access the knowledge and capabilities—but also the limits and vulnerabilities—of the superpower.

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The political dimension of negligent neglect