Sunday, August 26, 2007

Standing Firm offers a primer on document and computer security

Last week major two documents of the Anglican Dissident Network fell into enemy hands.

The first, "Agonizing Journey," was a public document attributed to Archbishop Akinola. The text of this document was originally made public on the Church of Nigeria website, obstensibly as a letter to Akinola's bishops. It was, however, clearly meant for wider distribution. What fell into enemy hands was the electronic version of the document in a format that allowed the Church Times to track changes and draw the plausible conclusion that much of the document was written by Martyn Minns. Both Standing Firm and Titus 1:9 played this discovery as much ado about nothing.

The second was the draft of a document left on a public computer at Camp Allen during the recent meeting there of Windsor bishops. The letter was addressed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, giving him the Windsor bishops' opinion of how he should handle his meeting with the House of Bishops in late September. The letter was designed to "manipulate" him if you will. (The public stance after the meeting was rather more humble.)

In a post at Stand Firm, Greg Griffith has now (1) given credence to the provenance of this second letter and (2) undercuts his own assertion that the authorship of "Agonizing Journey" is of no consequence. The post, "A Computer, Data and Communications Security Primer," contains this (... in the original):
Harris doesn't identify the bishop. Who wrote a letter on a publicly-available computer at Camp Allen.

And didn't save it.

Didn't delete it.

Just left it there.

For anyone to see.

Pardon me for a moment while I scream.


OK, there. All better now.

No, wait. One more scream.



OK, really better now.

This is perhaps the most boneheaded move I've read about in months. I don't know who the bishop was, although it's a good bet I know him, respect him, and am personally fond of him.

Still... what in the world were you thinking, bishop???

This falls completely outside the realm of not knowing about email headers, or document headers, or even the "track changes" feature. It falls squarely into the category of leaving your open briefcase full of private correspondence, or a large stack of cash, on a table and walking off. Unless the bishop left the letter on the computer as part of a cunningly devised scheme the genius of which I've simply been unable to discern, this should go down in the annals of bonehead history.
Lisa Fox shares similar thoughts to mine.

No comments: