Everyone has secrets. Even a hermit in a cell has secrets, not the least of which is what made him become a hermit. His overt reasons may be plausible, but it is likely that for most persons his overt reasons would not be quite enough to drive them into seclusion.
I don’t believe that anyone can be completely open and still be sane. It may be that a person, while being non-racist in actions and philosophy sometimes has thought that is racially biassed. The person will probably then suppress those thoughts as wrong or unnatural.
Couples often claim to be one hundred percent open with each other, but this is unlikely to be true. One person may have eaten the last chocolate, and remains strategically silent when the other partner remarks that they thought that there was one more left.
One partner may prefer Indian cuisine but may silently go along with the other partners desire for Thai or Japanese if he or she has no strong feelings about the matter on a particular occasion. Over time however partners will know one another’s preferences and a compromise will be reached.
Families may have secrets – the skeletons in the cupboards. Very often the emergence of such secrets may be disturbing or traumatic and may shake the family to the core. The secret may be something that the family knows but which is get from outsiders, or one or two family members may keep from the rest : “Well, Aunty P and Uncle Q were never formally married, you know.”
Firms often have secrets. A firm may fail, and few people outside the firm may have seen it coming. Either the firm purposefully has been optimistic in its accounts and its presentation to the outside world, or the accounts may have been in a mess and the warning signs missed both internally and externally.
Firms have other secrets, such as the exact processes that are used to produce their product. Such secrets are believed by the firm to give them an advantage over their competitors, so they do all that they can to prevent the competitors from learning their secrets.
Often a firm will keep a yet to be launched product a secret, again so that competitors can’t steal the ideas. This has led to big launches and product announcements that are covered by the media, often for products which are not significantly different from previous products already released.
Of course, one firm will know that another firm has secrets, and so firms will spy on one another, there will be leaks of information, and all sorts of skullduggery will ensue!
There will be political secrets too, and a great deal of energy is put into uncovering such secrets and exposing them for political gain. The media are always searching for political secrets, simply to sell more publications.
World wide governments spy on each other. While this information can be used to find out if another government has hostile intentions, it can also be used to assess the threat that the other government poses.
An example of this was spying on Iraq gave the United State government an excuse to invade Iraq, because spying had been said to have revealed that “Weapons of Mass Destruction” had been developed in Iraq. This turned out to be untrue, and whether or not spying had really erroneously indicated that such weapons had been developed has been a topic of debate ever since.
Governments routinely spy on their own citizens too. If a government suspects that certain of its citizens are secretly planning revolt they may keep a close watch on them. Also, governments may take an interest in someone if they are suspected of planning to commit a crime. In many cities around the world it is almost impossible to walk down the street without passing a number of surveillance cameras.
Indeed such surveillance cameras are common these days. People have been accustomed to seeing them on the roads and in shops, and most are accepting of them. The argument is that if you have no secret to hide, then the cameras are not a concern, and people believe that if there is a camera, then this will frequently deter people from misbehaving.
This is more or less true, though there are enough videos on YouTube of idiots doing silly things in front of security cameras. Those people don’t have any secrets from them!
Sometimes secrets are good. You would not set a password and then tell everyone about it, of course, and your password keeps your stuff secret from any possible attackers. Before the rise of Internet banking things were kept secret by locking them up in a box or safe. These days your password might be what is kept in the safe!
Cryptography is looked after by Alice and Bob and friends. These characters, invented by cryptographers, are forever exchanging secret messages, which are usually something like “This is Alice”. They use various cryptographical messages means to keep their secret information secret, usually using things like “private keys” and “public keys”.
Cryptography has arisen as a result of the Internet’s total lack of security or secrecy. When the Internet was built no one could have predicted the need for security. After all, it was only a tiny network connecting a few research and educational institutions and joining it was by invitation. Everyone knew everyone else.
Pretty soon, though, the Internet grew too large for everyone to know everyone else and security was needed. At first login accounts were all that way necessary, but soon that was insufficient. Black Hat hackers joined the Internet, and they were interested in breaking into your account to read your emails to your girlfriend, your mother, or your cannabis dealer.
Password requirements got stricter and stricter as the Black Hats got cleverer and cleverer at breaking password security but people still use passwords like “password” and “12345”. There are now so many people connected to the Internet that there is a certain safety in numbers. Just like birds flock together so that an individual’s chances of becoming prey are small, so an individual’s private information is probably safe, unless by chance, they are the one in the millions who is picked on by the Black Hatter.