I try to warn people I consult with about public relations and online reputation management to behave and do business as though their conduct could end up on Wikileaks … because it could.
Two great examples highlight how porous the walls of any organization now are as a result of the Internet and social media:
Apple iPhone 5 / iPad 2 Design Leaks
There are so many ways information can find its way through the walls that organizations work hard to keep impenetrable. This photo of the iPhone 5 faceplate went public after it was published on the website iDealsChina after it was apparently leaked from a manufacturer of the component.
Similar revelations were disclosed by another Chinese source for Apple’s proposed iPad 2.
Elsewhere many other details (including specifications) have gone public, and who can forget Apple having police break the door of Gizmodo employee Jason Chen’s residence to retrieve a prototype of the 4G iPhone after it was inadvertently left at a bar by an employee.
Smear Campaign Against Gary Dell’Abate of the Howard Stern Show
Listeners to the Howard Stern Show are likely aware that Producer Gary “Baba Booey” Dell’Abate is currently embroiled in a conflict over his appointment to a local advisory role for his local Greenwich, Connecticut Board of Parks and Recreation Board. His employer has become a point of criticism for one of the members of the Appointment Committee, who has resorted to increasingly bizarre tactics (like carrying around a bag of feces ostensibly left on her porch by an apparent Stern Show fan).
Local newspaper the Stamford Advocate received an email from someone calling himself “Michael Obrien” who lobbed a number of libelous accusations at Dell’Abate, including that he hired prostitutes for the show. In spite of being unable to verify Obrien’s identity, the newspaper printed the accusations. Now they’ve retracted the original version of the story and republished a new version sanitized of the defamatory content. The problem for the Stamford Advocate is that Google’s cache has preserved the original version, so you can view it in its libel-filled entirety here.
Even if the article hadn’t been cached by Google, anyone subscribed to the Stamford Advocate’s RSS feed would have an intact copy of the original article saved in their feed reader.
It gets worse for the Greenwich Town Government: according to Dell’Abate, a tech-savvy listener was able to track the email account (which was created 20 minutes before the email was sent) back to its original IP address which originated from the Greenwich Town Government offices.
That means an employee of the Township is behind the smear, and the “Howard 100 News” team is likely going to root out more details that won’t play well for the local government entity. It should be easy to track the email back to the node on the Township’s network and identify the employee workstation from which it was sent (information that can be obtained via a Freedom of Information Act by the Stern Show’s news team).