The Washington Post Rule – Digital data is forever

Never email, post, or share ANYTHING that you wouldn’t mind being published in “The Washington Post”.

Today, this may include phone messages… and anything that exists or could exist in digital format.

I had my first email account in the late 1980s… maybe 1986? when I worked for the National Security Agency.

We had a funky, proprietary email system that we used on early PCs called COMET?

…we’re talking monochome monitors with text only – no graphics. Probably MSDOS.

… the text editor was so limited, you could only edit on the current screen, so if your email went longer than one screen, you couldn’t edit the earlier screen.

… it was GREAT. New technology.

But, someone, I don’t know who, pounded “The Washington Post” rule into my head – right from the beginning.

(NSA is in Maryland just up the freeway from DC, so The Washington Post was the Bogeyman of public exposure for “the super-secret National Security Agency”.)

It is a great rule for avoiding trouble.

… and even more true today than it was back then.

Digital data is forever.

    Steven Davis