Confidentiality has to do with trust and doctrine of non-disclosure, keeping secret data and information privately entrusted to us. Life is precious as well as complex. Nobody wants to be an open book to be read by all, or to expose his life to all, for security reasons. Hence, there must be information or data to be kept to oneself or shared with only trusted friends. Certain relationships can only function and endure under trust. Medical records require confidentiality. There is need for confidentiality between a doctor and his patients, between banker and customer, between marriage counselor and clients. Experts in the professions and their clients need confidentiality. Husband and wife are not excluded in this matter of confidentiality. Friends need to keep secrets that have been entrusted to them. Jesus, after healing people, would tell them not to make it public. Confidentiality is an attitude of a reformed spirit. Friends have betrayed each other because of lack of confidentiality.
Many marriages have hit rocks because partners have betrayed each other. When trust is eroded in any relationship, everything becomes porous. Porous relationships are full of leakages. The relationship wears away the way women make-up easily wears away unless constantly retouched. Unless anchored on trust, no relationship can long endure. There are certain matters discussed with someone that need not be told to other people. Telling someone about what was told on trust is a betrayal of trust. Many business partners have parted ways because of lack of trust. Confidentiality is ethical. Violation of it is unethical and a grave sin. Those entrusted with official secrets need to maintain confidentiality with other service arms in order to work well and be believable. Sometime ago Facebook was accused of breaching Users’ trust by releasing their confidential data for political purposes.
The owner; Mark Zuckerberg was summoned by the US congress for hours to know his motive behind the leak of Users’ data. This created fear and distrust with Users contemplating to quit if it goes to the extreme. Lack of confidentiality will not promote trust and openness. Subjects suffer because of erosion of confidence in the leaders. A lose tongue is an evidence of lack of spiritual maturity and usually causes much harm. Through gossips or idle talks, confidentiality is threatened. Watch yourself or else you will lose people’s trust. We feel very bad over how the media treat their Leaders by revealing some sad irrelevant personal pasts in the name of the so called investigative journalism. Take a look at Trump’s and Bill Cosby’s scandal. Another instance is the resigned Governor Cuomo of New York City in the United States of America.
Nothing is left in the man anymore by invading their spaces, telling us what we don’t ask for about them. What was discussed behind the curtains was made open! That is the age we are in and they say it is the “Media age” Sometimes this can be a vendetta and prejudice to get back at a man who has made it in life to destroy a great legacy built and crushing personalities to nothingness. This can be sad in an attempt to build a just society. In fact even God does not judge us that way. If he judges us this way, who can survive? There should be a limit to our sense of judgment and reporting personalities. This is pure politics! Confidentiality is like oil that lubricates human relationships. People who break confidentiality have problems of low esteem. They do that to fill the emptiness of their lives and in the end they pay dearly for their actions. When marriage is broken, confidentiality is in danger! Each partner tries to say things that would justify why they left. Any organization or Institution that lacks confidentiality cannot survive. Let’s try to maintain confidentiality every time to earn trust and keep humanity safe.
• Monsignor Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, Author of several books and Social Justice Advocate