Never tempt the privacy gods

British TV host and newspaper columnist Jeremy Clarkson got caught flying a little too close to the sun after publishing his bank account number in an attempt to prove the outrage over the privacy breach of 25 million revenue and customs IDs last November was “a fuss about nothing.” But after finding a £500 withdrawal from his account to a diabetes charity.

“I was wrong and I have been punished for my mistake,” admitted Clarkson.

The lesson here is in a connected media environment, confronting your audience then tempting them to make you look foolish is a bad play. There are plenty of people with the hacking skills to make a member of the media look foolish if provoked.

The communication win is for Clarkson’s clear apology. As anonymous masses, we love when brash public figures get their comeuppance (read: Conrad Black, Roger Clemens) but we are willing to forgive those who admit their mistakes and apologize.


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