More on the Global War on Records Management

The global war on records management over the last two decades has resulted in unimaginable tragedy. Governments and the media are lying to the public with absolute impunity. Trust in our oldest, most sacred institutions is dead. Our most confidential personal information is scattered all over the internet and any notion of privacy is long gone. Billions upon billions of dollars are wasted as information chaos causes massive inefficiencies at every organization across the planet…and innocent men, women, and children are paying with their lives.

To be clear, I am not insensitive to the seriousness of what I am saying. But these are not unsubstantiated claims I am making, hoping to prove a point. These are facts I helped establish earlier in the year when I participated in this newspaper’s months-long investigation of Federal records management practices:    

So what is ARMA – the once-proud association of records management professionals – doing to try to prevent these ongoing tragedies? They are making cat videos.

You read that right, cat videos:

This is appalling. People are dying as the result of the war on records management, and ARMA is making cat videos. How could any serious records management professional not be ashamed by this?

Now, I’ve been accused of picking on ARMA because the association’s past leadership used their industry influence to have me forced out of my job at IBM, resulting in devastating loss to me and my family.  And I must admit, I would be lying if I said I didn’t get some motivation from that. (Who wouldn’t?)

But the truth is ARMA is just a pawn in a game being played by much more powerful forces. These forces want to deny us the accountability, transparency, privacy and information security that traditional records management has provided for thousands of years. And they are using ARMA – and countless other once-respectable institutions – to do it.

Ask yourself this: If you are in a position to fight those organizations who benefit so tremendously from the destruction of records management and yet you do nothing, are you indirectly contributing to these tragedies?

I recognize this is a very difficult question, and almost certainly one you never thought you would have to ask yourself. But history is littered with ordinary, average people who stood by and watched while people with even the smallest amount of power over them committed the most despicable of crimes.

These people are all around us. Soldiers who stand by while their comrades slaughter innocents because they were ‘just following orders’. Politicians who excuse corruption for the ‘benefit of the party’. A software salesperson who continues to sell horribly destructive records management solutions because she ‘needs to make quota’.

Just last summer, a psychotic, racist police officer knelt on a suspect’s throat for nine minutes until he suffocated. Appallingly, three of his fellow officers – all of whom couldn’t possibly be psychotic racists – simply stood around and watched.

So, again, people are dying as a result of the war on records management. If you are in a position to defend our noble profession and the critically important work we do and you choose to do nothing, how are you any less complicit in the tragedies the war on records management brings than the three officers were in the murder of George Floyd?

We’re all human and our time here is very short. Think about your legacy. Are you going to stand by and pretend not to notice as our profession is systematically dismantled by people with the very worst of intentions? Or are you going to stand your ground and fight for our profession and the critically important work we do? It is time to decide…

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