The revelations produced by WikiLeaks will remain a big issue in the coming years, not only for governments, diplomats and journalists, but especially for corporations.
Julian Assange, the controversial chief of WikiLeaks, has long suggested he possesses potentially embarrassing information about the activities of a major U.S. bank. Rumors abound that Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) is the target.
Although, the troubled bank’s shares have climbed about 18 percent since the rumors began, the company is likely in a bunker/crisis management mode, establishing a strategy to minimize or at least mitigate any damaging information that might be released.
Speaking on YahooFinance’s Tech Ticker, Sydney Finkelstein, professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, said that the ongoing WikiLeaks will likely change the way corporations do business, especially with regard to how they transmit internal documents and sensitive information.
One victim of this new policy might be e-mail.
As Finkelstein points out, teenagers and young people have already become bored with e-mail, opting instead for the quicker thrills of text-messages and instant messenger.
Companies may also decide to dump e-mail, but for somewhat different reasons.
"People say things in emails -- still, even in 2010 -- say things that you know you really shouldn't say," Finkelstein said. "You're very blunt and you're not careful, you're not guarded."
Regardless, Bank of America is probably facing a public relations disaster – if the claims are as damaging as Assange as hinted, there would seem to be little that the company can do at this point.
However, other corporations, fearing a similar unpleasant scenario in the future, may opt to dispose of things like e-mail that can leave an electronic “paper trail.”
The ease with which WikiLeaks has gained such an enormous amount of sensitive information is also a concern.
"What Julian Assange did, technologically, is not that complicated," Finkelstein noted.. "Everyone's got to be concerned about that right now."