As I said in my previous blog article, there is a decline of quality worldwide. But I didn’t expect to provide an example so soon. As you probably know, there was recently a quarrel between the European Union and AstraZeneca regarding the contract for providing the Covid-19 vaccine. Parts of the contract were intended to remain secret, but the EU has chosen to provide publicly the contract while hiding the secret paragraphs. However, this was done so poorly that journalists from a German newspaper (Der Spiegel) have managed to read parts of what was thought to be removed, as you can read in the screenshot I added above. I provide a link to a German article where some aspects are explained. You can use Google Translate (or other translation service) if you need the English version:
Of course, this is embarrassing, so the news has vanished, conveniently, from the frontpage of many news services, and some English-speaking services didn’t even say a word about it.
I have some key points here to highlight:
1. It would be better to hire competent people, especially when dealing with sensitive information. The contract could have been secured in an easier way by printing it on paper and then scanning the paper back into a pdf format. Simple and basic. But you need brains for that.
2. The more languages you can speak, better informed you are, because you can read several points of view coming from different backgrounds. In turbulent times like the ones we’re living, this is a superpower which I recommend to others, especially to people younger than me. It helps, because by reading in several languages it is harder for you to be misinformed and then misled.
3. Hiding embarrassing mistakes is neither brave, not intelligent. There should be consequences because what has been lost here is trust. How can I trust someone incompetent? How can I do business with a careless partner who can reveal private information? Trust is important in human relationships, be it partnerships (the fidelity of a lover), life-saving surgery (the skill of a doctor) or businesses where a lot of money is involved.