Wednesday, October 06, 2004

'Bout Time 

This story is interesting -- not because it's about PR. It isn't. It is about a lack of security in the nation's control systems for utilities and manufacturing. What is interesting is that four years ago a former client told me exactly the same thing. He raised a warning and told me to talk to the head of systems at SoCal Edison in Los Angeles. Sure enough, the warning was confirmed. But we had no proof. And we had no great interest either on the part of the media. Homeland security was not such a big concern at the time.

Four years later, it is a story. Has anything changed in that time? Well, there is proof of hacking in utility systems, and there are viruses. But the vulnerabilities existed four years ago as they do today.

Every story seems to have its time, and this not the first occasion in my career that I couldn't get reporters to pay attention to a good and urgent story. It has happened time and again. Journalists are no different than anyone else. They read the same news sources, and they watch the same electronic media. It is difficult to get them to see a step ahead, especially when there is no study or factual source to point to.

I'm glad the story is out at last, but I am unhappy that my client did not get to break it. That's PR for you.


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