Monday, September 14, 2020

One CSE, known and trusted by declining numbers of people

Back in July, shortly after CSE released its first annual report, I commented that the agency's new catchphrase, "We are one CSE, known and trusted," seemed more an aspiration than a statement of fact.


On September 4th, CSE quietly dropped the results of its latest public opinion poll, and it turns out the agency is even less known than it was back in 2017, when CSE's first poll determined it was almost entirely unknown.

Trust in CSE has also declined. 

CSE's plan, it seems to me, has been to let the spy side of the agency leach off the goodwill generated by the cybersecurity side while saying as little as possible about what the former 70% of the agency actually does. But that approach may be at risk of backfiring, serving instead to undermine trust in the Cyber Centre by making it look like a sort of stalking horse for the shadowy spies.

My firmly held (and frequently stated) belief is that greater transparency by CSE is the key to helping the agency become both better known and more trusted. 

Unfortunately, despite its substantial PR staff, the agency has become less transparent in recent years, and its annual report — a glorified brochure — was a wasted opportunity.

So my advice to CSE is stop playing the PR games and start doing a better job of living up to your professed commitment to transparency. 

Release of the poll was mandatory, so that act in itself was no great step for transparency. But I do give points to the agency for tweeting it out, which it didn't have to do. 

Tweeting it at 4:01 pm on a Friday though? Maybe there was a good reason for that, but it sure looks like old-school PR bullshit.

Maybe not the best way to get better known and trusted.

Update 15 September 2020: The media takes note:

And CSE weighs in too:

Apropos of nothing, I wonder if there's an emoji for extended bitter laughter followed by sudden bursting into tears...


Post a Comment

<< Home