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Models for Managing Secrets


  • J. Michael Steele

    (Program in Statistics and Operations Research, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544)


Some elementary probability models are given that help articulate the trade-offs involved in managing secrets. One of these models captures the notion that the likelihood of disclosing a secret increases as the square of the number of people who are aware of it. Also, several classes of countermeasures are examined to determine their ability to increase the time window during which a secret can be held. One model suggests that disinformation countermeasures offer a promising technique for conserving secrets.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Michael Steele, 1989. "Models for Managing Secrets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(2), pages 240-248, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:35:y:1989:i:2:p:240-248

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    Cited by:

    1. Kaplan, Edward H., 2013. "Staffing models for covert counterterrorism agencies," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 2-8.
    2. Akbas, Ferhat & Meschke, Felix & Wintoki, M. Babajide, 2016. "Director networks and informed traders," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-23.
    3. Harwood, Ian A. & Turnock, Stephen R. & Ashleigh, Melanie J., 2014. "When bubbles burst: Mimetic insights into minimising confidentiality breaches," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 84-90.
    4. Bos, Brenda & Broekhuizen, Thijs L.J. & de Faria, Pedro, 2015. "A dynamic view on secrecy management," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2619-2627.
    5. Jonathan Feinstein & Edward Kaplan, 2011. "Counterterror intelligence operations and terror attacks," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 281-295, December.


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