Excluding global events, in the span of a few short months, we have witnessed:

  • Telecommunications outages that impacted 911 emergency services.
  • Airline interruptions that grounded millions of passengers.
  • Stock market outages that paralyzed investor activity.
  • Personal health information of millions of Canadians falling into the hands of criminals.
  • Financial processing disruptions that disrupted over 300,000 vendors.

And now an entire train network brought to a halt with an eerily similar official explanation, no doubt dumbed-down so that we might have a better chance of grabbing its unique nuances. Allow me to paraphrase: "there is nothing to suggest the outage is related to a cyber attack."

What then is the alternative? Technology failure with no one to blame? Business process interruption without an owner? Information system compromise with zero accountability?

Well, it's certainly not every day that you go to take the train and are greeted with 81 different service interruptions. According to the site: "There is an ongoing CN networkwide system failure that is affecting all of our rail corridors. Most of our GO trains are holding at stations as signals cannot be given to our trains... We continue to recommend considering alternative travel options."

So.. where would you like to go? How about to a place of transparency instead of an echo chamber created by an invariably unprepared crisis/PR team that mistakenly thinks we can only be trusted with one thing: forgetting.

Forgetting that catastrophic mistakes were made? That poor planning led to business continuity interruptions and disaster recovery delays? That poor execution enabled security breaches and serious privacy violations?

Aside from the cliché that "the internet never forgets", public amnesia can simply not happen for one key reason: the simple fact that spectacular negligence, incompetence and apathy continue to cause costly, embarrassing and completely preventable situations. It's too consequential and invariably indelible. And that's just too memorable to be easily forgotten, regardless of the well-financed heroic efforts of marketers and advertisers.