Head of the Bored

13 April 2015

Rory Cullinan’s decision to resign as head of investments at RBS is an important reminder that actions on social media, even those directed towards family members, can inadvertently prove the making of a tabloid story.

Mr. Cullinan’s decision to resign came just weeks after the Sun newspaper exposed seemingly private messages the banker had sent to his daughter, via Snapchat, complaining of being bored at work.

Apparently unaware of the reputational damage that selfies of a senior bank executive - taken during a board meeting - accompanied by captions such as “Not a fan of board meetings xx”, “Boring meeting xx” and “Another friggin meeting” could cause, Mr. Cullinan’s daughter decided to share them via her Instagram account with the title “Happy Father's Day to the indisputable king of snapchat #daddylikestoselfie".

While RBS did not provide a reason for Cullian’s resignation, the Sun’s revelation again highlights the inadvertent impact that social media can have on reputation and privacy.

As this incident demonstrates; despite being a private conversation between father and daughter, Mr. Cullinan is just the latest casualty to fall foul of social media. Ultimately, this was a hard-working man who discovered a way of maintaining greater contact with his daughter. But by not being in adequate control of his online footprint, and the way in which his data may be shared, a private conversation ended up making its way into a national newspaper.

When sharing information via social media, equate it to any other personal data such as bank details and privately sensitive information. Consider the trustworthiness of the person or organisation to whom you are sending the information and if in doubt, don’t send it. Because when it comes to privacy, nothing is out of scope.

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About the Authors

Georgia Lacey

Consultant, Intelligence

Employing the techniques of an investigative journalist, Georgia utilises sophisticated open source research methods and digital forensics to assist clients with online privacy issues.

646 934 6219


Matthew Newton

SCR Consultant

Matthew is an experienced intelligence professional who provides investigative research services to help clients identify and manage reputation and privacy risks.

646 934 6219
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