The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Secrecy is the condition of hiding information from others. That which is kept hidden is known as the secret.

One may have to lie in order to hold a secret, which might lead to psychological repercussions.

The alternative, when asked about something, declining to answer, may suggest the answer and may therefore not always be suitable to keep the secret. Also the other may insist that one answers the question. See also Don't ask, don't tell.

Many people claim that, at least in some situations, it is better for everyone if everyone knows all the facts -- there should be no secrets. Secrecy should not be confused with security. See Full disclosure, Kerckhoffs' law, Security through obscurity.

Topics for an article on secrecy

  • Animals, including humans (in some cases), generally endeavor to conceal the location of their den or nest from predators. In practice, finding a human is often not difficult, especially with the aid of telephone directories, private eyes, etc.
  • Humans attempt to consciously conceal aspects of themselves from others, due to, for example, shame or fear of rejection, loss of acceptance, loss of employment, or other negative repurcussion.
  • Humans attempt to conceal aspects of their own self which they are not capable of incorporating psychologically into their conscious being.
  • Families maintain "family secrets", a mutually agreed-upon construct (an official family story) to never discuss disagreeable issues concerning the family, either within the family or with those outside the family. Agreement to maintain the secret is often coerced through the use of such tactics as "shaming" and reference to family honour. On occasion, the information may not be disagreeable as such, but may rather be e.g. a recipe
  • Governments and corporations often attempt to conceal information about their operations from other governments or corporations.
  • Preservation of secrets is one of the goals of information security.
  • Secret keys are essential in most cryptography, which in turn has as its goal the hiding of secrets.
  • Information hiding is a design principle in much software engineering.
  • Keeping one's strategy secret is important in many aspects of game theory
  • Secret societies keep their activities secret.

See also


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