In the modern history of business, few names are as synonymous with corruption, deceit and greed as Enron. For years, the Texas-based energy giant engaged in rampant, systematic accounting fraud, covering up massive losses through shady, illegal business practices. After years of abnormally high stock prices, the massive fraud of Enron was uncovered in 2001. Following these revelations, on December 2, 2001, Enron filed for bankruptcy. It was a swift downfall for a formerly massive energy corporation. However, many executives and insiders were aware of Enron’s deceptive accounting practices before the public knew, and took decisive (and illegal) action.
In mid-2001, Enron announced a massive USD $638 million loss in its third quarter, shocking investors. Following this report, accountants at Arthur Andersen, Enron’s auditor, began shredding documents related to the fraud. Andersen did this to hide Enron’s documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, revelations of this illegal shredding came out quickly, and Arthur Andersen, the company itself, was convicted of obstruction of justice. And because the SEC did not allow felons to hold Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licenses, this ruling effectively put Arthur Andersen out of business, costing 85,000 innocent employees their jobs.
Arthur Andersen’s illegal paper shredding was one of the most infamous aspects of the Enron scandal, highlighting how far the auditing agency went to protect its client. Unfortunately, this illegal act caused tens of thousands of innocent employees who knew nothing about Enron’s blatant fraud to lose their jobs. However, there’s more to the story than just deception and fraud. Enron and Arthur Andersen’s actions highlight just how important ethics are when handling clients’ documents.
AXEL’s Layers of Protection
Here’s the thing: Protecting your clients and their privacy isn’t an inherently bad thing. After all, that’s exactly what a business should do for its customers. Arthur Andersen, unfortunately, just went way too far, breaking laws and ethics to protect its client. A business ought to do everything in its power to protect its client, while also upholding the law and ethics. And that’s exactly what AXEL does. In fact, AXEL even “shreds” documents too, but we do it to protect you from cybercriminals, not the feds.
Whenever you use AXEL’s network, your documents are split up into digital shards and sent to dozens of different servers across the world. This shredding technique keeps your files safe because even if a hacker compromises a single server, they don’t have access to the full file. This means your file remains whole for you, but separate and illegible for any potential cybercriminals. It’s a vital part of AXEL’s decentralized technology, giving users another layer of protection against cybercrime.
Privacy isn’t the Problem
When Arthur Andersen shredded Enron’s documents, that was an explicitly illegal and unethical act. The accounting firm knew that Enron’s numbers were fudged, and were trying to cover their tracks, as well as Enron’s. However, the problem with Arthur Andersen isn’t what they did. It’s why they did it. Doing everything to keep your client’s files private is perfectly ethical. Doing everything to keep your client’s files private because you know they committed illegal acts is absolutely unethical. So what can we learn from Enron and Arthur Andersen’s actions? Well, if you commit illegal acts, you’re probably going to get caught. But more importantly, there’s nothing wrong with desiring privacy.
For years, anti-privacy activists and lawmakers have repeated a slogan: “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” This Orwellian saying has especially gained popularity in today’s era of mass surveillance, where nearly everything we do is being recorded in some form. Taking a walk outside? There will be cameras to keep an eye on you on street corners. Staying in to go online shopping? Your computer will remember every single search and click. With surveillance taking place inside and outside our homes, it’s easy to forget how much we’re being tracked by governments, businesses and advertisers. With the sheer amount of surveillance occurring in our everyday lives, who can blame anyone who is searching for more privacy?
However, just because this surveillance is happening doesn’t mean it has to stay this way. At AXEL, we believe privacy is a human right. That’s why all of our products and technologies are made with one focus in mind: Privacy. Nearly every popular online space is controlled by a few megacorporations that have shown time and again that they don’t care about privacy. They collect data about you, track you, and know every detail about your life. However, this bleak reality doesn’t have to be our future as well. A better, more private digital future is possible. And AXEL is leading that charge.
Keep Your Clients Safe (Legally)
Whether it’s a small business, massive corporation or mid-sized law firm, it’s their responsibility to protect their clients. Of course, that responsibility ends once a client asks you to break the law like Enron, but a business or firm ought to do everything to protect its customers. And in today’s digital age, protecting customers means protecting them online as well. From ransomware to data leaks, there are a variety of digital threats that are ever-present. Clients and customers don’t only give money to a business; they give them their trust as well. It’s up to businesses and firms to uphold that trust by recognizing digital threats and taking appropriate precautions.
One way to take action is to use AXEL Go, the innovative, secure file-sharing software. AXEL Go uses 256-bit encryption, blockchain technology and decentralized servers to ensure it’s the best file sharing storage software on the market. Whether you need cloud video storage or cloud file management, AXEL Go is the secure file hosting solution. There are a variety of cloud storage options available to businesses and individuals, but none can match the security and simplicity of AXEL Go. If you’re ready to take back your data security, get two free weeks of AXEL Go here.
 Bondarenko, Peter. “Enron Scandal: Downfall and Bankruptcy.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., November 30, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/event/Enron-scandal/Downfall-and-bankruptcy
 Dowell, Steve. “The Decline and Fall of Arthur Andersen.” ToughNickel. ToughNickel, February 24, 2015. https://toughnickel.com/industries/The-Decline-and-Fall-of-Arthur-Andersen