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Secrecy (also called clandestinity or furtiveness) is the practice of hiding information from certain individuals or groups, perhaps while sharing it with other individuals. That which is kept hidden is known as the secret.

Secrecy is often controversial, depending on the content of the secret, the group or people keeping the secret, and the motivation for secrecy. Secrecy by government entities is often decried as excessive or in promotion of poor operation; excessive revelation of information on individuals can conflict with virtues of privacy and confidentiality.


Secrecy in sociology and zoology

Animals conceal the location of their den or nest from predators. Squirrels bury nuts, hiding them, and they try to remember their locations later.

Humans attempt to consciously conceal aspects of themselves from others due to shame, or from fear of violence, rejection, harassment, loss of acceptance, or loss of employment. On a deeper level, humans attempt to conceal aspects of their own self which they are not capable of incorporating psychologically into their conscious being. Families sometimes maintain "family secrets", obliging family members never discuss disagreeable issues concerning the family, either with those outside the family and sometimes even within the family. Many "family secrets" are maintained by using a mutually agreed-upon construct (an official family story) when speaking with outside members. Agreement to maintain the secret is often coerced through "shaming" and reference to family honor. The information may even be something as trivial as a recipe.

Keeping one's strategy secret is important in many aspects of game theory.

Secret sharing (anthropology)

In anthropology secret sharing is one way for men to establish traditional relations with other men.[citation needed] A commonly used[citation needed] academic narrative that describes this kind of behavior is Joseph Conrad's short story "The Secret Sharer".

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