I am not sure if the word "Could" is a helpful word or not.


Yesterday I had a long debate with a security expert about digital footprints, privacy, data, security, value and risk.  I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that "could", when used by the security and privacy profession, is used as a negative word that fuels fear, uncertainty and doubt. If you start from a premise that anything could happen, even in your wildest dreams than a statement that starts with "could" is all to often a specific state or reason why you should not do something.  

Security is surly a balance between usability and lockdown, in much the same way as freedom is a balance between open and frustration.

"Could" raises the possibility of a scenario which is hard to deal with.

"Could" is probable, but doesn't define risk or propensity. 

"Could" is a good consultancy business model if you want to buy every reason why innovation, creativity and invention are bad and ugly

"Could" often is used with the same weight as "should" and "would", but they are not the same.


Should is used to give advice and make recommendations and to talk about obligation, duty and what is expected to happen. Reference is to the present and the future. Should is similar to must but is not as strong as must

Would is used to talk about an unreal or unlikely situation that might arise now or in the future

Could can be used to ask for permission, to make a request and express ability in the past.