[[quoteright:203:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/3674715600_57a4e914e4_m_7409.jpg]] [[caption-width-right:203:[[SarcasmMode Top. Secret.]] [[note]][[AluminumChristmasTrees This is a real sign.]] See Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker in the real life examples.[[/note]]]]

->'''Suzuha:''' You're called the Future Gadget Laboratory, right?\\
'''Okabe:''' H--how do you know!? I don't remember telling you. Don't tell me, are you an Organization spy--!?\\
'''Suzuha:''' …it was written on your mailbox.
-->-- ''[[VisualNovel/SteinsGate Steins;Gate]]''

This trope is when a particular piece of information is officially declared to be secret… but it is widely known by everyone ''anyway''. The characters might as well not even attempt TheMasquerade, because all the civilians around them know who they are and what they are up to. And that super-secret bit of gossip that no one can ever know? Hate to tell you this, but ''everyone knows it already''. But at the core of the trope, is the fact that even though everyone is fully aware everyone else knows about the secret, it will still be treated like a secret; no one will ever openly admit to knowing it, and it is a common understanding that it should remain unspoken. Sometimes the occasional knowingly wink and nod will be shared, at most vague allusions or euphemisms might be used, but any and all open discussion and acknowledgement of the secret is completely out of the question. To do so will be viewed a mild faux pas at best, and an outright cardinal sin at worst. As a result, the NaiveNewcomer or the FishOutOfWater will often mistake it for an actual secret, as they don't know that most people already know.

OvertOperative is a SubTrope. Related to NotCheatingUnlessYouGetCaught. Compare EverybodyKnewAlready, where the someone genuinely believe their "secret" is actually secret right up until they tell everyone.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Acca13TerritoryInspectionDept'', as of episode 7, the fact that [[spoiler: Jean is of royal blood]] was so secret even he didn't know it. When the characters discuss this, they talk in hushed voices and try not to let it get out. Yet, by episode 10, everyone seems to know, including the Acca employee who meets Jean when he comes to audit that incredibly secluded desert district.
* ''Manga/{{Aruosumente}}'':
** The more the story progresses, the more it looks like ''everyone'' knows what happened ten years ago -- except Legna, whom everyone does their utmost best to keep in the dark. Some assume he also knows already, but the Senate especially are hell bent on keeping the truth from him.
** The fact that His Majesty often comes to the laboratory to enjoy himself while inventing or just talking to Jasmin or Lante seems to be an open secret everyone keeps from Legna as Legna has a reputation as a joy killer.
* In ''Manga/ToLoveRu'', the fact that Lala is an alien is treated like this for quite a while, as everyone either already knows, or doesn't care when they find out.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' a law exists that forbids anyone revealing that the titular character is the vessel of the Nine-Tailed Fox. While this means that Naruto's generation and those younger are ignorant of the Nine-Tails, every person able to remember the attack knows about it. The secret becomes even more open in ''Shippuden'' where several members of Naruto's generation openly discuss the matter. As of the [[spoiler: Fourth Ninja World War]] it is officially not a secret anymore. [[spoiler: Part of the coalition's main objectives is to protect Naruto (and Killer Bee)]].
* In ''Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam'', Quattro's real identity as Char. Not only would the audience not be fooled (the same character design, the visible scar, the same voice actor) but the fact that he flies around in a custom red Rick Dias shows that he isn't exactly keeping a low profile. It even gets lampshaded when he officially reveals his identity…
-->'''[[DeadpanSnarker Kamille]]''': Hmph. Some '''secret'''…
* ''LightNovel/AiNoKusabi'' has the fact that [[TheBeautifulElite Iason Mink]], the highest official of Tanagura, is sleeping with his slum mongrel [[SexSlave Pet]] Riki is supposed to be a secret. Iason even admits everyone knows because of his brazen special treatment of Riki.
* [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Okabe Rintarou]] of ''[[VisualNovel/SteinsGate Steins;Gate]]'' is very insistent on keeping his time-traveling experiments under wraps lest "the Organization" discover find him out. This would be much easier if he didn't have a tendency to go on loud MadScientist rants about conquering time in his thin-walled "laboratory", [[spoiler:or if SERN hadn't found him out the moment he sent the very first D-mail]].
* The use of Nen in ''Manga/HunterXHunter'', the setting's effective magic system, is supposedly a secret known only to people who belongs to circles that are in on it and seem to be subtly taught to hunters once they pass the Hunter Exams. However, it is also openly publicized in an arena tower that not only seems to televise the fights between powerful Nen users, also have commentators explaining what the contestants are doing in the Arena with their Nen… to a large public. It gets to a point that the only main character that should realistically be ignorant about Nen is Gon, for growing up in an isolated and morose island in the middle of nowhere. Killua should know about Nen just by osmosis from his heavy Nen practicing family of world-famous assassins, Kurapika's deceased clan is implied to be formed of powerful Nen users as well (otherwise they wouldn't register on Nobunaga's memory. Even Uvo eventually remembers the clan and its powerful members) and Leorio's general world and history knowledge should make him aware of it as well (even if just by passing knowledge about the Celestial Arena).
* The fact that Akina's an otaku is an open secret among her classmates in ''[[Manga/ShinozakisanKiWoOtaShikaNi Don't Become an Otaku, Shinozaki-san!]]''. She thinks she keeps it hidden but everyone in her class is well aware, as shown when several girls try to awkwardly strike up a conversation with her but back off because they aren't sure how to talk to an otaku. Akina's old middle school GirlPosse are also quick to realize that she has a major crush on Kaede, another thing Akina thinks she's hidden.
* ''{{Anime/Metropolis}}'': Everybody knows that Rock is Duke Red's [[TheDragon Dragon]], even though there are no official links between the two. Pero even name-drops this trope when discussing it.
* In ''Manga/UQHolder'', Kuromaru does his best to hide the fact that he has NoBiologicalSex, but he doesn't exactly do a good job of hiding it. Furthermore, it's implied that the fact is listed in his UQ Holder file and isn't that difficult to access. Basically the only person who isn't aware of the fact is Touta.
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'': As revealed in ''AudioPlay/StrikersSoundStageX'' when Runessa tried to access certain information, most of the details behind the [[Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers Jail Scaglietti incident]] are a military secret, including the fact that Vivio is the [[CloneJesus clone of the last Sankt Kaiser]]. Or at least, it would be, if not for the fact that Vivio's a friendly CheerfulChild, and the fact that said revelation is important to a lot of powerful groups. This meant that most of the ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid'' cast knows of Vivio's unique situation, which includes Vivio's civilian friends, all the members of the [[SaintlyChurch Saint Church]], and practically every major competitor in the Inter-Middle that we know of. It isn't until ''Anime/VividStrike'' that we get an idea of how little information about Vivio is available to the general public, as an attempt by [[OpposingSportsTeam Rinne's gym]] to research her brought back nothing about her Sankt Kaiser heritage.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In his own book, ''{{Wolverine}}'', Patch was actively concealing the fact that he was, in fact, the titular superhero while he was operating in "deep cover" in Madripoor. Of course, all of his contacts knew he was Wolverine, though they chose not to reveal this. They figured it was best not to delve too deeply into the private affairs of a walking blender.
** Not to mention the fact that the "Patch" persona adopted by Wolverine is SUCH a good disguise that apparently all Wolverine needs for this is, you guessed it, an eye patch. Clearly NO ONE (I'm looking at you, Superman) can figure out his identity, save pretty much everyone.
* When the Human Torch of the ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'', a character whom the in-universe public knows as Johnny Storm, got his own ongoing feature in ''Strange Tales'' starting in issue #101, he maintained a secret identity in his home town of Glenville--the inhabitants of which knew his sister Sue was the Invisible Girl, but ostensibly don't know who the Torch was (the four schoolmates who do know who he is are now out-of-town graduates who were sworn to secrecy). #106 had him discover that everyone knew who he really is after all, they just respected his privacy.
* One story in ''ComicBook/AstroCity'' centered partly around a country superhero called Roustabout. It was blatantly obvious that he was one of the guys working for a traveling fair, and everybody in town knew it, but acted as if it was a complete mystery. They do this because Roustabout is technically a fugitive (he got his powers trespassing on the secret research lab of an evil corporation, and they offered a reward for his arrest) and they like and respect him too much to turn him in.
** The viewpoint character of the story, a city girl staying with her aunt, considers turning him in, but then realizes something else about him: given that everyone in town knows who he is and haven't done so, what would they do to someone who ''did'' try to turn him in?
* ''Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}'':
** In Creator/BrianMichaelBendis' 2001 run, Matt Murdock's SecretIdentity was outed. Although the accusation was "officially" fought back, since then ''everyone'' knows or at least heavily suspects Matt Murdock is Daredevil, so much so that he had to cease practicing law himself for a time due to the fodder it supplied the opposing counsel.
** In Creator/MarkWaid's 2011 run, Matt's SecretIdentity is still out. But instead of angsting about it, Matt waves off people saying he's Daredevil with a half-hearted "I'm not Daredevil" that nobody buys. He still can't represent anyone, so Matt gives legal counsel to people so they can represent themselves.
* Spidey's SecretIdentity becomes this around Peter Parker's group of friends in ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan''.
-->'''Kenny "Kong" [=McFarlane=]:''' What do you want me to say? Should we have a code? Should I just throw up my hands and say 'Oh, if only Spider-Man were here…'!?

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''[[FanFic/SovereignGFCOrigins Origins]]'', a ''MassEffect''[=/=]''StarWars''[[spoiler:[=/=]''[=Borderlands=]''[=/=]''[=Halo=]'']] MassiveMultiplayerCrossover, the Trans-Galactic Republic runs with several of these. Repeatedly {{lampshaded}} by both its operatives and other characters.
** There are videos of [[WaveMotionGun superlasers]] being used to pulverize a ship despite an official policy that the Spacelane Protection forces neither possess nor use superlasers.
** That ''Vorknkx'' intelligence gathering ships exist with their attendant [[StealthInSpace cloaking devices]] is more widely known than the Republic Intelligence Service would like. As with superlasers, it's official policy that the Trans-Galactic Republic neither utilizes or holds any such devices.
** How much sense it makes that a supposedly-peaceful society is building [[MileLongShip huge vessels]] [[TheBattlestar with big guns]] and tons of [[SpaceFighter starfighters]] ([[CaptainObvious hint: none]]) suggests that [[GovernmentConspiracy something's up]] [[spoiler:it is, RISE goes berserk, but for good reason]].
** The Trans-Galactic Republic's leadership is fervently hoping that [[AMillionIsAStatistic certain actions]] taken by a [[BrokenAce specific paragon]] ''aren't'' this. So far, it looks as though Shepard's HeroicBSOD from ''FanFic/{{Fractured}}'' has fallen under a successful inversion of TheGreatestStoryNeverTold despite the fact that Shepard's previous exploits often became cantina fodder (though nowhere close to what really happened).
* In the ''Series/StargateSG1'' / ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' fan fic [[http://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-3138/Tassos+Bridges.htm "Bridges,"]] Colonel Jack O'Neill tells Xander Harris that he's assigned to "Deep Space Radar Telemetry", a statement that makes Xander laugh.
-->'''Jack O'Neill:''' "What's so funny?"
-->'''Xander Harris:''' "Oh come on, Jack. A hotshot special ops operative like you assigned to something called 'Deep Space Radar Telemetry'? Why didn't they just name it 'Totally Not a Secret Project' and get it over with."
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6514538/1/Subtlety Subtlety,]]'' apparently everyone but Danny's parents and Valerie knows he's WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom, and everyone except Danny, Sam, and Tucker know that everyone knows.
-->'''Paulina''': "He's playing secret super hero, ducking into alley ways and worrying about people knowing who he is. He finally has a chance to live every kid's dream. He is Superman, and maybe he's not very good at the secret thing, but that's okay. We'll play along."
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4445564/1/Naruto-Eleven Naruto: Eleven,]]'' Yugito knows at a glance that Naruto is the Yondaime Hokage's son and is honestly surprised when Naruto doesn't know and every Konoha ninja who knows acts like it's a big secret.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10973590/4/Naruto-The-Game-of-Life Naruto: The Game of Life,]]'' everyone in Konoha knows where the old Anbu headquarters is. Apparently it was disguised as an apartment building with several "very polite but firm" guards who insisted it was "private residence only" despite having a sign advertising apartments for rent.
* In ''FanFic/SonOfTheTheDesert'' the fact that the Elric brothers are willing to help anyone Ishvalan and are Ishvalan themselves is well known in the Central and Eastern Ishvalan communities, although they don't a say of word of this around the military.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12473449/4/An-Open-Secret An Open Secret]]'' Anakin finds out that his relationship with Padme and that she's pregnant with his children is not so secret when when Aayla Secura openly asks him to be named the godmother, leading to him finding out ''every single Jedi but Obi-Wan Kenobi, Barriss Offee and Mace Windu had figured it out on their own''. And even then, Obi-Wan knew they were closer than friends and suspected he was the father, he just wasn't sure (or knew they were married) until Anakin told him (Barriss, on the other hand, was already in jail by the time everyone started figuring it out, while Mace Windu has somehow missed everything and [[MasterOfDelusion convinced himself Anakin fed the rumor mill and leaked it to the press to lure out traitors]]).
** Also, most of the 501st Legion know about their relationship (and the ones who don't are recruits who haven't seen Anakin around Padme yet, because, as Ahsoka points out, you'd have to be blind to miss it), even if they haven't seen Padme long enough to know she's pregnant, to the point that when they learn of the children from the celebrity news they are surprised that they had to learn of them from the news instead than being told by Anakin. There's also a number of senators that were aware of it before it went public, even if some misunderstood the exact details (Riyo Chuchi was under the impression that Obi-Wan and/or Ahsoka were also part of the relationship, something that would have been perfectly normal on her homeworld).
* Creator/SamAndMickey's stop-motion Franchise/{{Barbie}} comedies have Barbie try to pass off hers and Ken's illegitimate daughters as her "little sisters", but it seems rare for someone not to recognize Barbie as the girls' actual mother. It doesn't help that the "little sisters" often don't try to keep the secret.

* ''Film/JamesBond''
** Bond's status as a 00 Agent is supposed to be classified. Pretty much everyone on Earth with any sort of connection to a government, a terrorist organization, or an intelligence agency knows about him, though. Maybe because he always uses his real name and introduces himself as BondJamesBond to absolutely everyone he talks to.
** James mocks Felix Leither over this in ''Film/QuantumOfSolace''. Evidently James, at this point a RogueAgent [[ClearMyName of sorts]], is able to find the phone number of the CIA-operated business front that Felix is working out of by asking a local cab driver.
* In ''Film/GoodNightAndGoodLuck'' there is a subplot dedicated to Joseph Wersha and his wife as they try to keep their marriage secret or risk getting fired. Naturally at the end of the movie it is revealed that every one in the office already knew they were married and just didn't care. But they still have to leave because of budget cuts and are asked to walk, which they agree to.
* In ''Film/JohnnyDangerously'', the fact that nightclub owner Johnny Kelly is secretly the titular mob boss is known to everyone in the world other than Johnny's mother and little brother. This is pointed out to Johnny by ''the Pope''.
* ''Disney/RobinHood'' has this: it seems that everyone in Nottingham except for Prince John and his lackeys know how to get to Robin's hideout in Sherwood Forest.
* From ''Disney/TheEmperorsNewGroove'': "Yzma's got that 'secret' lab."
* The documentary that is aptly-named ''[[https://vimeo.com/142444429 An Open Secret]]'' discusses a particularly insidious problem in [[HorribleHollywood the movie industry]] -- that [[PaedoHunt there are a number of pedophiles, child molesters, and child rapists working in there]] and [[HarmfulToMinors few protections for child actors]]. The scary part is that a number of these offenders are well-known individuals, hence the title of the film. Even worse is that [[KarmaHoudini the few people who are convicted for their crimes usually get off under fairly minor sentences]].

* In ''Literature/DragonBones'', Erdrick is extremely nervous about his twin brother's affair with the queen. However, everyone else knows the affair to be an open secret, and Beckram tells Erdrick that he was ordered to sleep with the queen by the king himself. (It is not clear whether the king's affairs with men are even an open secret, or no secret at all, as everyone in the country knows it. Everyone. Well, maybe except innocent Erdrick.) There's also the bastard offspring of the lords of Hurog--everyone knows what it means when someone is introduced as "distant cousin" of house Hurog.
* At the end of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone'', Dumbledore knows that this trope is in full force when he says "What happened in the dungeons between [[spoiler: Harry and Professor Quirrell]] is a complete secret--so, naturally, the whole school knows."
* In Gerald Morris in ''[[TheSquiresTales The Ballad of Sir Dinadan]]''. Tristram and Isolde have the world's least secret love affair--literally everyone but Isolde's husband knows, and he at least suspects. This is mostly because Tristram has been riding about the country [[IllNeverTellYouWhatImTellingYou telling everyone in great detail]] about the vow of silence he has taken and how he can never even say his true love Isolde's name. The trope also applies to Lancelot and Guinevere's affair in the first couple of books, though in this case it's treated more seriously due to the effect it has on Arthur and the court.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** Everybody knows Carrot is the true king of Ankh-Morpork, but nobody speaks openly about it. (While Carrot would probably make a good king, everyone, including himself, agrees that Ankh-Morpork does not ''need'' a king.) The last guy who tried [[spoiler: got skewered by Carrot himself. And the heirloom blade went through him and ''into'' the stone behind him…]]
** The short story "The Sea and Little Fishes" has the townspeople of Lancre going through ridiculous contortions to find Nanny Ogg. They know where she is; she's at her secret still in the woods. But actually acknowledging this would be unthinkable, so they wander around ''near'' where they all know the still is, calling her name. When she finally comes to see what all the fuss is about, they say they thought she might be in the woods picking herbs.\\
It's mentioned that even King Verence knows about the still and maintains the secret, having long ago learned that the way to avoid the embarrassment of witches refusing to pay taxes (or in this case, excise) is never to ask them.
* ''ThePillarsOfTheEarth'' makes occasional mention of priests who are officially celibate, yet have a "live-in housekeeper," a polite fiction maintained for the benefit of all concerned. The protagonist for the first half of the book is married to one such housekeeper's [[SarcasmMode mysteriously fatherless]] daughter. Literally ''everyone'' knows what's actually going on, with senior Church officials pretending to be taken in because actually enforcing the celibacy rule would be more trouble than it's worth. This is probably TruthInTelevision.[[note]]It was, though usually it was either enforced, or was even more of an open secret to the point of not bothering with a 'live-in housekeeper' fiction and just outright having acknowledged life-long consorts. Rome's changing of clerical rules were not always very recognized in pre-Reformation Europe.[[/note]]
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'':
** Cersei gets so used to everyone knowing the truth about her affair with her twin brother that she almost forgets that it's supposed to be a secret, and hardly bothers to keep it.
** A darker example from the same series would be what Craster does to his sons ([[spoiler:sacrifices them to the Others, the ice demons who live in the woods near his keep]]). All of the Rangers of the Night's Watch know about it, but because they need the help Craster gives them, they never talk about it or try to stop it.
** Loras and Renly's gayness isn't known by ''everyone'', but certainly more people know than don't.
* ''[[Franchise/StarWars Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader]]'' reveals that Padme's pregnancy was this in ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith''. Only C-3PO doesn't know what it means when a woman's belly takes this shape. Note that she uses large senatorial dresses to hide it, but smart senators probably noticed she constantly wore them.
* A RunningGag in ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoNewAdventuresDeathAndDiplomacy Death and Diplomacy]]''. The Saloi are a PlanetOfHats of people with ChronicBackstabbingDisorder. Therefore everyone knows that the truth is whatever a Saloi isn't saying, and it's almost impossible for them to keep a secret. (The one secret they do seem to keep is who their true ruler is, and they do it by [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow treating him as the ruler]], while having a minor functionary always at hand for him to "consult" with. Everyone [including the ruler] assumes it's the functionary who's ''really'' in charge… [[EverybodyKnewAlready probably]].)
* In Creator/StephenKing's ''Literature/{{IT}}'', pretty much everyone who's lived in Derry long enough knows about the 27-year cycle of violence, even if they don't fully understand what causes it. Most of them have seen the MonsterClown which is IT's preferred form as well.
* Similarly to other instances involving the same people, the fact that Sir Lancelot and Queen Guenevere are having an affair is fairly widely known in TH White's ''Literature/TheOnceAndFutureKing''. Nobody wants to come right out and say it, because Lancelot is "the best knight that is on life" and would challenge anyone who dared bring it up to trial by combat, in which he would slaughter them. That no one dares do more than hint about it obliquely allows King Arthur to officially pretend he doesn't know about it for quite some time. In the fourth book ''Candle in the Wind'', Mordred's scheming finally makes it impossible for Arthur to keep up the charade and he has to officially charge Lancelot and Guenevere with High Treason in the new courts, ironically set up by Arthur himself because he didn't like how trial by combat meant the person who could afford to hire the biggest, strongest fighter as a champion got to basically do whatever he wanted.
* In Creator/SMStirling's Literature/{{Emberverse}}, the Portland Protective Association is in practice (and originally, in law) a Roman Catholic kingdom, practicing a fairly conservative version of that faith. The Baroness (later Grand Constable [[spoiler: later Marshall]]) Tiphaine d'Ath is gay and in a monogamous relationship with Delia de Stafford, [[TheBeard wife]] of the equally-gay Rigobert. Everybody except their confessors is quite aware of the true nature of Tiphaine and Delia's, and Delia and Rigobert's, relationships, but the attitudes of the kingdom prohibit any public acknowledgement.
* The not-terribly-secret love between magic mentor Sephrenia and Pandion Knight leader Vanion is an OpenSecret throughout ''Literature/TheElenium'' trilogy by Creator/DavidEddings. It's discussed a few times quietly by other characters, but no one overtly brings it up until near the very end of the trilogy, when they're reunited following a dangerous separation and "their secret, which wasn't much of a secret anyway, went right out the window." [[spoiler:As of the sequel trilogy, they're married.]]
* In ''Literature/TheTraitorSonCycle'', the Church tries to hide the fact that the Lissen Carak abbey is composed solely of sorceresses. After they help rescue the city from the Wild invaders, however, pretty much everbody knows that, and it becomes less of a secret and more of something that's impolite to mention in public.
* Harry Card in ''Literature/{{Below}}'' is the real father of Ed Finch's son, and his affair with Finch's wife Maddie has been going on for years since. Because Harry and Finch are still lifelong best friends, and everyone is intimidated by [[TheDragon Finch]], everyone assumes Finch himself is the only one in the dark and no one wants to be the person to tell him.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Torchwood}}''
** The eponymous organization is supposed to be a top-secret organization beyond the reach of the British government (though answerable to the Queen). Pretty much everyone in Cardiff seems to know who they are and what they do and they liaise with Whitehall on occasion. Heck, they print the name of their "secret" organization on their vans.
--->'''Rupesh''': You're Torchwood?\\
'''Jack Harkness:''' ''[while climbing into the Conspicuous Black SUV with "TORCHWOOD" written all over it]'' Never heard of 'em.
** This is only made worse by the fact that the team ''regularly orders pizza'' under the name Torchwood and has it delivered to the front door of their headquarters. Also, Torchwood's allegedly clandestine dealings with the supernatural are the ''worst-kept secret in the UK''. The show makes hay out of how loudly everything about them screams TheMenInBlack, especially with some very loud alien encounters in the [[TheVerse Whoniverse]].
--->'''Gwen''': Excuse me. Have you seen a blowfish driving a sports car? ''[old woman points the way]'' Thank you.\\
'''Old Woman''': Bloody Torchwood.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Some people believe that TheMasquerade was broken early on, if not before the show started. This is made much more clear in the Third Season episode "The Prom", during which Buffy is given the "Class Protector" award. Jonathan mentions while he's presenting that everyone present knows that Sunnydale isn't like other schools, but it's an unwritten rule that no one ever talks about it.
*** She won the award because the class mortality rate was the lowest in school history!
** In the very first episode:
---> '''Buffy''': Was there a school bulletin? Was it in the newspaper? Is there anyone in this town who doesn't know I'm the Slayer?
** And when Wesley first came to Sunnydale and finds out Cordelia knows:
---> '''Wesley''': Does ''everyone'' know you're the Slayer?
** In the seventh season, after the band, led by [[TheCameo noted singer/songwriter Aimee Mann]], finishes performing their set at The Bronze (only momentarily interrupted by a vampire being dusted ''in the middle of the club'') Mann can be seen walking off complaining about how she hates performing in "Vampire Towns".
** The school newspaper has a regular obituaries section. We know it's a regular item because Oz mentioned always reading it first.
* [[LampshadedTrope Lampshaded]] in the ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' episode "Our Man Bashir". Garak is mystified by the lavish lifestyle afforded to the Film/JamesBond expy in Bashir's holonovel. Bashir states that he simply plays the role of the rich playboy Garak assumed he was. Garak laments that he joined the wrong intelligence service.
* ''Series/GetSmart'': Many times when Max would ask the operator to patch him through to a 'number which she must immediately forget', she responds with, "Oh, you mean CONTROL!"
* The [[SecretRelationship "Secret" Relationship]] of Majors Burns and Houlihan in the early seasons of ''Series/{{MASH}}''.
* On ''Series/{{NCIS}}'', Jimmy Palmer and Michelle Lee's SecretRelationship turns out to be this, as Team Gibbs already knew about it when Palmer confessed.
* On ''Series/CriminalMinds'', this happens pretty frequently, since the whole team is so good at reading body language and word choice that it's nearly impossible for them to keep secrets from their coworkers for long. They seem to have worked out some kind of deal (referenced a few times but never seen onscreen) that they'll try not to profile one another, but they're not very good at keeping it, and mostly just compromise by politely pretending not to know things they're not supposed to know. One particularly notable example is Reid's drug problem in Season 2. He meets a friend outside the group who figures out what's going on in about fifteen seconds. When Reid says that he hasn't told anyone about it, the friend's response is along the lines of "Okay, I'm a jazz musician who hasn't seen you in ten years. They're elite FBI profilers who see you every day. Good luck with that."
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Lord Renly and Ser Loras' relationship is theoretically a [[SecretRelationship secret]] given that the setting is based on the middle ages where [[DeliberateValuesDissonance homosexuality wasn't exactly approved of]], but not only does nearly the whole court know about it, even a couple of random Lannister soldiers halfway across Westeros from them were joking about it in one episode. Considering that Margaery is still a virgin three weeks after marrying Renly and that Loras is quite commonly seen entering his tent at nighttime, they really shouldn't have been surprised. This continues even after [[spoiler: Renly's death]]. The Tyrell's a very powerful family that can easily shifts the balance of power in the kingdom so anyone with any political savvy avoids discussing Loras Tyrell's sexual preferences. Joffrey makes a massive political faux pas when he publicly brings up Renly's homosexuality. Everyone knows about it but only someone as thoughtless as Joffrey would bring it up in the presence of the Tyrells.
** On the same token, much of the nobility of Westeros seems to be aware, or at the very least ''suspicious,'' that Queen Cersei is having an affair with her twin brother, and that her children are illegitimate bastards. However, few are actually willing to directly challenge Cersei on this matter because of her political allies. Ned Stark learns this [[DoomedMoralVictor the hard way.]] However, as of "A Man Without Honour" in the second season, even Jaime and Cersei have given up denying it. Only Tywin, their lord father, [[SelectiveObliviousness refuses to acknowledge the truth even to himself]] since it would mean that his whole legacy is built on a lie.
* Subverted in ''Series/HouseOfAnubis'', as the secret is a pretty poorly kept secret, (Only one person in the entire house at the end of season 3 ''never'' got involved) but it still manages to remain a secret. Which is odd, considering the students talk about it in the middle of the school like it's homework and not a life threatening mystery.
* While his alien origins are still a secret, in later seasons of ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', the implication seems to be that everyone knows that Clark has super-powers, its just impolite to mention it. Given that Smallville has [[MonsterOfTheWeek a rather high population of metahumans]], this isn't hard to pass off.
* On ''Series/TheOfficeUS'', Dwight's affair with Angela becomes this. Phyllis catches her and Dwight together in the office (right after Andy proposed to Angela and she said yes) and blackmails Angela into letting her head the party committee. Phyllis eventually tells anyway and everyone at the office knows but Andy. This leads to an awkward moment when Andy serenades Angela on [[ItMakesSenseInContext a sitar]] and declares that he will love her for the rest of his life, and everyone in the office stares at them.
* A RunningGag on ''Series/TopGear'' was for the presenters to go to a location that was deemed "Top Secret", usually an official product testing track owned by a car manufacturer. We'd get an establishing shot of the facility and a voiceover from Jeremy Clarkson reminding us that the place was Top Secret… before revealing its exact location as well as detailed directions on how to reach said location by car.
* ''Series/{{Taboo}}'': James and Zilpha's lingering [[BrotherSisterIncest affection for each other]] is widely rumored around London and is apparent to all who see them together, including her enraged husband. The Americans even go so far as to offer her as part of their bargain with James for Nootka Sound.

[[folder: Magazine]]
* All the proper columnists in ''Magazine/PrivateEye'' write under pseudonyms. Sometimes this is because their work (or possibly even safety) would be genuinely hindered if people knew who they were. Other times it's just because it's traditional. This sometimes leads to oddities like the "Medicineballs" column, which is written under the pseudonym "M.D." ... except that anyone who cares is well aware that it's by Dr Phil Hammond of ''Trust Me, I'm a Doctor'' and ''28 Minutes to Save the NHS''.

[[folder: Professional Wrestling]]
* Prior to his officially coming out, ''everybody'' knew Wrestling/PatPatterson was gay, but aside from the occasional incredibly veiled reference, it was something that just wasn't discussed. Fans used to joke that it was the ''second'' worst kept secret in Professional Wrestling, with the worst kept secret being that [[{{Kayfabe}} wrestling is scripted.]]
* When Wrestling/JerryLawler's son Grandmaster Sexay wrestled in WWE, Lawler didn't want it to be mentioned on air, as he thought it made him look old. So Wrestling/JimRoss kept making jokes about who his father might be.
* Wrestling/TripleH and Wrestling/StephanieMcMahon were a on-screen couple until they "divorced" in early 2002. They then got married for real in 2003, which resulted in various references, like Triple H telling Wrestling/VinceMcMahon that they're "practically family" and LeaningOnTheFourthWall with jokes about who could ''possibly'' be the father of Stephanie's daughter, until it was flat out stated during the buildup to Wrestling/WrestleMania XXV. In the process, Triple H even referred to his marriage as "the worst-kept secret in the business".
* The "fakeness" of pro wrestling was not acknowledged on air for many years, but upon the death of Wrestling/OwenHart, Jim Ross admitted it usually was fake, but that Owen's injuries were real. Ross didn't get fired because he handled the situation so well otherwise.
** A similar situation (although with thankfully better end results) happened when Jerry Lawler had a massive heart attack during a ''RAW'' broadcast. Wrestling/MichaelCole reported that he'd collapsed and been taken to hospital, and that this "was not part of the entertainment" (ie, that it was real, as opposed to everything else on the show).
** Though it helps that, predating both examples, Vince [=McMahon=] made an announcement to that effect when officially announcing the Attitude Era. He outright said that wrestling is entertainment that draws on soap operas like Days of Our Lives, cartoons like King of the Hill, and talk shows like Jerry Springer. Many wrestling fans already knew, but the ones who never watched wrestling never heard the announcement and continue trying to call out wrestling on something that wrestling openly announced.
* Wrestling/{{TNA}}'s "secret" rehiring of Wrestling/VinceRusso in early 2014. It was very clear that he had ''something'' to do with the show, as much of ''Impact Wrestling!'' at the time had his trademark booking (at one point Wrestling/TheBeautifulPeople said "SWERVE!" in reference to their heel turn during a promo), but it was rumor at best since the dirtsheets had no concrete proof, nor did TNA announce anything. Then, in a truly dumb move, Vinny Ru accidentally cc'd an email filled with commentary voiceover instructions for Tazz and Mike Tenay to Mike Johnson of [=PWInsider=], outing himself. As it turns out, the reason it was a "secret" is because many of TNA's affiliates ''hated'' him, including Wrestling/TheGreatMuta's promotion Wrestle-1 (for his racist comments about how nobody wants to watch Mexican and Japanese wrestlers), and ''Creator/SpikeTV'', who specifically instructed Dixie ''not'' to rehire him in ''any'' capacity (she did it anyway and lied about it). Spike was angry enough about it that it factored into them finally pulling the plug on TNA.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'': What [[CloakAndDagger House Dimir]] has become in "Return To Ravnica" after the Ten Guilds have officially reformed. In the original "[[CityWorld Ravnica]]" block, they really ''were'' a secret, [[TheMasquerade with most people believing there were only nine guilds]], but having their leader Szadek publicly defeated and his plans exposed [[BrokenMasquerade kinda wrecked that]]. Nowadays they only ''pretend'' there are only nine guilds, unless they're directly dealing with the Dimir for one reason or another.
* In 3rd Edition ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' cosmology, the enmity between Sunnis and Ogremoch (the most powerful forces of Good and Evil, respectively, on the Elemental Plane of Earth) is one of the most violent in the Inner Planes. Sunnis lives in a palace called Sandfall, which has a waterfall of sand cascading over it, which turns into a river that eventually drains into an--apparently--bottomless pit near the palace. Many of her subjects say that she someday plans to set a trap for Ogremoch and throw him into the pit, but it's unlikely. This "plan" is too well-known among the denizens of the Plane of Earth, so one would be foolish to think that Ogremoch hasn't heard it.
* In the lore of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'', there are famously two lies in the Empire regarding the Skaven. The first lie is that the Skaven don't exist. The second lie is that anyone believes the first lie.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Throughout the ''VideoGame/{{Hitman}}'' series, the International Contract Agency had been protrayed as an extremely secret clandestine organisation, connected to most major nations' secret services and the UN, only every operating through proxies' proxies. After their reformation in ''[[VideoGame/HitmanAbsolution Absolution]]'' however, ''something'' changed, as they began to send large squadrons of highly conscipuous operatives in ICA ''uniform'' and marked vehicles to take over urban centres, where they cordon off streets, search houses and round up civilians like a police force. At one point, [[spoiler:one of the ICA directors even swoops down on a South Dakota courthouse in an ICA helicopter and declares to the town's sheriff over megaphone that they're taking over]]. So much for subtlety.
* Lampshaded by the title character of ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyTrialsAndTribulations'' during the Kurain Village exhibit in regards to the Six Leaf Kurain Sacred Writings folding screen, "the greatest of all the spirit channeling secrets".
--> '''Phoenix Wright:''' (If it's so secret, why is it the most prominent thing in the exhibit?)
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', the fact that Shepard is now working with Cerberus is known by pretty much everyone. Zaeed will even [[LampshadeHanging lampshade]] it at one point, calling it the worst-kept secret in the galaxy.
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', it seems that ''everyone'' knows that Liara is [[spoiler: the new Shadow Broker]]. The only exceptions are Barla Von and Shepard if you didn't complete the relevant DLC.
* The [[BoisterousBruiser Iron Bull]] of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' is supposed to join the [[TheOrder Inquisition]] to spy on it for his [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Qunari]] superiors. However, he knows that the Inquisition's agents will discover his secret eventually, so in the interest of saving time he tells the [[PlayerCharacter Inquisitor]] his purpose and flat-out asks permission to send reports on their activities and in exchange he'll give the Inquisition reports he gets from his Qunari contacts.
** On a less serious note, the best way to romance [[LadyOfWar Cassandra]] is to pull off a GrandRomanticGesture. She'd rather die than admit that she's a hopeless romantic, but if you go to your party members for advice about starting a relationship with her half of them will bring it up anyways.
* [[VideoGame/TouhouProject Eientei]] is very strange about this. In ''[[http://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Perfect_Memento_in_Strict_Sense Perfect Memento in Strict Sense]]'' Akyuu most definitely considers Eirin and Kaguya humans as well as Reisen a ''youkai'' Earth Rabbit, even though almost a dozen people she could have told her they were Lunarians. The fact that Akyuu later devotes a whole section to a "Lunar Capital Exposition" Eientei hosted in [[http://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Perfect_Memento_in_Strict_Sense/Kaguya_Houraisan Kaguya's article]] laughs in the face of an earlier note where in [[http://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Perfect_Memento_in_Strict_Sense/Eirin_Yagokoro Eirin's article]] where Akyuu thinks she may have "a deep connection to the Lunar Capital."
** From various world-building materials, it can be said that most human populace of Gensokyo are generally ignorant of many in-going of the world, mostly because Gensokyo's power-players (read: most named characters), whether it's youkai or humans, [[GovernmentConspiracy are deliberately making it so to maintain Gensokyo's power balance between the races]]. Best shown in ''Forbidden Scrollery''; Kosuzu who doesn't know these conspiracies freaks out when she finds out the Noh dancer in Hakurei Shrine is a youkai who will control the populace's mind and reporting it to Marisa, the closest seemingly neutral human power-player she has contact with. Unfortunately, to those who know the true event of ''Hopeless Masquerade'', it's no secret that Marisa is one of those who set up Kokoro as the shrine's Noh dancer as the most non-violent mean to channel her power, instead of almost triggering a civil war between the religious factions. What Kosuzu knows as "youkai extermination" is just a staged performance of those involved power-players so there's no misunderstanding over the "controlling the populace's mind" thing, not to stop it. In short, the "secret" is open to those people we, as the fourth wall audience, often fill the exposition shoes in as player characters and main antagonists but not so much for those [[NominalImportance nameless extras]] [[BloodKnight who don't get into fights at the drop of a hat]].
* PlayedForComedy in the ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' universe. The teams may ''think'' that they're being all sneaky and secretive in their dealings, but they often get spectators in the form of locals who live near their 'secret' bases, who just want to watch two teams of idiots blow each other up.
* In ''Videogame/{{Dishonored}}'', everyone seems to know something about the fact that Corvo and the Empress [[BodyguardCrush had an affair going on]] and that Emily is his daughter, but either try to talk around it or are somewhat unsure. The game treats these as mostly rumors until the sequel where they're flat-out confirmed.
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', its pretty much well-known that Solitude's CourtMage is a vampire in plain sight for everyone to see. Considering how loathed and dangerous vampires are, its astonishing how she is allowed anywhere near the [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure the local Jarl Elisif]], nor does anyone ever spells out her true nature. Since she has found ways to quench her thirst for blood by [[PayEvilUntoEvil feeding on Solitude's worst criminals]] rather than its citizens, she is tolerated which is more that can be said about other vampires in Skyrim.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'', it's revealed that [[spoiler:the Scions of the Seventh Dawn already knew from the start that the woman they knew as Yda wasn't actually Yda but [[DeadPersonImpersonator her sister Lyse]]]]. As Y'Shtola explains, they saw through it immediately, but Papalymo begged them to keep it a secret to humor her. As well, a part of her figured that they already figured it out, but just didn't want to believe it. It's unknown if the Eorzean leaders knew of this, but it ''is'' known the Warrior of Light wasn't and she apologizes for the deception.

* Towards the end of ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'', [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/061115 George's secret identity]] in the hand-drawn continuity is shown to be one of these.
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' this happens when suddenly Elliot becomes ill and his previously unheard of cousin Ellen is [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2002-06-19 temporarily transferred]] instead. ''[[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2002-06-22 Yeah, sure.]]'' Subverted when [[LiteralSplitPersonality Ellen becomes a separate character via magic, and joins the main cast]].
* ''Webcomic/AMagicalRoommate'': The country of Umbria considers the existence of our world to be a highly classified secret. This is news to everybody, including the dragon who published books on our world and placed them in a public library.
* ''Webcomic/TheDreamer'': Beatrice and Alan Warren's relationship is supposedly a secret, but his cousin Ebenezer says "…it's private to all of Roxbury and half of Boston!"
* Guenevere's relationship with Lancelot in ''Webcomic/ArthurKingOfTimeAndSpace'' is a bit like this. Obviously Arthur (and the rest of the court) can't ''officially'' know, because that would be a scandal. So they work very hard ''not'' to officially know, [[http://www.arthurkingoftimeandspace.com/2241.htm despite attempts to force the issue.]]
* ''{{Webcomic/Homestuck}}'' has Karkat and Terezi's "[[EveryoneCanSeeIt thing.]]"
[[color:#008141:KANAYA: Well Didnt You?]]
* In ''Webcomic/Persona4TW'', the WalkingSpoiler [[spoiler: that Naoto's a girl]] is rather obvious to the main cast, yet [[spoiler: Naoto]] thinks it's a secret.
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', when Agatha learns that a royal wedding between two secret [[UndergroundCity underground kingdoms]] has brought diplomats from all across Europa, she understandably questions in what sense these are "secret" underground kingdoms. Wooster explains that a large number of people simply [[ArbitrarySkepticism refuse to believe they exist]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/{{Worm}}'': In [[http://parahumans.wordpress.com/category/stories-arcs-11/arc-15-colony/15-x-interlude-arc-15-colony/ Interlude 15,]] it's fairly obvious that everyone in the Brockton Bay PRT knows instantly that [[spoiler:Defiant, the new hero teaming up with Dragon to fight the Slaughterhouse Nine, is Armsmaster, a disgraced ex-member of the team who had escaped arrest]]. Triumph is the only one who attempts to say anything.
* ''{{Website/Neopets}}'' treats the Jelly World this way. It is not linked to from any map, and staff often treats it as if it doesn't exist (even in-universe), but nearly everyone with an account knows that it can be accessed by entering the URL.
* In ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony'', Rarity is into all manner of kinky, UsefulNotes/{{BDSM}} stuff, and she does a terrible job of hiding it. She keeps accidentally bringing it up in casual conversations, then tries to cover it up--as if everyone hadn't already figured it out from the ''last'' twenty times she let it slip.
-->'''Pinkie:''' Yeah, okay, there is no way what Rarity does is still a secret.
* Most of [[Podcast/WelcomeToNightVale Night Vale]]'s secrets are this way. Things which the general populace isn't allowed to know about are routinely read in as radio announcements or presented in SuspiciouslySpecificDenial fashion (Angels, the antics of the Sheriff's SecretPolice, etc.). Yes, nobody actually believes the official version… OK, maybe ''some'' people believe ''some'' parts of it, but they're the exceptions. (At least one person got a panic attack because someone else dared to call the "white robed, winged, glowing persons with trumpets" "angels" and he isn't allowed to know about those.) And the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home is frequently discussed on the radio and once ran for mayor. Very secret.
* In their ''[[Machinima/YogscastMinecraftSeries Minecraft]]'' series, the LetsPlay/{{Yogscast}} have openly admitted to finding out the secret plans of other server denizens, simply through watching their videos. This is partly the truth and partly an affectionate poke at people in the comments "leaking" information.
* In ''Literature/VoidDomain'', the existence of magic is known to {{Muggles}} thanks to a revealing incident fifteen years prior to the start of the story. No one talks about it on either side of the {{Masquerade}}, leaving many mundane humans still skeptical.
* Malcolm's in-universe crush on WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic. He asks Hyper to keep it a secret, but later on Critic [[TheTease teases him]] and Tamara is a ShipperOnDeck.
* Joked about in ''[[LetsPlay/AchievementHunterGrandTheftAutoSeries Let's Play Grand Theft Auto]]'' with regards to Jeremy's "super hero" identity of [[https://youtu.be/uTXCcnqkeak?t=4m11s Rimmy Tim]].
-->'''Michael:''' Is it, like, canon that no one knows who Rimmy Tim is, but everyone knows it's Jeremy?\\
'''Jeremy:''' It's not ''me!''
* ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'': the eponymous SuperheroSchool, Whateley Academy, is one. While the existence of ''a'' school for mutants is public knowledge of a sort, or at least the subject of rumors - they even advertise products created by some of the students under the brand name 'Paranormal Academy', though apparently most people think that's just a marketing gimmick - few people know for certain if it is real, and only a handful actually know the name and location. Most major superheroes and supervillains - even those who didn't attend Whateley themselves - do know about it, as do the Syndicate (who are a major backer), the Mutant Commission Office, and most national and state/provincial governments. Many major metropolitan police departments have someone who is at least familiar enough with the school to know who to contact when a newly manifested mutant shows up, too.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'': The Sovereign is the leader of the guild, and his identity is a well kept secret… except almost everyone knows he's Music/DavidBowie. Yes ''David Bowie''. [[spoiler: [[SubvertedTrope A later episode then revealed he isn't David Bowie, but a shape shifter who knew him.]]]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode "Green Isn't Your Color" had Spike confess his deepest secret to Twilight and Pinkie... His crush on Rarity. A secret everyone in town was already aware of... except for [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Pinkie]] of course.
* A ''WesternAnimation/HouseOfMouse'' episode had Clarabelle about to reveal a big secret and everybody in the Club is worried it's going to be his/her secret. By asking Clarabelle what the secret is, they accidentally reveal their own secrets to Clarabelle instead: Mickey reveals he does something with his ears so they look the same no matter angle you see them from, while Donald reveals he's part goose. When it's Goofy's turn, he disregards Mickey's and Donald's secrets since everybody already know them, but his secret, according to him, is bigger: [[spoiler: He's rather clumsy. And can prove it!]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill,'' pretty much everyone except [[ConspiracyTheorist Dale]] knows that his wife, Nancy, is cheating on him with her "massage therapist" [[MagicalNativeAmerican John Redcorn]], who is [[ChocolateBaby Joseph]]'s real father. Even Bobby is in on the secret (Joseph himself seems to genuinely be just as clueless as Dale, though). It eventually comes out that [[KnowNothingKnowItAll Peggy]] doesn't know until [[BornInTheWrongCentury Hank]] tells her, leading him to bring it up to his friends, who immediately pretend they don't know what he's talking about.
* Played with in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' where Finn has acquired a stack of tapes that the Ice King is trying to hide. He and Jake decide to have a secret party to watch them, so Jake puts up a ton of fliers to announce they are having a ''private'' secret-tape watching party and nobody should come. The Ice King finds the fliers and tries to crash the party, upsetting Jake who was "very clear in the fliers" that nobody was invited.
* [[WesternAnimation/TheEmperorsNewSchool "To the not-so-secret lab!"]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Comb-overs. It's amazing how many men honestly believe that they actually fool anyone.
* [[UsefulNotes/TheSamsonOption Israel's nukes]]. They haven't ''officially'' revealed them yet, but when then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert accidentally (or perhaps accidentally on purpose) said (or at least implied with barely less subtlety than actually setting off one of the nukes) that Israel had nukes in a speech in 2006, the world barely noticed. Of course, there isn't much reason to keep a nuclear arsenal secret--the main point of having it is intimidating the other side not to attack, something a secret doomsday device isn't so good at. The reason for Israel going this route is strategic. Israel's potential regional enemies (e.g. Iran, Iraq, Egypt[[note]]We should note here that Egypt was never particularly serious about developing a bomb, whatever Music/TomLehrer might say. And that whole "regime change" makes Iraq highly unlikely to try again any time soon.[[/note]]) know it has nukes, and are thus deterred from military action that would threaten Israel's existence. They can't acquire their own nukes because they're parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which forbids owning any (except for the US, Soviet Union/Russia, China, the UK and France) and subjects them to IAEA inspections. And they can't withdraw from the NPT without an "imminent threat" to their security (such as a nearby rival having nukes already), which officially doesn't exist because Israel officially refuses to confirm anything.[[note]]In theory, at least. In practice, any nation can unilaterally withdraw from a treaty at any time. But doing so with the NPT would be such a diplomatic nightmare (and very likely a trigger to war), being the obvious signal that it is, that not even Iran at its most defiantly nationalistic (during the Ahmedinejad era, 2005-13) ever showed any willingness to risk it.[[/note]] In other words, it's an endless cycle of IKnowYouKnowIKnow and SelectiveObliviousness on both sides. This serves the interests of both Israel and the other countries involved: the Israelis get their security and their neighbors get a good reason not to fight Israel and also keep the Middle East a nominal nuclear-weapons-free zone; the ambiguity also spares the regional powers the expense of developing their own weapons programs. (Israel's interest, by the way, does ''not'' include the fear of IAEA inspections, as many Israelis claim; Israel is ''not'' a party to the NPT and unlikely to become one in the foreseeable future, so it's not subject to inspections, and declaring its stockpile would have no effect on that (after all, both India and Pakistan, also non-NPT countries, openly have nuclear weapons and nobody's ever even tried to inspect ''them'')--any Israeli politician mentioning inspections is just trying to scare you.)
** It's also politically useful to Israel's main ally, the United States, to play along. US law requires special "national security" exemptions to provide military aid to a known nuclear proliferator (ie any nation other than Russia, China, the UK or France that possesses nukes), which could be controversial for a President to issue during periods when there's not an actual war going on. But since (officially) Israel isn't a '''known''' nuclear proliferator, there's no need to bother with such an exemption.
* Israel's strategy is not unique. Pakistan had something similar. From the time [[UsefulNotes/PakAttack Pakistan became a nuclear power]] [[note]] depending on how you describe nuclear capability, Pakistan had the ability to detonate a nuclear weapon in the late 1970s, a working deliverable bomb design in the early 1980s and a miniaturised weapons sometime later [[/note]] till the first official [[note]] it has now emerged that at least some tests in China in the late 1980s and early 1990s were actually Pakistani tests [[/note]] test in 1998, Pakistan officially denied it had a nuclear weapon. Those strange, heavily guarded magazines which mysteriously appeared outside major bases and which looked exactly like magazines which have no use but to house nukes? Oh, just some chicken farmer's silo. The tenders given to local companies for the manufacture of special fuses which were only used on warheads? Please, it's a research project. And that's not a plutonium processing plant, it's a training center (which it actually also was). The Pakistani strategy worked like a charm. As long as Pakistan did not wave its capability openly, the US could continue to support it. Its very existence meant that New Delhi and Moscow would not try anything that Pakistan would not like. In 1998, the Indians tested and, well, suddenly Pakistan's strategy no longer was viable.
* [[UsefulNotes/TheThirdEyeOfBharat India did not even bother with the whole charade]]. They simply tested in 1974 while claiming [[BlatantLies that it was a peaceful explosion]].
* Speaking of military secrets everyone knows about, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, more commonly known as Delta Force. The Pentagon refuses to acknowledge its existence, even though the founder, Col. Beckwith, and a early member of the unit, Sgt. Maj. Haney, have written books about it.
* The military installation located on the southern shore of Groom Lake in Nevada, also known as Area 51:
** It has gone through most of its life being barely acknowledged (if at all) by the government, even when it's open knowledge that many advanced aircraft had been developed and tested there over the decades, including the first American jet fighter, the P-59 Airacomet. The secrecy around the base has of course fueled [[WildMassGuessing much]] [[EpilepticTrees debate]] about just ''what'' goes on there.
** The base's existence was still considered a secret until it was ''sued'' over deaths from improper disposal of toxic waste, at which point [[ImplausibleDeniability the jig was basically up.]] Though that lawsuit was thrown out by executive order to prevent any details about Groom Lake appearing in court. This did lead to the CIA declassifying a number of documents relating to Area 51's history in 2013, meaning that the US Government has ''finally'' officially acknowledged that the base exists.
** Area 51 in Nevada has always [[LampshadeHanging hung its own lampshade]]. It's on Google Earth, for crying out loud. [[RefugeInAudacity Official government policy]] before the mid-90s was to refuse to acknowledge in any way that the [[BlatantLies massive restricted area (with barbed-wire fences and armed soldiers patrolling it)]] actually contained one damned thing. It was only revealed when the base was ''sued'' for causing [[NightmareFuel a horrifying and almost completely unknown disease]] in several workers by ''[[NoOSHACompliance burning toxic waste on site]]'' and refusing to give their doctors information about the unidentified substance even though it might have saved their lives. A story that almost disappeared behind claims of alien saucers.
** It is fairly well known at this point that Groom Lake is (or at least was) a testing ground for new aircraft. Stuff like the B-2, the SR-71, the F-117…
* It's fairly well-known that Cheyenne Mountain is the command center of NORAD. This does not tell anybody [[Series/StargateSG1 just what goes on down there,]] and it deflects attention from more important and more secret sites elsewhere. Misdirection, donchaknow. And just to show that they're [[{{Troll}} trolling us]], a door in Cheyenne Mountain with multiple locks on it, labeled "Stargate Command." It leads to [[spoiler: a broom closet.]] This was especially funny to anybody who worked in fast food in the nearby town. For years practically every night Domino's Pizza, KFC, and a number of other fast food joints would send a driver up the mountain trail with a massive order that they would hand off at a guarded gate to guards that officially weren't there to feed people that [[http://www.norad.mil/AboutNORAD/CheyenneMountainAirForceStation.aspx technically didn't exist.]] It does make people wonder if the people in NORAD just keep the charade going as a joke.
* There is a real life government facility at Raven Rock, although it presumably doesn't yet have [[VideoGame/{{Fallout3}} an insane AI mainframe]]. As of yet, there has been no official denial.
* The government installation at Mount Weather was SO Not-Secret that it's been handed over to FEMA.
* Rule #1 of [[Website/FourChan /b/]]: [[Film/FightClub Do not talk about /b/.]] Rule #2 of /b/: Do NOT talk about /b/. To that end, expect almost any mention of /b/ anywhere on the Internet to be replied to with "Rules 1 and 2!!!!" even though pretty much everyone knows about /b/ by now. Expect ''that'' to get the response "That only applies to raids," but those, too, are likely to get leaked to ''Encyclopedia Dramatica'' within 24 hours. (Traditionally while a raid was in process, /b/ trolls would claim to be from eBaum's World, a site held in especially low regard on 4chan.)
** In a sense, the new (created circa 2017) board /trash/. It's not on the top list and is designed a a dumping ground for everything that the other boards can't have ''including /b/'' (including furries and extreme kinks) nor want to have (such as "generals", threads devoted to a general topic). This board is not intended for people under 18 to go to at all.
* Website/{{Tumblr}}'s userbase adapted a similar "Do NOT talk about Tumblr, especially outside of Tumblr" meme, but it is mostly considered a DiscreditedMeme at this point.
* The [=Wikileaks=] release of US diplomatic cables falls into this category for much of the information. Everyone knows people in the diplomatic service badmouth other governments they deal with because, well, ''people''. It's just not diplomatic to say so.
* One of the amusing effects, such as that of the existence of Groom Lake, is that if information is classified, people covered by security laws or similar confidentiality rules are not allowed to talk about it until it's specifically declassified, even if everyone else already knows about the information.
* At one point, the Bush Administration attempted to reclassify information that had already been released to the public.
* In-N-Out Burger's "secret menu", especially "Animal Style" burgers and fries. They even acknowledge it [[http://www.in-n-out.com/menu/not-so-secret-menu.aspx on their website]], though Wiki/TheOtherWiki [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-N-Out_Burger_products has a more complete list]].
* In-N-Out is far from the only place that has a 'secret' menu or secret items. Many places have some sort of product that isn't on the menu but can still be made. Probably the most well known is the [=Mc10:35=], a UsefulNotes/McDonalds product that combines the Egg [=McMuffin=] and the [=McDouble=], so named because it was originally available in the short window of time between the end of breakfast and beginning of lunch at 10:30 AM (but due to the chain now offering all-day breakfast, it can now be made at anytime after 10:30). Do note, however, that not every store of a given fast food or café chain will be aware of so-called secret menus and attempting to order a "secret menu" item at your local Starbucks is something of a barista BerserkButton--you're often advised to simply list the modifications that make up the item.
* The [=DiefenBunker=]--a massive underground complex a short ways outside Ottawa, sold to the country as a transmitting station, but actually intended for continuing government operations in the event of a nuclear strike on the Canadian government. In true Canadian fashion, it remained secret for roughly six minutes, as a suspicious reporter got in a plane and took pictures of the significant number of ''toilets'' being stocked there, ready to be taken underground. Far more toilets than would ever be needed for a simple transmission center.
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelvedon_Hatch_Secret_Nuclear_Bunker Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker]] certainly counts. It also gets bonus points for its [[http://www.flickr.com/photos/halfbyte/2671279410/ helpful tourist signs]], one of which provides the page image. Though it ''was'' a closely-guarded secret for many years… provided your definition of "closely-guarded" encompasses "most people in the higher levels of the UK Government".
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BT_Tower-1.jpg BT Tower's]] existence was officially classified and omitted from the government mapping agency's maps until 1993. This is a six-hundred foot office building in central London; it was built in 1964, appeared in ''Series/DoctorWho'' in 1966, and contains (among other things) viewing galleries, a souvenir shop, and a restaurant. One can only surmise that making it classified in the first place SeemedLikeAGoodIdeaAtTheTime,[[note]]it's equipped with line-of-sight microwave transceivers to carry emergency comms traffic if the landlines are destroyed by act of war or natural disaster[[/note]] and nobody bothered doing anything about it because declassifying something before its pre-arranged release date (anything between thirty years and a century) requires a small redwood forest's worth of paperwork. In the end, it was officially declassified in 1993 after Labour MP Kate Hoey "revealed" the tower's existence on the floor of the House of Commons, claiming parliamentary privilege as a defense in the (highly unlikely) event anyone tried to prosecute her for the "leak."
* Likewise, a building in Arlington, VA, near the Pentagon, that handled part of the old AUTOVON network was considered a trade secret by AT&T, and at least one website was asked not to reveal its exact location despite the fact that AUTOVON had long since been decommissioned. Thing is, the building in question is a huge mid-rise tower (easily the tallest building in that part of Arlington for a long time); it's easily visible from two busy nearby streets, and and even has a huge "at&t" sign on its penthouse! Not only that, but the building also serves as a central office for Verizon, and its address is easily gotten from several places (including DSL Reports) that list the locations of phone switches.
* When UsefulNotes/CatherineTheGreat of Russia ruled, it was a not-secret that she had a bastard son named Alexei by one of her lovers. Given that she treated him like a son and all but said it several times one could argue that she didn't even consider it a secret, but it wasn't until after she died and her legitimate son took the throne and acknowledged Alexei as his half-brother that it became official.
* The [[http://www.nsa.gov NSA.]] For a long time the US government denied its existence,[[note]] The NSA's was listed in the 1957 edition of the U.S. Government Manual[[/note]] to the point where the standard joke was that NSA stood for No Such Agency. Now, they've got a web site. Particularly amusing in the case of the NSA monitoring center, which does not exist. It's a giant windowless building, with no signage, covered in communications equipment and directly next to (and visible from) a major highway. It took about 5 minutes for people to figure out what was going on there.
** PRISM, the NSA's spying program, is still technically classified, despite the fact that the "classified" information has [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_(surveillance_program) its own article]] on Wiki/TheOtherWiki, and the US government has admitted to running the program.
* In 2014, we all learned the shocking truth about the NSA: they spy on people. Electronically! Lots of people had a suspicion or already knew that they were being spied by the NSA and other entities (from various nations in the world). The part people ''didn't'' know was the extent of the various programs of surveillance and data storage, which was (and is) relatively massive.
* From time to time, a celebrity will come out of the closet and announce that they are gay, to which the media and public response with "[[TransparentCloset We weren't supposed to know that already?]]"
** [[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2251451/Sir-Ian-McKellen-Coming-gay-best-thing-I-did.html According to interviews]] when Creator/IanMcKellen came out to his stepmother, Gladys, he was worried she and the rest of his family (both his biological parents were long since deceased) would reject him. Not only did they not reject him, his stepmother told him she had known for years and was happy he wasn't lying to himself anymore.
* In [=WW2=] when British intelligence was more of an Old Boy Network, an SIS agent was undergoing a routine security check.
-->'''Security Officer:''' Does your wife know what you do?\\
'''Agent:''' Yes.\\
'''Security Officer:''' How did that come about?\\
'''Agent:''' Well she was my secretary for two years and [[DeadpanSnarker I think the penny might have dropped]].\\
'''Security Officer:''' Quite so. What about your mother?\\
'''Agent:''' She thinks I'm in something called SIS which she believes stands for SecretIntelligenceService.\\
'''Security Officer:''' Good God! How did she come to know that?\\
'''Agent:''' A member of the War Cabinet told her at a cocktail party.\\
'''Security Officer:''' Then what about your father?\\
'''Agent:''' He thinks I'm a spy.\\
'''Security Officer:''' So why would he think you're a spy?\\
'''Agent:''' Because the Chief told him in the bar at White's.
* anyone working in a top secret position is not technically suppose to acknowledge their place of employment. However, those who live near these locations know who the major employer is. If your making decent money, have a degree in fields relevant to these agencies and live next to the agency the locals will generally assume you are employed by them.
** The secret is even more open during job interviews, especially for those that work for contracting companies; where neither the company nor applicant are technically allowed to mention to the other that they contract with said agency. When you show up to a job interview with a defense contractor with a resume listing a top secret clearance, years of experience working for places known to contract with a top secret agency, and a list of skills utilized exclusively with said agency there is very little doubt who one is contracted with. To get around the inconvenience of not being able to directly mention the contracting agency interviewers usually will say things such as "so are you still in government spaces" or "do you work down the hill", or some other blatant stand in for the agency they can't technically mention.
* A variation comes when police talk to the media about suicides, especially murder-suicides, but don't confirm that the incident was one. It becomes this when their official statement is something like "The death of the members of this family was clearly homicide. No we're not looking for anyone. No, no one else is at risk."
* The ChurchOfHappyology has several of these, but the most notable is the OT-3 material (the notorious "Xenu story"[[note]] It holds that a good deal of contemporary human suffering and unconscious human behavior is caused by the lingering spirits of humans murdered by Xenu, a malevolent galactic emperor who attacked Earth with hydrogen bombs in the distant past.[[/note]]). Ask any Happyologist, and they will claim never to have heard of the story in question. Officially, [[MysteryCult only long-time Church members can have it "revealed" to them]] after paying for a certain number of auditing sessions, and the Church's public relations department refrains from mentioning or acknowledging it in any statements to the general public about their doctrine and practices. This is despite the fact that the Church has discussed it in court, their current leader, David Miscavige, alluded to it in an interview on Nightline, recordings exist on Website/YouTube of Creator/LRonHubbard discussing it, countless books and television programs have discussed it without libel action being taken and literally every ex-Happyologist who reached OT-3 confirms it. So much has already been leaked to the public and spread by word of mouth that it's now the ''only'' thing that many people know about the religion.
* Likewise, Mormon temple garments, termed "magic underwear" by non-Mormon wags. They're meant to be hidden at all times and not discussed with non-Mormons (if they're visible at all, its supposed to be a sign that the wearer's clothing isn't modest enough), but the advent of the internet has blown the secret right out of the water. This is especially true now that there's a Church-produced video on YouTube explaining it.
** Subverted in the sense that, like some other aspects of the LDS faith, it's not really "secret", but members are reminded that they are "sacred". The difference being that "secret" implies that it's only meant for a small number of people to zealously guard from ever being known, which is not the case. Rather, members would like nothing more than for everyone to meet the requirements and learn more about them.
* Drones attacked people in UsefulNotes/{{Pakistan}} near the Afghan border. No one admitted to operating these drones, but everyone knows that the United States did it.
* Guinea secretly aided some rebels in UsefulNotes/{{Liberia}}'s civil war, but journalists reported this as an open secret.
* Lawyers defending the Guantanamo detainees who are being tried have complained that they're not allowed to mention in court that their clients were tortured (as such information is still considered classified) even though this is common knowledge and everyone, including the current and former presidents of the United States, have acknowledged that waterboarding had been used.
* Composer Music/YokoKanno has long collaborated with a reclusive singer named Gabriela Robin. It is an open secret that Gabriela Robin is really Yoko Kanno's singing persona; nevertheless Kanno refuse to officially comment, though she finally outed herself somewhat by performing Gabriela Robin's songs live in 2007.
* Britain's Ordnance Survey maps are rightly acclaimed as one of the best, most accurate and most detailed representations available anywhere. This leads to several rather contradictory situations brought about by the military origins of the OS--the maps were first created for military use, hence the name--and the fact they have evolved over a century of refinement and differing priorities. For instance, the location of Britain's special forces bases is officially a secret, but anyone buying the relevant map section will see an Army barracks with virtually all its buildings faithfully represented and even ''named'' as Stirling Lines. Anyone looking for the Aldermaston nuclear research base, or the American spy station at Menwith Hill, however, will just see rolling empty countryside with no apparent sign a large military installation is there. Despite the fact locals will happily point you to the radomes and buildings and the razor wire fences.
* Within the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' music arrange circle Yuuhei Satellite, there's vocalist [[AllLowercaseLetters senya]], who keeps her true identity hidden with a mask whenever she's out in public as part of the group. Those who follow the Franchise/{{BEMANI}} [[Music/{{BEMANI}} music scene]] know her better as BEMANI vocalist Mayumi Morinaga. While neither Yuuhei Satellite nor Creator/{{Konami}} has officially said anything on the matter, it's quite obvious to those who listen to her songs, especially given that ''VideoGame/SoundVoltex'' has a number of Yuuhei Satellite songs and ''VideoGame/{{beatmania}} IIDX'' features the song "Torikago no Houou", a collaboration track between the group and L.E.D. (with whom Mayumi also does songs with), with "senya" credited as the vocalist.
* A lot of cycling transfers are this. The UCI rules state that a rider transferring from one [=ProTeam=] (World Tour) to another team is not allowed to conclude (i.e. sign) a contract before the 1st of August, and the rider and new team are not allowed to talk about it in the media, while the old team can state that the rider will leave after the season. This leads to high profile transfers being open secrets. Everyone knows that rider A transfers to team X (e.g. Landa to Sky for the 2016 season), but it's not officially known before the late stages of the season.
* At one point the Italian government's way of keeping the locations of their military bases secret was to just black out the areas of the map they could be found on. While this did indeed keep the ''precise'' location of the bases secret, it certainly provided a good starting point for finding them.
* Creator/IsaacAsimov once called the longbow England's "unsecret weapon": their rivals knew how to make them and how to train people to use them, but the training took a ''long'' time, and they didn't want to let commoners become that valuable when they could just teach them to use crossbows instead.
* Most {{Juggalo}}s know who the members of the Music/PsychopathicRydas really are [[note]] "Bullet" and "Full Clip" are [[Music/InsaneClownPosse Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope]], "Li'l Shank" and "Foe Foe" are [[Music/{{Twiztid}} Jamie Madrox and Monoxide Child]], "Cell Block" is Music/BlazeYaDeadHomie, "Sawed Off" is Music/AnybodyKilla, and "Yung Dirt" is Music/{{Boondox}}[[/note]], even though the members wear bandannas over their faces in all of their public appearances, and they refrain from publicly acknowledging their identities. Because most of the group's songs use beats lifted from other artists, the producers at Creator/PsychopathicRecords release their music under a separate label to avoid legal trouble, and they don't officially acknowledge that the Rydas are all popular Psychopathic artists.
* The idea that the UK even ''had'' an [=MI5=] was never officially acknowledged until the 1989 Security Service Act. Four years later Stella Rimington was the first person to be officially identified as [=MI5=] Director-General. But everyone ''knew'' [=MI5=] existed and had an idea of what it did.
* Rituals of [[BrotherhoodOfFunnyHats Freemasons]]. Masonic lodges started to operate openly in 1717 and the first masonic exposé was published in 1724. Conspiracy nuts and the just plain curious love to publish (and read) the so called "secrets", but members still refuse to discuss them with outsiders because they have promised not to and masons consider themselves as [[IGaveMyWord men of their word]]. Also just reading the ritual instead of participating in it cannot give proper context.
* Music/{{Sia}}'s face. Just look at her [[Wiki/TheOtherWiki Other Wiki]] page.
* Spy satellites are usually classified by the countries that produce them, with everything up to the fact that spy satellites exist, being a secret. This is despite the fact that all it takes to detect a spy satellite is to...look up. Amateur star watchers can easily detect these and catalog of all satellites in space, including those used for spying, has been produced and recorded. The more tightly held secrets, as to what kind of data each satellite collects, may not be known by average citizens, but all major governments will have collected satellite emissions trajectories and from this generated a rather accurate estimation of exactly what the satellite is being used for. Politically every goverment will pretend none of these satellites exist, in reality it's generally assumed every goverment is fully aware of the existence, and general what is being collected, by every one of these satellites. The only real secret these satellites hold is possible how accurate their instruments are, and how closely the goverment is looking at the data they get back.