wierd_w writes: According to business insider, the NSA is worried about the possible scope of information leaked from the agency, after a group calling themselves the "Shadow Brokers" absconded with a sizable trove of penetration tools and technical exploits, which it plans to sell on the black market.
Among the concerns, are worries that active operations may have been exposed. Business insider quotes an undisclosed source as stating the possibility of the loss of such security and stealth (eg privacy) has had chilling effects for the agency, as they attempt to determine the fullness and scope of the leak.
(Does anyone besides me feel a little tickled about the irony of the NSA complaining about chilling effects of possibly being monitored?)
wierd_w writes: Today I was presented with yet another agreement from my employer, as many if not all of us have been faced with in the past. This one however, strikes as as being the closest thing to pure evil I have ever encountered.
having read, and re-read the text of the agreement, i do not see any prohibitions on public discussion of the terms provided there-in, and so I thought I would make mention of the most eggregious sections, and seek feedback on if I should find new employment or suck it up and sign this faustian rag. (I fully understand that any members involved in the legal profession must protect themselves, and regardless of the outcome, will not hold any legally responsible for the contributions they may make.)
now, down to the dirtiness at hand.
aside from the normal language where they claim ownership of every idea and skill i posess, they also make several claims that in my (very much) unprofessional opinion are serious red flags telling me to run as fast as I can..... 6) Miscellaneous.
a) A breach of this Agreement will result in irreparable harm to the Company for which there is no adequate remedy at law, and the Company is entitled to injunctive relief and specific performance. The Company need not post a bond or other security to enforce its rights under this Agreement.
b) This agreement may not be modified, or terminated except in a writing signed by me, and a company officer. A waiver of breach of any provision of this Agreement will not operate as a waiver of any subsequent breach.
c) The unenforcability of any provision of this agreement will not limit any other provision's enforcability. If any provision is held unenforcable, that provision will be limited or construed to the minimum extent necessary to make it enforceable.
d) My obligations under this agreement continue after my employment ends.
e) This is not an employment contract. My employment is at-will.
f) This agreement will be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Washington, without reference to conflicts of law rules....
a) and d) especially scare the shit out of me.
the former uses loaded language that I feel should be illegal, because it presupposes a matter of fact that I personally do not find truth in; a cursory examination of civil contract law for the state of washington shows that there is no limit on the possible awarded damages for statutory compensation. My employer could pull a doctor evil, and hold me hostage for a hundred bazillion-million dollars, and be within existing legal remedy as far as I am able to determine. While i do agree that irreparable harm could come from unapproved disclosure of intellectual properties or secrets, i dispute that the available legal remedies are "not adequate." If any of you are more knowlegable about washington contract law, i would love to hear your informal opinions. As-is, i don't believe that this agreement is possible for me, since i simply do not agree with the language of that section of article 6, and cannot fathom how "unlimited statutory damages" cannot service suitable compensation, and why they feel that special injunctive relief and and specific performance are necessary. for any of our lawyer friends here that might shed some light on this, my eyes are peeled!
then there is section d) of the same article, which, when taken in context of e) (at will employment, and not a promise of continued employment) appears to amount to an agreement in purpetuity for a service rendered (at will employment) that by its very nature is decidedly temporal. perhaps they think that i will be exposed to industry secrets that require purpetual protection, but that is not rational, considering that *I* would be creating those "secrets", and the wording of the main body of the contract explicitly states that my "know-how" is included in the agreement. That would mean that my already extensive skillset prior to working here is on the table in this contract, and this agreement would essentially bar me from in any way disclosing anything i know to any unauthorized person, if a very strict interpretation was followed. I could accept a sunset with an absurd term, say 25 years, but not "infinity". Theoretically, i would have to acquire a completely new knowledgebase and find a completely different career if I accept this agreement then seek new employment, as best I comprehend it.
My current thought on a course of action is to seek a modified contract per section b), with a sunset provision, and a statement asserting "fullest extent possible by law" instead of the existing section a) of article 6, as I am actually capable of agreeing with those terms, and should provide more than enough protection to my employer, as I have no interests in stealing or proliferating any of their intelectual properties-- along with some kind of sunset provision for section d).
for the record, this is a fortune 500 company dealing in physical manufacture of aerospace components, but the language of the agreement covers *everything*, including computer code, sketches, diagrams, algorithms, et. al., including my "know-how". (it is specifically mentioned.) I also no not live in the state of washington, nor is the company headquartered there.
Should I bother with seeking to get an agreement I can actually sign in good faith, or should I just start looking for a new job?
wierd_w writes: The situation with the whitehouse.gov internet petition concerning the investigation of former senator, and current MPAA CEO Chris Dodd has gotten a little more interesting. In just under 3 days, the petition has exceeded 25,000 signatures, meeting the requirements for an official policy statement from the executive branch. Just how many signatures the petition will receive before the deadline of February 22 remains to be seen, but the official reply should be 'interesting' considering the impending elections.
wierd_w writes: Daniel Ellsberg: “EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.”
Due to the recent debates over the pros and cons between the wikileaks releases and those of the historic "Pentagon papers", Journalist Daniel Ellsberg, who released the pentagon papers in 1971, has written an editorial on the subject declaring that he rejects the mantra of “Pentagon Papers good; WikiLeaks material bad", and that further “That’s just a cover for people who don’t want to admit that they oppose any and all exposure of even the most misguided, secretive foreign policy. The truth is that EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.”