Steve Dix...Comedian?

Raptus Regaliter

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29.10.2004 13:18 - Not Afraid To Blog

I discovered this article via a collegue\'s blog.

It discusses whether or not people should be afraid to keep a public diary about their work.

Well, I largely disagree.  I will not be discussing my current employer here at all, because when I joined I signed a confidentiality agreement.  I am not new to confidentiality agreements, having signed the U.K. Official Secrets Act in my first real job, back in the days before the first Iraqi war, when the Iron Curtain was yet to be replaced with a trendy set of wood-effect blinds.  I worked for a defence contractor, and worked on installations and programs of a highly-secret nature. (Before anyone in MI5 starts ringing the Clangers[1] to get me exiled to The Village, it was nearly 15 years ago and I didn\'t have access to anything of any real secrecy at all. Oh, and hello to all the guys and gals at GCHQ at Cheltenham, hope you\'re enjoying the blog).  In my present job, I occasionally have access to information which is commercially confidential, and so I avoid discussing it as a matter of point.  Both I and my girlfriend, who works for a bank and has access to similar confidential information, realise that there are things that you keep your mouth shut about.

And thereby hangs my point.  It\'s all very well having a blogosphere and discussing how you, as a Ford engineer, have come up with a wonderful new powertrain (to take the example discussed in the article).  However, the commerical exploitability of this idea relies somewhat on the fact that your company has it, and not GM.  It also relies on keeping a competitive lead, which means that by just talking about it, your opposite number at GM now realises that your company is researching such a product, and so the competitive lead has been cut by the simple fact that they know you\'re working on it.

I would also like to point out that this is not contradicting what I have previously advocated on \"Software patents\".  I feel that software is more than adequately covered by copyright, and that software patents are nothing more than a big stick being employed by large corporations to abuse and extort money from smaller competitors before doing a GEC and swallowing them whole.

[1]  The UK equivalent of \"M.I.B.\"s who would turn up and ask very awkward questions in the event of a security breach.

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