If you had his background and the job in question, could you morally continue? No. If you were his employer and were involved in such things, could you continue employing him? No.
Nothing may have been said, even between Schneier and BT, but consider that every contract out there has a "don't badmouth your old employer" clause these days.
Glad to see Schneier leaving. I thought it was hypocritical of him working for BT given his recent improvement in position publicly around the Snowden releases. I have renewed respect for him.
The big problem with journalism right now is the complete disconnect between the journalist and their understanding of the topic. Just look at every software or bitcoin article. This is largely because of the internet's turn-around speed requirements and low pay. They have no time to invest in learning about the topic.
The only way to save journalism is if we start contributing to it like we do OSS. Instead of paying people minimum wage and expecting quality results, we have people who contribute articles on the side.
But not just anybody writing (like blogging), but people who invest in learning how to write - working with full-time editors who manage the input and source writers.
A good chunk of news requires personal presence and connection. For example, if you're covering a state legislature or a city government, you just have to spend a lot of time getting to know legislative staff and other people around the capitol or city hall. And you have to have enough readership for them to be willing to talk to you. You might be able to do that in your spare time for a small town, but I don't think it's possible for anything more substantial.
The same is true of investigative journalism. Deep stories take months of research and writing. They take real budgets, real skills, real editorial backing.
I write a lot for fun, and have for years. But there's only so far that fun can take you, and those places don't include the most important societal functions of journalism.
Journalists tend to have their own cultural biases--although more on political topics than technical ones. But, even if I won't write things I don't believe, I still choose the topics I discuss in public.
Glenn Greenwald actually argues for transparency in advocacy rather than pretending that an objective journalist even exists. Long-winded conversation about it here:
Also check Paid Content for a bit of a summary:
You're on to more than you give yourself credit for there. Much modern journalism is an integral part of the political system, and many papers fit into your $PROPRIETARY_COMPANY variable quite neatly.
There is some separation between party and paper, but I think as far as politics goes, we're pretty close to the hypothetical situation you describe.
I was an engineering major but I was involved with newspapers in various respects through school and there was definitely a certain "perspective" with the mainstream publications.
I really love the idea of this, but I think its infeasible given time constraints in every industry, including press. I do think there is room and cross-disciplinary talent in media organizations for a journalist reporting on a (for example) programming heavy topic to grab someone from their engineering staff to collaborate and then share a by-line. If you have someone with domain knowledge in-house you might actually save research time and get a better article even with more people working on it.
Though some of the bias might be naturally eliminated as the quality of journalists is improved.
Much less likely to have bias or feel pressure from their newsroom bosses.
His columns and blog posts are certainly mass-appeal compatible.
It seems a little odd to call this "stealth"; the more typical stealth startup has announced only its name, and none of that other stuff!
Feel sad for BT employees though. With a company culture like this I don't think it's much of an attraction for smart, innovative folk.
It is true that firing employees does expose an employer to litigation / tribunal, which can be expensive. However, an employer that is doing stack ranking and is prepared for that sort of thing would not fall victim to the usual things that get companies in trouble - not having good enough performance metrics to justify firing the only X in that department, or assigning unpleasant work to employees to drive them out (which can be seen as constructive dismissal).
I have also noticed some large companies hiring the bulk of their staff as contractors, and 'firing' them for 3 days a year so that they don't become employees. This would make them basically at will employees, but I am not sure how well this would stand up if tested.
This book is cool:
> Underperformed is a fair reason, and formal stack ranking is a fair process (i.e. no discrimination).
Would you say that the legal definition of fair was that the outcome was non-discriminatory (for instance, not occurring on the basis of race, gender etc)? It seems to me that the system goes further than that, and is specifically designed to prevent employees from being fired because 'they didn't fit in', but rather for clear-cut performance reasons, and it would be trivial to argue that stack ranking was measuring the former, not the latter. i.e. you could argue, and it could well be the case, that your low ranking within a team was due to being outside a clique, or due to internal politics, and it didn't represent a fair measurement of performance.
It's also very easy to manipulate and leads to massive gaming on the system one guy i knew was going for a promotion and was spending so much time in prep that as my boss said "he hasn't done any real work in the last 6 months"
And soory if that sounded harsh but you can manipulate any PRP system to get that result - it was an openly admitted fact that every year the scores where manipulated to put the right number of people in the CAT 4 (in need of improvement) who where targeted for redundancy.
Even getting a CAT 2 or 1 wouldn't keep pace with inflation
You couldn't just point blank fire the bottom x% each year based on their ranking, you'd need to give the bottom x% warnings and put them on an improvement plan (so they have a chance to improve) and then, for those that don't, you can sack them.
Even then it may be tricky if you are cutting too deeply. Taking it to the extreme you couldn't use this method to fire the bottom 99% of employees as a tribunal would take that as constructive dismissal.
Firing the bottom 5%, after appropriate warnings/etc, is in the realms of possibility as there's a good chance that the employer can provide documentary proof that the employees fired were performing below expectations should a disgruntled employee take them to tribunal (which, sadly, now costs the dismissed employee £250 to file the claim and £950 if it goes to a hearing.)
MBO's cause quarterly firedrills/death marches to get "something out" - objective reached! In the resulting bloodbath it's the IC's who get hung out to dry.
Also there are just too many people, with too many kingdoms, trying to do too many things in slightly different ways. There are so many 30 year vets who have their domain, and will sabotage projects that threaten it. There are some good 30 year vets who drive change, but unsurprisingly they don't get very far, and are aware that they are about to leave things in the hands of 20 year people who gleefully look forward to inheriting a job for the next 15+ years... :-/
BT is broken up into several independent companies. The business of physically laying last-mile copper and fibre and connecting customers is done by Openreach, who are required by OFCOM (the telecoms regulator) to provide fair and non-discriminatory access to their services to any communications company.
The same applies to BT Wholesale, who maintain the network and provide access to that network to communications companies. BT Retail are the company who send you glossy leaflets, but they have to compete under exactly the same terms as any other company - they pay the same prices to Openreach and BT Wholesale as Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk or anyone else.
In addition, there's a completely independent fibre network operated by Virgin Media that covers the majority of households, and national coverage for HSPA from five different mobile operators. Brits love to complain about broadband, but I think we've got it pretty good.
And as a BT.A shareholder and ex employee I must admit to enjoying the fact that buzby is kicking that nice Mr Murdoch in the nads in football
And even if I did, that still doesn't involve BT.
I don't have a BT phone cable at my house though, so would need to pay for that to be installed if I wanted to go down that route.
I just object to not being allowed to use the hardware already installed with a provider entirely of my own choice, which would be the most efficient way to run infrastructure businesses.
There's also the cable option, but if you go down that route then you're actually more tied in to a single provider for services than with PSTN/ADSL.
My current house had BT at some point (there's a BT access box in a cupboard, but it's not connected to anything), but it was gone before I moved in - I'm guessing either as a result of some roadworks having cut through the wires or possibly a BT upgrade of their infrastructure, but as the people who lived there before me were on what was Diamond Cable at the time, BT clearly didn't bother doing whatever was involved in rewiring the house back in.
My only real complaint about them is trying to work out how to actually get the £50 Sainsbury voucher they promised when I signed up. Fortunately this seems to be the only part of the process that suffers from the old-style BT Kafkaesque processes....
Ironically abroad BT is often seen as the fast new innovative disrupting company when compared to incumbent telcos.
And techcruch guys "ouster" are we channeling variety now!!!
As knowledge workers become more important, then it's the personal capabilities (and integrity) that matter most - and that's not something that can be applied across a 100,000 person "enterprise" or mandated in policy procedures.
We shall see smaller companies, and more fragmentation of working relationships - so protect that reputation and that brand folks !
Out of all of the possible titles they could have chosen for him, they chose this? Just lump him in with the other millions of humans that are critical of surveillance?