RE: Real-World Ethical Questions

Subject: RE: Real-World Ethical Questions
From: John Posada <JPosada -at- book -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 13:05:00 -0400

>>3 The knowledge that your sources of information that will dry up because
>>everyone's going to avoid telling you anything for fear that you'll decide
>>you don't like something for whatever reason and will become that point's
>I'm not really a knight errant, I'm more like a bird dog. I point, they
>shoot. Or not. It's up to them.

He did point. He did shoot. The PM spoke. He should make sure his notice to
the PM is in writing, and maybe he could CC his boss. My problem is deciding
that the response wasn't what he wanted, so he should run over to a
department that may or may not be technically adept with a scare that may or
may not be valid.

>>4 The knowledge that when they fire your butt for sticking your nose where
>>it doesn't belong and having customers cancel orders, you will have enough
>>money saved to handle the long period of unemployment.
>No doubt this is true in places that are highly politicized, where the
>success of the product is secondary at best, and where departments lie to
>one another as a matter of course. I've never worked in such places or had

His place seems to be one of those politicized environments. He's at his
place, not yours. If it was yours, by your description, he wouldn't have the
dilemma in the first place.

>Perhaps it's my years of management, but whenever a new fact crops up, one
>of the first questions I ask myself is, "Who needs to know?" Often
>execute badly because no one asked themselves this question, and people who
>are vitally interested don't find out until it's too late for them to react

He did. He made the project manager aware. The PM determined a course of
action. The problem I have is the advice that since the PM didn't react the
way he wanted, then it was up to him to try to find someone who would, even
if it was to go around him.

>>>Product X is intended for financial institutions, where security is
>>>important. There's a login/password authentication system. But, the
>>>product uses Internet Explorer as the interface. It's easy to bypass
>>>the system. I documented that, but the product manager told me to take
>>>it out, not because it wasn't true, but because he didn't want people
>>>to know it worked that way.

>>To do this requires the following:
>>1 An exceptional understand of exactly what it is in the interface that
>>makes you absolutely positive that the security breach applies to your
>>product, in the exact situation it is being used, with no possibility that
>>it isn't addressed by some other means some other place in the
>This was taken as a given from the problem, as presented.

I don't see that level of understand from the description. The post said:
>>>the product uses Internet Explorer as the interface. It's easy to bypass
>>>the system.

That's an in-depth understanding? For all we know, the poster simply knows
that IE has security holes.

John Posada
Senior Technical Writer
jposada -at- book -dot- com
NY: 212-414-6656
Dayton: 732-438-3372
Although she lives with seven other men, she's not easy.
------ Magic Mirror

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