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Author of Paper Critical of Microsoft is Fired

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the suspicious-coincidences dept.

Microsoft 739

chongo writes "Daniel E. Geer Jr., one of the primary authors of a report Reliance On MS A Danger To National Security, was fired from @stake Thursday morning. @stake said that 'The values an opinions of the report are not in line with @stake's views' and that Geer's participation was 'not sanctioned.' Microsoft, who has worked closely with @stake in the past, denied that it was involved in @stake's decision to fire Dan." There might not be anything fishy going on at all, but that's no reason to stop making perfectly good conspiracy theories.

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SCO acquires a new business partner - GNAA (-1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060555)

Darl here, with another fine Fr1st P0st. After all -- SCO did everything first, and the rest of the responses to this story will owe their heritage to a foundation built on SCO's staff of talented programmers.

You may be wondering why SCO salesmen are not answering your numerous calls while you try to order more SCO licenses. Well, we aren't answering the phones because we're too busy celebrating our newest business partner. Rather than explaining it myself, I'll let our formal press release do the talking. Take it away, Mr. Reuters...

LINDON, Utah, Sept. 8/PRNewswire - FirstCall/ -- The SCO Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOX [yahoo.com] - News [yahoo.com]), the owner and licensor of the core UNIX operating system source code, today announced its second Fortune 500 clent for the SCO Linux IP license, the GNAA (Nasdaq: RHAT [yahoo.com] - News [yahoo.com]), developer of fine Slashdot trolls on irc.efnet.net #GNAA, also well-known for revolutionizing small business development with its "Step 2: ??????" profit model. The availability of the SCO Intellectual Property License for Linux affords Linux deployments to come into compliance with international law for the use of all 2.4 and future kernels. The run-time license permits the use of SCO's intellectual property, in binary form only, as contained in Linux distributions.

By purchasing a SCO Intellectual Property License, customers avoid infringement of SCO's intellectual property rights in Linux 2.4 and Linux 2.5 kernels and assure Darl financial security for the purchase of his second home. Because the SCO license authorizes run-time use only, customers also comply with the General Public License, under which Linux is distributed. Source may still be distributed under the terms of the GPL, however source distributors are held accountable for all violation of SCO's IP. Indemnification is provided for customers of runtime clients only. Read that twice, dirty hippy. You're not in the clear yet.

GNAA spokesperson penisbird said of the licensure, "coming into compliance affords us a new competitive advantage with the other Slashdot authors. By being in the right, we can thumb down our noses at not only the Windows users and the BSD-thieving Mac Users, but also the unwashed Linux hippies running stolen code on their parents' PCs." VP of anus enlargement goat-see added, "fr1st p0st? damn i miss. how do i next story?"

Mr. Darl McBride concurred with GNAA's analysis, adding "We soon hope to convince additional clients such as Trollklore and Cabal of Logged In Trolls of the benefits of licensing SCO's valuable IP. Also, I <3 GNAA bunny. (@.@)" JesuitX clarified the nature of the SCO and GNAA alliance, adding "We're more than just a licensing client. We're also going to be helping to bring these other potential licensors into compliance. We can break them in little by little as paying sublicensors. The alternative is pretty horrible. Our lawyers can take a reticent client from virgin to hello.jpg [figure 2 [yahoo.com]] in under an hour, and believe me -- it is not pleasant."

Commander Taco was unavailable for comment, however Cowboy Kneel was said to ask for a print of [figure 2] for his basement apartment. Simoniker remained British and unable to spell "color," while Timothy responded by posting the same story six times, and Hemos reposted a seventh time, the submission differing only from his application of that damned Einstein icon.

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.

________________________________________________
| ______________________________________._a,____ |
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ |
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ |
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ |
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ |
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ |
| _________#1__________?________________________ |
| _________j1___________________________________ |
| ____a,___jk_GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_ |
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ |
| ______-"!^____________________________________ |
` _______________________________________________'

Aah! My paper! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060557)

I'm not supposed to get jigs in it!

I'm sure he'll find a new job (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060562)

With a high paying open source company... oh wait, it's 2003, not 1998.

Re:I'm sure he'll find a new job (5, Interesting)

shrdlu (42466) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060729)

With a high paying open source company... oh wait, it's 2003, not 1998.


It's a sad state of affairs, but not surprising. It's been a long time since the "CIFS is caca" paper, and I lost respect for the l0pht back when *hobbit* was edged out. Mudge became "Dr. Mudge" (as if), and they all started running after the limelight. Sad, really. The Hacker News Network is long gone, and mudge is Pieter. It sucks for Dan, but it's just more of the same for the rest of us.


It takes a lot of nerve for Chris Wysopal to issue his little statement. Weld Pond would never have said something like that. Man, it's been a long path from BO2K to appeasing Microsoft. What a long, strange trip it's been. Sigh.

Spork Me! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060563)

Spork you [corplawblog.com] ! corplaw blog bitches!

Hey! (5, Funny)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060564)

Can I have his job? I can write well, and I can be non-critical of Microsoft software.

For instance, they have made great strides in improving Calculator and Notepad in recent versions of Windows.

Re:Hey! (1)

useosx (693652) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060591)

For instance, they have made great strides in improving Calculator and Notepad in recent versions of Windows. Yeah, they grudgingly added the "Ctrl-S" shortcut to save, as well as Copy, Cut, Paste, and Quit. Because those are, you know, "Pro" features that should be paid for.

Re:Hey! (0, Offtopic)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060638)

They also boosted the memory limitation of Notepad so that it can open files larger than 60 kilobytes. Definately a feature that distinguishes notepad from all the rest.

Re:Hey! (3, Informative)

bigberk (547360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060659)

They also boosted the memory limitation of Notepad so that it can open files larger than 60 kilobytes
That limitation was due to the inherent maximum capacity of 'edit controls' (64 K) in the Win95 stream of operating systems. Windows NT 4.0, though as old as Windows 95, never had such Notepad limitations.

Re:Hey! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060681)

This was not a "notepad" issue, it was the issue of a Edit Common Control, which (in early windows days) was limited to 64k characters.

Keeping that in mind, the said edit control in true 32 bit windows (Windows NT+) had no such limitations.

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060725)

BERYLLIUM is a WELL-KNOWN BEOS TROLL.
Just look at his post history!!!

Re:Hey! (0, Troll)

Angram (517383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060717)

You forgot Ctrl+A! That's the most important one!

Having to hit Ctrl+Home then Ctrl+Shift+End got on my nerves.

Talk bad about Bill (or George) and get fired! (1, Funny)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060569)

As you see the corporate world is just as powerful as government so watch what you say! Bill's still your boss! Oh and George Bush is your master if you arent wealthy.

!! LEFTY FLAMEBAITER !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060602)

Such sore loosers, sheesh.

FLAMEBAIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060641)

What an ass-retarded thing to say. And what the hell does George Bush have to do with this story? Fuck off, HanzoSan.

Re:FLAMEBAIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060683)

George Bush has everyhing to do with increasing the power of corrupt corporations you jerk!

Stop voting for racist Nazi republican's who use your fear to increase the size of government and rob you of your securities.

I'm so sick of you racists coming up with excuses for Bush.

Call a Ban / Burn (1)

SerpentDrago (703376) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060573)

BAN @stake or burn what ever your fancy ! errr what does @stake do neways before i go baning theam :)

Is slashdot really any better? (0, Interesting)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060590)



Try talking bad about Linux on Slashdot and I bet you'll get banned from this place. Be pro Microsoft or anti Apple and people will want to burn you like a witch from Salem!

Re:Is slashdot really any better? (4, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060643)

The difference is that your consulting job is not on the line when you post alternative viewpoints on Slashdot.

Now, if you get fired for reading too much Slashdot on company time, we are absolutely not responsible.

OFFTOPIC (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060666)

What in the hell does any of that have to do with this article? You've said nothing that hasn't been repeated, near-verbatim, in every other slashdot article at least 3 times.

Fuck off, HanzoSan (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060684)

We've had enough of your total lack of insight.

Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060704)

Too bad we can't ban him like he says is possible.

Can they do that? (4, Insightful)

connsmythe96 (576445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060580)

Did he do this on his own, or as an @stake employee? I find it rather disturbing that a company can fire you for something you do of your own accord. What's next, are companies who like to suck up to MS gonna fire you for developing a linux program?

Am I just being naiive, or does this bother other people too?

Re:Can they do that? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060627)

I find it rather disturbing that a company can fire you for something you do of your own accord.

So if I shit on the copier on my own accord I shouldn't be fired? The question is not whether this was company sponsored (which is wasn't) but whether he did it on company time and with company resources which is unclear in this article. Either way, depending on your contract, a company can fire you for almost any reason. It is then up to you to file an unlawful termination suit but a lot of companies can dredge up something to nail you with (like phone and website logs).

Re:Can they do that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060669)

That's not an apt comparison. It would be more alike if it were involving a Canon copiers division employee shitting on a Xerox, then making that public claiming that Xerox machines that have been shit apon are a threat to national security.

Re:Can they do that? (1)

barks (640793) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060730)

whether he did it on company time and with company resources.

Who cares whether it was or wasn't. Stop him if he lies - was he not accurate to say how more people use Windows as an operating system and thus it is therefore a threat to national security. I'm not sure what @stake's target market or mission statement is but from the product list I assume it's security...an employee that does his job by blowing the whistle that there's a security problem is not shitty on the copier, he's doing his job.

Re:Can they do that? (1)

E_elven (600520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060647)

It looks like he was just in 'a panel of experts', which would suggest he was on his own. Hopefully, if that is the case, there will be litigation. I think you can do whatever you please on your own time even in the US.

Re:Can they do that? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060697)

I think you can do whatever you please on your own time even in the US.

I also think that employers can fire employees if they please. Unless he can prove that he was discriminated against then he is pretty much out of luck.

I also don't think that Microsoft had to do anything. @stake just had to believe that Microsoft would never do business with them again.

Think about it this way - if I worked for Fox News and I wrote a scathing book about GWB on my own my own time then I shouldn't be surprised if I was fired the next day.

Re:Can they do that? (2, Funny)

E_elven (600520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060737)

>Think about it this way - if I worked for Fox News and I wrote a scathing book about GWB on my own my own time then I shouldn't be surprised if I was fired the next day.

What, you mean the 'free press', the 'watchdog of the government'?

He wrote it as if it was on @Stake's behalf (4, Insightful)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060674)

Did he do this on his own, or as an @stake employee?

The report itself [ccianet.org] stated quite clearly in several places that Dr Geer was the Chief Technical Officer of @Stake.

I can't find a disclaimer anywhere in the report saying that he wasn't representing @Stake, and yet he used it to back up his authoritarian position, and intentional or not it appear that he was speaking on behalf of the company he worked for.

Perhaps more details will emerge about what actually went on, but it does seem quite irresponsible to make it appear that you're speaking on behalf of a company if you're not... if that's what happened.

Re:Can they do that? (3, Insightful)

Gurudev Das (694832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060688)

@stake was acting in their own interest. For them, Microsoft is a potential customer and keeping good relations is what they had in mind.

Re:Can they do that? (1)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060693)

I manage a restaurant... if, on my free time, I go around talking about how bad the restaurant is or how crappy the product we buy is, shouldn't I get fired? A lot of contract employees have a various clauses in their contracts that allow for termination if the employee acts in a way, even outside of work, that reflects negatively on the business (see Marv Albert).

Re:Can they do that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060733)

I manage a restaurant... if, on my free time, I go around talking about how bad the restaurant
is or how crappy the product we buy is, shouldn't I get fired?


He didn't work for Microsoft, you FUCKEN TWONK!

Re:Can they do that? (1)

ChazeFroy (51595) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060713)

He put his company and his position at that company in the paper. To somebody who does not know the people who wrote the paper, it would appear to that person that the paper was officially endorsed by @stake.

are you serious? (1)

emkman (467368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060714)

Companies have every right to fire you for things you do outside your job. You represent your employer. If I work as a mechanic and I get convicted of rape, my company can understandably fire me.

Re:Can they do that? (2, Informative)

RedLeg (22564) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060743)

You are, depending on the labor laws in the state in question, and more importantly, in YOUR state, being EXTREMELY naive.


There is a concept known as "at-will employment", which basically states

"
that an employee is hired at-will and that employment can be terminated at the will of either party."
Almost every state in the US recognizes this concept in one form or another.


ObDisclaimer: IITGNAL (I Am, Thank Gawd, Not A Lawyer), this does not constitute legal advice, yada-yada-yada....
ObLinkage: Google [google.com] is your friend.

good guidelines (0, Troll)

Graspee_Leemoor (302316) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060581)

If someone denies something- they did it.

If they didn't do it they're more likely to say "WTF are you talking about, you madman?!"

graspee

Re:good guidelines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060687)

I did not shoot JFK.

Conspiracy theories? (5, Funny)

paroneayea (642895) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060584)

I bet it was... the Time Terrorists*!

*Time Terrorists also responisble for the destruction of the Titanic, the Hindenburg, and the creation of SCO.

Terry Gilliam would be proud... (2, Funny)

Cyclopedian (163375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060633)

...of the work of his fellow bandits [imdb.com].

Seriously though, that movie is full of great quotes...who remembers the Supreme Being saying "I am the supreme being, I am not entirely dim"? And Evil talking about God:

Evil: God is not interested in technology... He knows nothing of the potential of the micro-chip or the silicon revolution. He's obsessed with making the grass grow and getting rainbows right... Look at what he spends his time on. 43 species of parrot! Nipples for men!

/me goes out to buy on DVD...
-Cyc

Troller! Beware... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060586)

What did I say not a week ago? It's jail sex people... the business world is jailsex, and that guy Daniel just went ahead and had sex with someone else's bitch.

Time for a stupid joke... (5, Funny)

eu_neke (415715) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060587)

Looks like there was more "@stake" than he expected =p

(waits for groans)

The dangers of monoculture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060588)

The anti-Microsoft monoculture seems to be a danger to job security.

Yeah right... (-1, Flamebait)

JoeLinux (20366) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060592)

This just being a "Coincidence" is about as likely as Arafat proclaiming, "Live, and Let Live".

Yeah... (3, Funny)

fsterman (519061) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060594)

"Linux would be just as insecure, we swear!"- @stake.

Re:Yeah... (1)

harm5way (616066) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060654)

The last couple of years, @stake has published somewhat negative reviews of linux and other opensource operating systems in comparison with Windows, namely Windows 2000. (I wish I could find the links.) It seems that @stake wants to establish itself as a neutral industry analysis group like META. Clearly they don't want to jeopardize the potential income from Microsoft.

My head hurts... (4, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060599)

@stake said that 'The values an opinions of the report are not in line with @stake's views' and that Geer's participation was 'not sanctioned.' Microsoft, who has worked closely with @stake in the past, denied that it was involved in @stake's decision to fire Dan.

OK, if you need to mention a company's gimmicky, non-alphabetical name once, so be it. But all those @s are giving me a headache in a brain region I haven't had to use since we had that run of :CueCat stories.

The scary thing is that you could use 4tst4k3 repeatedly and I wouldn't blink at it. 47s74k3 would require some effort...

Re:My head hurts... (4, Insightful)

ChazeFroy (51595) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060631)

He put his company and title in the paper. If he did not clear that with his company before publishing this paper, @stake has every reason to fire him.

Not only can it be viewed as damaging to a big client (Microsoft, in this case), but it can also be viewed as competing with your own company since both @stake and the paper deal with security. I'm sure he signed a non-compete agreement with @stake when he was hired.

Re:My head hurts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060715)

Quoth the paper:
CCIA and the report's authors have arrived at their conclusions independently. Indeed, the views of the authors are their views and theirs alone.

Re:My head hurts... (1)

Snowdrake (139057) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060636)

The scary thing is that you could use 4tst4k3 repeatedly and I wouldn't blink at it. 47s74k3 would require some effort...

Proving that not only can we quickly decipher some words when the internal letters are transposed, but also when digits are substituted for certain letters. Quick! Alert the linguistics department!
</snark>

Easy key (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060698)

@stake came from some l0pht folks trying to make money,

The l0pht was mostly cult of the Dead cow people

No, no name here. what am i, stupid?

Good! (2, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060601)

I'm tired of people hashing out their stupid little pet peeves on the basis of 'national security'. Its inane and tiresome to hear people trump up the 'unassailable argument'. Oh now we can't challenge you because if we do we're rooting for terrorists.

Re:Good! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060635)

Why don't you try to challenge the argument he made, and see what happens, instead of complaining that your argument won't be accepted?

terrorists? (1)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060745)

If terrorising a 12 y/o girl and college students into settlements for sharing 1's and 0's isn't terrorism, then what is?

Oh yeah, I can't get a law rushed on this issue unless I can prove the RIAA is a threat to national security...

um.. (2, Insightful)

micronix1 (590179) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060605)

dont these places have editors? surely, a story that would have gotten someone fired wouldnt get approved.

How easy is it to put something online? (1)

Marnhinn (310256) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060702)

Most places have editors - but to an extent, writers are given the right to publish what they want.

The reason being, if you write something for say, the Times, it will be printed millions of times - the cost of that involved is a lot, so there are many safeguards in check to prevent unauthorized publications. To upload something to the Internet, requires far less effort, therefore, fewer safegaps and stopguards are in place. If it took several million dollars to publish a paper in the web... you bet there would be good editors and whatnot.

Simply a matter of dollars and cents. However, if the paper had gotten less publication, he would have still had a job.

WTF? (1)

atarola (601134) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060606)

That sucks, I guess you can not say anything anymore without risking being fired. Especially since the writers of that document say that they dont speak for their companies. There goes free-speech. Cheers, atarola

Lost the source code to write.exe too! (1)

chamilto0516 (675640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060608)

I read the article. I wonder if my job is at stake too! How far do the hands of Microsoft reach?

The other half (4, Funny)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060613)

And, in other news, in an SEC filing, Microsoft has disclosed a cash "gift" to a company called @stake.

Said Microsoft spokesman: "It's a voluntary contribution, with much at stake. ".

just saving their asses, may be? (1)

tychorose (708423) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060614)

may be he was just "temporarily" fired until the dust settles and Microsoft forgets about the whole thing... and then he'd be rehired... that's what i would do if i were a company and i were terrified of Microsoft...

Conspiracy Theories... (0, Offtopic)

darkvizier (703808) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060615)

Its just *us* and *them*! Mel Gibson was right! Dear God no, I thought that was a movie! Time to start boobie trapping the house!

This is why slashdot... (3, Interesting)

rritterson (588983) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060617)

While the firing was unecessary and I don't agreee with it in the slightest. (How can your participation be 'unauthorized'?), it's the editorial tagline that really irks me.

You, slashdot editor, member of the press, are actually encouraging and suggesting that false and misleading information be interpolated from a small number of facts. Sure, a healthy skepticism and more investigation is required to determine why he was fired but i think an editorial remark with a message consisting of:

"This isn't really big news, but if we pretend like all sorts of mysterious things are happening that we don't know about, it will be."

Those sorts of things happen on their own more than enough as is; encouraging it is just unecessary.

Re:This is why slashdot... (1)

Shippy (123643) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060716)

While the firing was unecessary and I don't agreee with it in the slightest. (How can your participation be 'unauthorized'?)

It became unauthorized the moment he slapped "CTO, @Stake" to the end of his title. Being an executive of the corporation, he had the responsibility to realize that no matter what he says, people are going to feel that it's the company's standpoint as well. It doesn't matter if you agree with that or not, but it's the way people perceive things. If he wanted to do his own thing, he should've slapped "security expert with 30 years of experience" or something else by his name.

No conspiracy theory required (4, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060629)

@the Stake fired him because they didn't want to piss off Microsoft. From their point of view it was better to sacrifice an obviously capable and smart employee at the altar of commerce than potentially endanger their working relationship with Microsoft.

I guess that's where the phrase, "power corrupts" comes from, eh?

29th post!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060630)

Read it and weep, biatch whores!!!!

Microsoft blames human nature (4, Insightful)

catbutt (469582) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060640)

Well actually it was Computing Technology Industry Association, but they are funded by MS. The say "the report is flawed by "myopically looking to technology (i.e., 'bad' software OS) instead of addressing the underlying cause -- human behavior -- for cyber breaches." "

So basically if humans just would stop being mean or stupid, there wouldn't be any problems.

Isn't that sort of like blaming plane crashes on gravity? I mean, human nature is what it is. There will be virus writers, there will be people who don't always install the patches right away.

What are they suggesting, that we try to change human nature? Genetically engineer better humans? How about they take human nature as a given (like gravity to an aeronautical engineer), and then fix the damn product?

Re:Microsoft blames human nature (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060727)

(I should have mentioned, the quote I referenced was from this article [washingtonpost.com] about the same thing, which I guess is not referenced in the slashdot story. Personally I think it is a better article.)

You have to watch for these conspiracies (1)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060644)

Before releasing a scathing report about a megacorporation.
Especially one that has a noticable business arangement with your employer.
Make sure that all of your upper management have their tin foil hats firmly in place.
Alternatively publish your story under an alias.
Try Anonymous Coward.

Swirl to the left or swirl to the right? (1)

RedLeg (22564) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060650)

Un-fscking-believable.....

Dan Geer was one of the few, if not the only, old school information security professional at @Stake. This canning, apparently for calling a spade a spade, combined with persistent rumours of mental health issues with one of their other prominent principals make me wonder if they are gonna circle the bowl to the left or to the right as they go down the hole.....

Once Again (0, Troll)

Jack Comics (631233) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060653)

... Another moron that doesn't realize that if he bites the hand that feeds him, maybe, just maybe, it will bite back. Good riddance.

Re:Once Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060739)

wow. your patheticnessnessness is, well, pathetic.
good riddance to you, you spineless gnat. (not to be confused with gnu, a large and formidable beast with a strong spine.

Oh, "Critical"? (4, Funny)

Karpe (1147) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060655)

I read that as "Author of Paper Clip of Microsoft is Fired". It sounded much more exciting.

From what I see it was his personal opinion... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060658)

in the report. It doesn't state that "@Stake reports... blah blah" It states that "A leading panel of experts" who happened to be headed by a guy that worked at @Stake - released the report.

Personally I think Dan Greer should sue @Stake for invalid dismisal based upon personal opinions he expressed while not on company time.

History (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060663)

Didn't @stake used to be the guys who made all the L0pht script kiddie tools? How the tables have turned...

Geer was doing @stake a favor working there (5, Interesting)

Dunedain (16942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060664)

Thanks to Google's cache, this is Dr. Geer's bio from @stake. I had the opportunity to hear him speak once, and he sounded about as brilliant as the following description would make you think:

Daniel E. Geer, Jr., Sc.D.

Chief Technology Officer

Daniel E. Geer, Jr., Sc.D. oversees the strategy and direction of @stake's approach to digital security. Over the last thirty years, Dr. Geer has led the application of technology in medical computing, distributed systems management, electronic commerce, and digital security. After fifteen years in the Harvard medical establishment, he variously served in senior leadership roles for MIT's groundbreaking Project Athena, Digital Equipment Corporation's External Research Program, Open Market, OpenVision Technologies (now Veritas), CertCo, and now @stake. His security consulting firm, Geer Zolot, was the first of its kind.

An expert in modern security protocols and business metrics, Dr. Geer has been called upon to testify before Congress on multiple occasions. Dr. Geer speaks and publishes regularly on a range of issues in digital security; his November 1998 speech, "Risk Management is Where the Money Is," has been widely quoted, warranting both reprint as a special issue of the RISKS Digest and prompting editorial comment in Wired Magazine. His bibliography is deep and continuing, and with Avi Rubin and Marcus Ranum, he is co-author of The Web Security Sourcebook.

He holds a Sc.D. in Biostatistics from Harvard University's School of Public Health as well as an S.B. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. His professional involvement includes a decade of leadership within USENIX, the advanced computing systems association, of which he is past president. He today serves as an advisor to the board of the Financial Services Information Sharing & Analysis Center (FS/ISAC) under the auspices of the US Dept. of the Treasury, as well as similar fiduciary and non-fiduciary roles for a select number of promising startups.

Wow, bonanza! (5, Insightful)

mveloso (325617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060667)

I'm sure the author can sue for unlawful termination. He might even get triple damages!

Gotta love those @stake guys. Here's a relevant quote from their website:

"@stake has assembled the best minds in digital security to help you understand and mitigate the security risks inherent in your business model, so that you can maximize the opportunity in front of you. We help you make the hard decisions about what matters most in your business, so that your security investment has the greatest impact. We work in the space where your business and technology meet, because we believe that this is where security is most powerful."

Talk about blowing it out both ends. You can read their ethical [atstake.com] and guiding principles [atstake.com] as well.

This is what l0pht has turned into?

A Fair And Balanced Look (1)

endx7 (706884) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060672)

Remember Al Franken's book? He was sued because off his play on the FOX news slogan.

While this isn't quite the same, one can hope it might bring some publicity because this guy was fired for critizing Microsoft. It'll be like "Remember that guy who got fired for critizing Microsoft?" "Yeah, of course I remember him. Microsoft's big and dangerous, and something really has to be done about them."

I'm crossing my fingers here.

conspiracy theories (1)

Badanov (518690) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060679)

but that's no reason to stop making perfectly good conspiracy theories.

Well slashdot is certainly the place for conspiracy theories.

This shouldn't be a surprise (5, Insightful)

signe (64498) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060680)

If you sign an employment agreement, you'd better stick to it.

In particular, you shouldn't publish a paper without running it by corporate communications first. You especially shouldn't publish a paper that might be critical of a partner or customer without doing this. You know why? Exactly. You get fired. For violating your employment agreement. If you don't agree with the things that you signed, you shouldn't have signed them. Hell, even if you have permission to publish the paper, you might want to think twice about publishing a paper which is critical of a rather large customer.

When I worked at AOL, I tried to get some of the execs to realize that some of the employees could be a powerful force in the technical community to raise the image of the company. Just the ability to explain some of the things that weren't confidential, correct some of the misconceptions. It wouldn't be a magical transformation, but it would be an effort. And actually joining the community would be a big step. Peer review and PR oversight could both be used to help make sure that more incorrect information didn't go out, or that the wrong things didn't go out.

Noone wanted to talk about it. My assumption is that noone I got to wanted to rock the boat, and noone responsible trusted the employees. It's too bad really. But even with something like that in place, this type of paper would never pass muster. Not through a peer review, and not through PR. You just don't criticize a large customer. Especially a customer with as much money as Microsoft.

-Todd

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise (-1, Offtopic)

dcollins (135727) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060741)

Noone wanted to talk about it. My assumption is that noone I got to wanted to rock the boat, and noone responsible trusted the employees.

"Noone" is not a word. The phrase "no one", however, is proper usage.

This is why ... (4, Insightful)

tessaiga (697968) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060685)

university professors are tenured. Speaking your mind on controversial topics can have hazardous consequences for your career.

This really is something Greer should have seen coming. He published a highly critical, highly-publicized report bashing his consulting company's biggest client. Whether it is true or not is irrelevant; that the client was Microsoft is irrelevant -- replace "MS" with "Sun" or "Oracle" or any other company you like, and I bet his higher-ups still wouldn't be happy about it. You may not like who you work for, but it's not a good idea to bite the hand that feeds you.

Would Anyone Like to Take @Stake's Side? (1)

querencia (625880) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060692)

The guy's opinion was very obviously true to most of us. Is there any way that @Stake is not a joke now? There are two sides to everything. Someone, please explain the other side of this one. I don't get it.

More CTO openings at security consultancies...? (5, Interesting)

slashdot_commentator (444053) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060699)

Bruce Schneier, the chief technology officer for Counterpane Systems Inc., worked with Geer on the report. He said security experts contacted to help work on the report critical of Microsoft indicated their support but couldn't participate publicly. ``There is a huge chilling effect based on Microsoft's monopoly position,'' Schneier said. ``It's unfortunate that AtStake put its private agenda ahead of intellectual integrity.''

Lets hope Bruce still has his job by the end of the week.

Whither l0pht Heavy Industries? (2, Informative)

Citizen_Kang (35179) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060700)

Just so everybody knows:

This is the same @stake that was formed from the l0pht heavy industries (www.l0pht.com) of old. Says itsecurity.com's Computer Security Dictionary of l0pht:

L0pht Heavy Industries
"A Boston-based group of hackers interested in free information distribution, finding alternatives to the Internet and testing the security of various products. Their web site houses the archives of the Whacked Mac Archives, Black Crawling Systems, Dr. Who's Radiophone, the Cult of the Dead Cow, and others. Current membership includes Mudge, Space Rogue, Brian Oblivion, Kingpin, Weld Pond, Tan, Stefan von Neumann and Megan A. Haquer. They can be reached at info@l0pht.com and maintain a web site at http://www.l0pht.com."

Hacker's Encyclopedia, by Logik Bomb (FOA), http://www.xmission.com/~ryder/hack.html, (1997- Revised Second Edition)

I wonder if good old mudge still works there? It's amazing what a little money'll do, eh?

Wayback machine (1)

Quixote (154172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060707)

to the rescue. Checkout what they had to say about him at the Wayback Machine [archive.org].

IMHO, firing such a senior guy in this fashion is usually done only when your cojones are in a vice being tightened at a rapid pace...

Welcome to the new feudalism (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060708)

Greetings, serf! Welcome to 21st century feudalism. Remember these simple rules:

  • All your ideas are belong to us. [slashdot.org]
  • Thoughcrime on company time is grounds for dismisal. This includes criticism of your lord's corporate allies.
  • All your time is company time.

We look forward to several decades of exploiting you. Thank you.

Saw @stake employee on tv... (5, Interesting)

Read Icculus (606527) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060709)

I was watching a US House of Reps "Worms and cyber security" subcommmitee on C-SPAN the other day. Testifying before the Congressmen were the following - Microsoft Corp senior security strategist Philip Reitinger, VeriSign VP Kenneth Silva, Lawrence Hale, director of the Federal Computer Incident Response Center, Christoper Wysopal consultant for @stake Inc, some other Russian security consultant, and a few other random folks.

The chairman of the committee asked the Verisign PHB and the two consultants if there were any security benefits in running open-source software, and which was more secure, open or closed. I almost shat myself. Here was the perfect opportunity to hear some glowing reviews of open source. Instead the two consultants, who seemed decently knowledgeable, and long winded on all other issues merely said that there are flaws in all types of software, and they would "guess" that the frequency of security flaws were the same as for closed source. Although the guy from @stake did mention that the theory behind open source security was that "the more eyes, the better", he also countered it with noting that most users of open source wouldn't be able to fix the code when a vulnerability was found.

That was it. No detailed explanation about anything. Just a brush off that was not quite as long as their testimony on why ipv6 wouldn't offer any extra security over ipv4. Luckily the Verisign bastard was there to add his two cents. To paraphrase him - "I would agree with their, (the consultants) testimony, but I would like to add that often the people who write open source software are not professionals". Then he took another shot mentioning "that often worms affect open-source software too". Often... I wonder what he considers "often". How can he even trot out the word "often" to describe the frequency of worms that affect open-source software when there are millions of Windows boxes that are constantly being hit by worms. He then added - "We must resist the temptation to demonize software vendors and other members of the network community. The finger pointing is often misplaced and in most cases does more harm than good." It was quite the interesting hearing, and gives me a bit of insight into what kind of info our Government is getting about open source.

Researchers beware! (4, Insightful)

ljavelin (41345) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060712)

As many, many researchers know, this is why so much commercial research is flawed - there are too many strong influences out there that taint the data.

This is the first overt firing that I've heard of in the IT industry, but I'm sure there have been thousands that we just never heard of.

Just think of those poor researchers at the cigarette companies - you know, the ones where if you found that there was a link between cigarettes and cancer, well, you must be fired.

Or the researchers for pharmacuticals... where if you find that drug X doesn't help cure Y, then you shouldn't expect any grant money next year. Yeah, not fired, but certainly the same net result.

The fact is that research SHOULD be independent. I don't know or care if this guy's paper was right or wrong. But it should be the research community, not MBAs, who decide the quality of research. Period.

I think that firing this guy due to his research is wrong. It looks like he was fired for financial relationship reasons, not because his study was consistently rejected by the research community. Should his employers be considered biased? As a potential customer, should I trust this company? If they are motivated more by their relationship with microsoft versus upholding the truth, I'll never recommend anyone to do business with them. And it looks like they are, and so I'll make sure they're scratched off the list.

Uh oh. (1)

E_elven (600520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060718)

Hopefully /. won't follow suit firing anti-MS writers. Then again, no more duplicates.. hard one.

It's too bad... (2, Interesting)

frenztech (302220) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060721)

...that he decided to list his company affiliation in the list of authors. Most companies require any paper that goes external to go through a review and approval process, which would catch any differences in opinion between the author and the entity which that author represents in title.

I personally agree with the paper, too bad @Stake lost such a valuable employee. OS diversity can be a great asset in system security, as it keeps an attacker on their toes. However, administration becomes that much more complicated of course : |

@Stake code of ethics sez: (4, Interesting)

bourne (539955) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060726)

"[employees] agree to: Issue public statements, advisories, and the like only in an objective, fact-based and truthful manner while in the course of our job responsibilities." [atstake.com]

Interesting. Does that mean that employees should only issue statements in the course of their job responsibilities? Or that job statements must be objective, fact-based and truthful but personal statements can be whatever they want? This latter interpretation seems to conflict with their action.

I don't think Dan Geer will have trouble finding a new job. However, it is an interesting reflection of what @Stake has become. Look at their management team [atstake.com]. Looks awfully VC to me.

This is the road America is headed down (0, Troll)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060731)

unless all of us do something about it. As long as Bush is in office, you can continue to kiss your god-given freedoms goodbye. But aren't you just engaging in hyperbole, you say? Hmm, well, lessee, put all the reports about stuff like this on one side of the scales, and all the (one, two?) reports about the government protecting our freedoms or, , increasing them on the other, and watch it come crashing down.

The freedom to speak, to publish, and to create are under the greatest threat they've been since the McCarthy years. Speak up now, or you will be silenced.

Dunno (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060732)

There's a big differnce between an academic and sound treatise, and a politically motivated zealot's rant.

Most people can be terminated at will. Maybe they didn't want a politically motivated basher working for them.

I doubt MS got the guy fired. Why? It would just lead to these conspiracy theories, and it's not like it could stop the guy from writing papers.

He'll probably just do it full time now. He can move in with RMS and Stallman.

Normally I would not do something like this, but.. (1)

qmrq (648586) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060736)

$ wget -r www.atstake.com

That'll fix their wagon..

A Prisoner's Dilemma (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7060738)

My phone just rang, but I couldn't bring myself to answer. Torn between my desire for company and my furiously raging insecurities, I let the call go to voicemail.

The message she left confirmed my worst fears--and my sole exhilaration.

"Call me when you get this," comes her throaty whisper. "I'll be up 'til late tonight."

But I dare not call back, for I am a prisoner; I am the warden; I have swallowed the key and left myself to starve.

It's been close to eleven months since last I had sex, and sometimes I still find myself thinking of that furtive adventure; that girl was smart and sexy, with a piercing wit and an innocent smile that used to light my loins on fire. The girl who left me a message just now is cute, sporty, playful and endearingly awkward, but there is simply no comparison with what I passed up last year. And, oh God, I wonder if I should settle tonight for less.

Real problem (1)

Guardian9 (699593) | more than 10 years ago | (#7060740)

The real problem I have with this whole issue is that he did not imply or state in his report that @stake was sanctioning it in any way. The only @stake mention is in his title and his biography. If that can be construed in any way shape or form that @stake somehow approved of the report then someone has to go somewhere in a hand basket.
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