Chip Salzenberg writes "In April of this year, Health Market Science of King of Prussia, PA, told police that they feared I was misappropriating trade secrets. That very afternoon, police raided my house with a search warrant to seize every computer in the house, paper files, CDs, and DVDs... even my wireless router and cable modem!" Chip was the pumpking for perl's 5.004 release. Keep reading for his description of his current legal troubles, and for a shortcut into what he says prompted his former company's actions, read his letter warning about abuse of open proxies.
Chip continues: "The key evidence in the search warrant was so ridiculous as to be surreal: CVS logs indicating that I downloaded more than I uploaded, and that I sometimes accessed the company network from home. Apparently, for company management, the police, and a judge, working at home through a gateway the company set up for that very purpose, and refraining from editing every source file for every code change, is a sign of nefarious behavior.
My behavior in accessing the company network was entirely within my job description and in no way involved misappropriation of anything. For the more than two years that I worked at HMS, I used ssh and CVS to access company files with my laptop both from work and home, with management knowledge and approval.
What would lead management to such a sudden action? Days beforehand, I had made an internal report of unethical and apparently illegal behavior by the company: Use of open proxies for web harvesting to avoid blockage by web site operators. HMS apparently decided that working with me to address their use of open proxies was not an option.
Health Market Science is a large corporation with, compared to me, effectively infinite resources. My legal bills have topped $40K already over just two months. If HMS succeeds in tarring me with their false accusations, what's to stop your employer or client from doing the same to you, should your relationship sour?
Friends have set up GeeksUnite.net, an informational web site and Legal Defense Fund. The site includes the search warrant, my letter about open proxy abuse, and court documents.
Please contribute to my Defense Fund to fight this attack on the normal and legal work practices of millions of tech workers. Every little bit counts! If every person who visits the site contributes only ten dollars, that will make a huge difference. Only through community effort can we protect ourselves."