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Perl's Chip Salzenberg Sued, Home Raided

jamie posted more than 9 years ago | from the whistleblower dept.

The Courts 698

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."

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698 comments

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SS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12954824)

ED

I'm the pimpking for our product! (2, Interesting)

Radres (776901) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954846)

WTF is a pumpking?

Re:I'm the pimpking for our product! (2, Informative)

cranos (592602) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954856)

I'm guessing something like a release manager.

Re:I'm the pimpking for our product! (5, Informative)

ReverendHoss (677044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954885)

The person in charge of maintaining the Perl code used to have (still has?) a stuffed pumpkin they used to pass around. Project manager is a good parallel.

Re:I'm the pimpking for our product! (2, Funny)

ratajik (57826) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954893)

Evidently, it's a pumkin head puking out a bunch of seeds: http://www.bewitchingways.com/images/pumpking.jpg [bewitchingways.com]

At least according to Google...

Re:I'm the pimpking for our product! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12954979)

LOL. Bet those seeds would make a mess of a tape drive.......

Re:I'm the pimpking for our product! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12954895)

The superior officer of a Squash Squire?

Uh... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12954862)

If his version of events is true, then wouldn't there exist whistleblower protection laws he can seek refuge under?

Re:Uh... (4, Insightful)

n0-0p (325773) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954994)

Laws do exist, but the simple reality is that most whistle blowers still get screwed and are never able to work in their respective industry again. That's probably why he tried to resolve the problem internally first, although creating a paper trail exposing misconduct can scare management just as bad.

Am I missing something? (2, Interesting)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954867)

You accuse the company, in writing, of illegal and immoral acts, yet you don't resign? What did you think they were going to do, make you an SVP?

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

danikar (896514) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954882)

Maybe he is waiting for them to fire him so he can collect his unemployment =)

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955245)

You do not get unemployment when you are fired. I worked in HR for a while and I denied many people unemployment claims who were fired.

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

dolphinling (720774) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954897)

For the more than two years that I worked at HMS,...

That's in the past tense, so I'd expect he was already gone from the company when this happened.

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954915)

Read the timeline on the website. It sure doesn't look that way.

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

dolphinling (720774) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954991)

Eeeh.. Slashdotted. What's it say?

It says (2, Informative)

waynegoode (758645) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955078)

Eeeh.. Slashdotted. What's it say?

skip to: page content [slashdot.org] | links on this page [slashdot.org] | site navigation [slashdot.org] | footer (site information) [slashdot.org]
We need your support - Please mirror this site. Donate Now.
Welcome to GeeksUnite.net -->
About the Site Content Who is Chip? [slashdot.org] About A & C [armstrongcarosella.com] Open Source [opensource.org] perl [perl.org] Parrot [parrotcode.org]

[slashdot.org]
CONTRIBUTE NOW to the Chip Salzenberg Defense Fund...

MIRROR THIS SITE
Spread the word. This can be any one of us.

To email us the url, get the latest info or just say "Hi" info@geeksunite.net [mailto]

Come back frequently for the latest site and case updates.
Last updated 6/29/2005.
Join our mailing list info@geeksunite.net [mailto]


PA Code by Case Subject Search & Seizure
Return of Property
Misappropriation
Trade Secrets
Harvesting/Open Proxies
Related Link
Case Documents The OMITTED Letter [slashdot.org] The Search Warrant [slashdot.org] Plaintiff [slashdot.org] Defendant [slashdot.org] Interveners
Timeline of Events [slashdot.org]
[slashdot.org] Please Contribute. Thank you for spending time on our site. It will be updated frequently. Please come back.
None of the views expressed in the website constitute the views of the Armstrong & Carosella PC law firm, or any
principals or employees, or agents or experts who have been retained in any capacity in connection with the case.

Information on this site is for educational purposes. Case Caption: Health Market Science, Inc. v Charles H. Salzenberg, Jr..
Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Case Number: 05-11918

Chip Salzenberg Defense Fund
Please mirror this site. Learn from it and protect yourself.
We need your financial assistance to continue the fight. [slashdot.org]
Donate Now.


OMITTED from the Company's Pleadings,
UN-INVESTIGATED by the Detective,
it caused IMMEDIATE ACTION by the CEO, [slashdot.org]
READ the LETTER that started it all!




Why 23 million telecommuters need to be worried about this case
Or: How your life can land into the "wrong hands".

Twenty-three million telecommuters (IATC 2003) access their employer's network from home. Some use their own personal computers, while others use a computer their employer assigned to them by their employer. Some bring their laptop to and from work. Do you? Should a dispute [slashdot.org] arise between you and your employer, you may be exposed to the legal tactics and strategies used by Chip's employer.

The company can file a police report, show logs of your network activity, convince the often insufficiently sophisticated police that your behavior is suspicious and claim they are in "fear" of the loss of their property and/or trade secrets and potentially millions of dollars of profits . If you're a programmer, that is your job description permits you to "appropriate" [slashdot.org] huge source code downloads with only even less uploads - exposing you to a "claim" of theft of your company's confidential and proprietary information and trade secrets [slashdot.org] . All the while you are having an exchage with the CEO by email, phone and fax about how to resolve things...thinking that you are still employed.

In the meantime...the police are so induced will proceed to obtain a search warrant, [slashdot.org] raid your home and take every computer, CD/DVD, file folder or anything else that they have been told or "believe" might store information that "may" belong to your employer. Since they don't have time or the expertise to figure out what is what: THEY JUST TAKE IT ALL! [slashdot.org] After all it was around your home or hooked up to your home network via a single router. They can and will do all this just based on your employer's representations [slashdot.org] to the police who may not verify any of the information represented to them. It's really amazing how fast the "wheels of justice" can be made to turn. In Chip's case the search warrant [slashdot.org] was approved by a judge and the house raided in less than four hours from the time the company CEO was interviewed by the investigating detective.

BE FORWARNED! Your tools of your trade, the children's computers, your spouse or roommate's work computer, the router/cable modem, files of correspondence between the you and the employer are ALL subject to being seized "under the color of law." All your personal information, family records, tools of your trade...gone...locked up in some evidence locker indefinitely. If that weren't bad enough every working person in the household may be now be at risk of losing their jobs because their computers were seized and you can't even Google for help.

Good luck trying to get it all back! When the DA drops the criminal investigation a civil suit can be filed, circumventing the laws on return of seized property. Then a motion can be granted by a judge, to allow the company to take possession of all your personal property. Your identity is now in the "wrong hands". And with mounting legal bills, money running out resulting in the inability to defend yourself. The Company has seemingly unlimited funds...you don't even have your job. By involving the police, the company may attempt to bypass the entire civil discovery process designed to protect you and now is driving you financially into the ground. In the land of equal justice for all...it's not looking good for you.

Unless the entire work at home and laptop on company network community quickly responds with a message loud and clear that we will NOT tolerate this, you may be the next person needing a defense fund website. Not saying that every employer will resort to these strategies but it will become known that this method of "dispute resolution" is a successful available tool should they choose to use it. Use this case to learn how to protcect yourself and please give freely [slashdot.org] .

We need your support. Please Donate Now [slashdot.org] .

OMITTED from the Company's Pleadings,
UN-INVESTIGATED by the Detective,
it caused IMMEDIATE ACTION by the CEO,
READ THE LETTER THAT STARTED IT ALL! [slashdot.org]

Latest events in the case see the full timeline > [slashdot.org]

June 21, 2005 Intervener's Too Late? - DA Gives Away Computers Early. Company Already Imaging.
Cras enim. read more >

June 20, 2005 Emergency Stays Filed by All Parties - In an Attempt to Protect Their Property.
Cras enim. read more>


About Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Contact Us [mailto] | ©June 28, 2005 geeksunite.net
[shinystat.com]

TImeline of events (3, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955159)

[sorry for sh*tty formatting...]

Timeline of Events

[slashdot.org] Please Contribute. Thank you for spending time on our site. It will be updated frequently. Please come back.



None of the views expressed in the website constitute the views of the Armstrong & Carosella PC law firm, or any

principals or employees, or agents or experts who have been retained in any capacity in connection with the case.


Information on this site is for educational purposes.
Case Caption: Health Market Science, Inc. v Charles H. Salzenberg, Jr..

Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Case Number: 05-11918

Timeline of Events in Case

June 21, 2005



Intervener's Too Late? - DA Gives Away Computers Early. Company Already Imaging.



June 20, 2005



Emergency Stays Filed by All Parties - In an Attempt to Keep Property from falling into the Wrong Hands



June 17, 2005



Judge Awards Personal Property to Company - Admits to NOT Reading Salzenberg's Opposition.



June 16, 2005


Company Runs Interference - Files Motion to Intercept Released Computers Contrary to the May 2, Order and the "Return of Property" laws.

June 6, 2005


DA Drops Criminal Investigation - Annouces Return of the Seized Property to Salzenberg.

May 2, 2005
Company Agrees Not to Enforce Exparte Orders - Property to be Returned to Salzenberg unless another motion is filed.

April 26, 2005
Company files Exparte - Receives orders to intercept equipment from police to start imaging.

April 25, 2005
Salzenberg receives back dated letter from company "accepting his resignation"

April 21, 2005
Salenberg's Property Seized within hours of police report made by CEO.

April 20, 2005
Salzenberg and CEO exchange emails and faxes in an attempt to negotiate a face to face conversation. CEO finally gives the OK to Salzenberg bringing an attorney with him.

April 19, 2005
Salzenberg sends compliance letter to CEO. Salzenberg also sends follow up message to COO that he has "not resigned". CEO immediately locks Salzenberg out of company email and network.

April 18, 2005
Another employee leaves company after voicing compliance issues.

Re:Am I missing something? (4, Insightful)

mcc (14761) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954967)

What did you think they were going to do, make you an SVP?

If it were me? Well, there would be a wide number of possible responses I could expect from the employer, but producing false information to police and courts to produce illegitimate legal action and have my private property unreasonably seized-- property which I may or may not ever see again once it disappears into the "evidence" system-- is not one of them.

Anyway if he had resigned how would it have helped him one iota? He'd still be facing a frivolous and expensive lawsuit and have all his stuff jacked.

Re:Am I missing something? (3, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955004)

It's a lot easier to prove the company is acting maliciously against you if you:

1) Quit
2) Write your accusatory letter

order is important here.

Doubly true if you have to sign something styating you are retaining no confidential information when you leave.

Re:Am I missing something? (4, Insightful)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954971)

IANAL, and I know this varies by state, but this kind of retribution and harassment for filing a complaint may be very illegal, and the company may have opened themselves up to liability for it. I know reporters of sexual harassment or discrimination are protected from retribution, and it would be interesting to know what protection a whistleblower for unethical behavior has under state and federal laws.

Regardless, no one deserves this treatment for stating their beliefs the company is doing something wrong.

Re:Am I missing something? (4, Insightful)

caryw (131578) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954992)

Yes but how is it that a judge or magistrate (I'm sure under intense pressure from the police department) will issue a search warrant without hard evidence of any illegal activity? Strongarm tactics like this are what is wrong with our judicial system today.

This is your tax dollars at work!
--
Fairfax Underground: Fairfax County and Northern Virginia message board [fairfaxunderground.com]

Re:Am I missing something? (2, Insightful)

lpret (570480) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955007)

There are so many better ways to be a whistleblower and be protected from retaliation. However, before you attack a company (even rightfully so) lawyer up and make sure you have all your ducks in a row so that this type of retaliation doesn't occur. Or use an anonymous source such as ethicspoint.com. While this may seem a coward's path, it in fact can save your job.

There is still hope for the legal system. Title VII, the FLSA, and I believe all state laws have anti-retaliation language that protects you. Go to your local attorney general's office and see what you can do.

However, as others have said, if you do all of the above and management still does nothing -- get out! The best that can happen is you get a small blurb in the WSJ and worst case is that you'll be forever branded a snitch.

Re:Am I missing something? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955037)

When a company breaks laws due to commands by management, you don't report it to the same people who blessed the practice in the first place!
Accumulate evidence, assist law enforcement with an undercover investigation, and blow the whole place apart.

He's not required to resign... (1)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955045)

Whistle blower laws were enacted to encourage employees to bring to light nefarious and illegal activities being perpetrated by their employers without fear of retaliation. HMS appears to be trying to side step these laws by, rather than firing him for doing the ethical thing, falsely accusing him of crimes based on highly flimsy evidence in an attempt to ruin him financially long before the courts can sort the mess out and bitch slap them for breaking a number of laws.

Re:He's not required to resign... (2, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955081)

So you drive the company into Ch 11 after a long, and protracted battle. Then what has he got to show for it? Exactly what he has now: jack + big lawyer bill.

What? (1)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955166)

Why would he still have legal bills if HMS hadn't decided to trump up charges? He made criminal accusations; those are prosecuted by the state, now by him.

Re:What? (1)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955187)

s/now/not/

Re:What? (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955204)

He's lawyered up.

If he wins a judgement, but the company declares bankruptcy, then he's just another unpaid creditor.

His lawyer, however, will still expect to be paid.

Re:Am I missing something? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955222)

> You accuse the company, in writing, of illegal and immoral acts, yet you don't resign? What did you think they were going to do, make you an SVP?

What is it with the moderators any more? This guy is
1) logged in
2) on topic
3) absolutely correct

And some pinhead moderates him "troll".
Nice job.

hmm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12954883)

Bummer...

Rats... (1)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954886)

don't like the light of day. This deserves a wide audience as well as the help that Chip himself needs.

The sad part about it is that the suits who use HMS would go "Open proxy? Isn't that something that we do when we vote our stock?" and go back to their financial reports.

What we need is a UDP for entities, rather than netblocks.

Re:Rats... (1)

toddbu (748790) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955214)

... as well as the help that Chip himself needs

Ok, I'm not accusing anyone of anything, but I have a simple question. How is anyone to know if this is real or if it's just made up? I seem to recall that there have been cases of people asking for help when it was all just a big scam. Anyone have any suggestions on how to tell if this is for real, other than inspecting documents provided for by the purported victim in this case?

Not good at all (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954887)

i dont get what this is all about as i am too tired to read more of it. but i have a feeling it isnt good. at all. more OSS Geeks vs. The industry i guess

Any lega rights? (2, Interesting)

bigox (158657) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954903)

Doesn't he have any whistle-blower rights?

Re:Any lega rights? (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954968)

It might be a violation of the terms of service with their ISP, but I'm not sure it's illegal... In any case, if what he was doing turns out to be illegal then it really doesn't matter if he has the goods on the company or not.

Re:Any lega rights? (1)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955003)

In any case, if what he was doing turns out to be illegal then it really doesn't matter if he has the goods on the company or not.

Why precisely?

Re:Any lega rights? (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955074)

Whistleblower protection prevents a company from firing or otherwise disciplining you.. You don't get a get-out-of-jail-free card just because your company is doing something illegal and you know about it.

Re:Any lega rights? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955092)

Consider an obvious criminal set up.

You are mafia boss.

Your underboss goes to the police and complains that you are running a protection racket. He does not make a deal for immunity, he just tells the police.

You call up the police and say "Hey, that guy that's talking to you? He's dealing cocaine at 4th and Vine every saturday.

If the police catch him dealing, they will arrest him and send him to jail. They might thank him for ratting out you, but he still goes to jail.

Re:Any legal rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955200)

You sig would be better (and funnier if you had "!11!!!d00n" which would work better. That way the impression can be read by anyone.

Re:Any lega rights? (4, Informative)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955251)

It might be a violation of the terms of service with their ISP, but I'm not sure it's illegal... In any case, if what he was doing turns out to be illegal then it really doesn't matter if he has the goods on the company or not.

Depends on which "what he was doing" you mean: if what the company is accusing him of doing were true, whistleblower laws would not protect him. But the charges they are leveling reek of retaliatory accusations with no substance. He is protected from that.

If the actions he took at the company's behest (ie, developing software to work around ISP blocks of their spyders) is illegal, whistleblower laws do protect him, provided he reports the illegal actions to the proper authorities when he becomes aware of their illegality.

Lesson to be learned here (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12954907)

Any time you're going to be challenging the mental giants that are in charge, ALWAYS have a lawyer in your pocket and all your ducks in a row. And offsite backups.
Seriously, what the hell did he expect - if they can use open proxies like this, that they would play nice with him?

The moral of this story (5, Insightful)

Doktor Memory (237313) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954918)

Retain, and have a very long chat with a very good lawyer before you threaten your bosses with police action.

Re:The moral of this story (4, Interesting)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954978)

While this is sound advice, it doesn't necessarily follow from this story.

He said he made an internal report of unethical and possibly illegal behaviour. It doesn't say he took this up with police at all. It sounds more like he was trying to warn them that they were doing something they shouldn't be so they could stop before they got caught.

And just in general about this story: *sigh*

Re:The moral of this story (2, Informative)

Doktor Memory (237313) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955156)

He said he made an internal report of unethical and possibly illegal behaviour. It doesn't say he took this up with police at all.

Read the last paragraph of the letter again -- he was definitly threatening them with exposure to the legal authorities.

And hey, more power too him -- that was certainly the morally right thing to do. But as a practical matter, you want to make damn sure you have all of your ducks in a row and have an old-school carnivore lawyer in your corner before you throw that kind of threat down.

Re:The moral of this story (0)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955075)

Yah. Fer Pete's sake, check out the tone of his letter. He's a Senior Programmer, and he's writing as if he were a Partner. He's confrontational and adversarial in the same breath, and somehow expects to remain employed and that nobody's going to be pissed at him. We've all seen Captain Kirk jumping up on the rock shouting "Everything you know is WRONG!", and the natives repent, but Real Life(tm) works differently.
I don't know about everybody else, but when I stick my finger into a hornet's nest, I expect to get bitten.

Re:The moral of this story (2, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955193)

He's a Senior Programmer, and he's writing as if he were a Partner. He's confrontational and adversarial in the same breath, and somehow expects to remain employed

You assume, of course, that he wants to remain employed.

There is, however, a difference between being fired, and having your employer lie to the police in order to have you arrested and your computer equipment seized.

Re:The moral of this story (1)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955128)

Better yet, don't threaten. Just go straight to the cops. With bad behavior this (allegedly) pervasive, there's nothing to be gained from threats.

Afraid to touch Perl now... (0, Troll)

Fizzlewhiff (256410) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954919)

What is it with Perl developers and legal hassles?

Re:Afraid to touch Perl now... (-1, Flamebait)

timothv (730957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954959)

People who develop Perl or develop programs for it are seriously brain damaged and are far more likely to run into other problems.

Health Market Science has Copyright on a perl mod (3, Interesting)

ugmoe (776194) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955172)

It looks to me like Health Market Science shares a Copyright with Chip on some of his Perl work.

What did Health Market Science think they were getting for their funding dollars?

AUTHOR
Chip Salzenberg,

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Thanks to Heath Market Science for funding creation of this module. Thanks also to Larry, Damian, Allison, et al for Perl 6 subroutine syntax, and to Damian for Filter::Simple and Parse::RecDescent.

COPYRIGHT & LICENSE
Copyright 2005 Chip Salzenberg and Health Market Science.

false police report (4, Insightful)

Deton8 (522248) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954930)

You should take your original letter to the police who raided you. Hopefully they will then prosecute your employer for filing a false police report.

Re:false police report (2, Insightful)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954983)

At least he could return fire and file a police report and have have HMS's computers consficated :)

Re:false police report (2, Interesting)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955122)

How do you know it's false? Wait till you get all the sides of the story and not just he 'victim'

Perl a high-risk legal environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12954932)

Didn't Randall Schwarz (sp?) have some interesting legal struggles to?

is this a mini-version of SCO against Perl

Re:Perl a high-risk legal environment? (2, Interesting)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955084)

Yeah, convicted of a felony (!) for what should've been at worst, considered a disciplary matter between him and his employer.

Two lessons (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954933)

1) Past and future Ask Slashdot questioners: when we tell you to document your situation and to see a real lawyer, do it! This is why!

2) Working for obvious scumbags is going to burn you in the end.

(Assuming his version of the story is accurate -- I realize there's another side. I also realize that both of my suggestions are frequently easier said than done.)

LOL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12954936)

pwn3d.

usb key (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12954940)

Keep your important data on a USB stick on your keychain and next time you won't lose everything.

Prey (2, Informative)

Necromancyr (602950) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954953)

Is it just me or does this sound similar to the begining of the Crichton book Prey?

(Could be that I just read it yesterday...)

Heh (4, Funny)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954982)

Friends have set up GeeksUnite.net, an informational web site and Legal Defense Fund.

and slashdot has blasted it off the web.

Re:Heh (1)

cursion (257184) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955179)

well now everyone can get karma for telling us about a mirror ... right?

Re:Heh (1)

B11 (894359) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955244)

You might get real karma by giving some money while you're there.

Pumpking? (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954986)

Oh my god! It's true! OSS projects are sexual in nature! ;P (It's a joke for those of you who don't get those kinds of things) Beyond that. What in the hell is a "pumpking"?

The company's website and contact info (3, Informative)

waynegoode (758645) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955001)

The website of Health Market Science [healthmarketscience.com] of King of Prussia, PA and their contact page [healthmarketscience.com] and their email address info@healthmarketscience.com [mailto] .

Re:The company's website and contact info (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955167)

I see they're trying to hire a software engineer and a QA person with perl/linux/unix skills. I'm sure destroying Chip's life will help them with their recruiting efforts, now and in the future.

Better yet -- contact the customers! (4, Informative)

BroncoInCalifornia (605476) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955184)

The website of Health Market Science [healthmarketscience.com] of King of Prussia, PA and their contact page [healthmarketscience.com] and their email address info@healthmarketscience.com [mailto] .

Here is where these slease balls brag about their customers. Contact them:
[healthmarketscience.com] http://www.healthmarketscience.com/customers/custo mers.html [healthmarketscience.com]

Re:The company's website and contact info (5, Insightful)

TwistedSpring (594284) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955257)

I think a legion of slashdot readers blasting these contact details and sending trollish e-mails will only worsen this guy's situation: "Then he got his legion of goons to come to his defence, causing massive problems with our e-mail infrastructure and bringing our website to a crawl, before this had even got to court." That cannot be good.

I would advise any slashdot readers considering trolling this e-mail address to think carefully about the implications their messages might have on this guy, and refrain from contacting HMS unless they have something worthwhile and appropriate to contribute.

In April of this year, huh? (5, Interesting)

greenguy (162630) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955018)

If anyone else was as confused as me about the intro, there's a town called "King of Prussia" in Pennsylvania. Go figure.

Why write to this management? (2, Informative)

Teun (17872) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955023)

Why write up such a paper about the companie's (il)legal activities when it's quite clear the managament expressely supports it/ sees it as a business model?

Get out or be prepared for a long and costly fight!

Mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955027)

GeeksUnite mirror:
http://geeksunite.net.nyud.net:8090/ [nyud.net]

Who are you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955028)

If this was Dan, I'd contribute straight away. I have no idea who you are other than a handful of posts to perl6.internals about the parrot hackathon after Dan quit.

For all I know you could be totally evil!

I can't send money (3, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955039)

because all I know about the case is what I read on slashdot and a site set up by this guys friends. I have no idea what is going on and I don't have time to fly to Kind of Prussia (wtf?) and look into it. Even if I did, I don't think the suits at his former employer are going to take the time to go through interviews with me so I can decide whether or not I should contribute to his legal fund.

Sucks for him if he didn't do anything wrong. If so I hope it works out. If it goes to court and he is found innocent-- then giving to the fund would be a lot easier.

Amazing Fish Boy Makes Statement, Is Correct. (2, Funny)

The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955139)

I won't pay for a different reason. I steadfastly refuse to help those that choose to write headlines in the third person.

No probable cause... (4, Insightful)

jhoger (519683) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955058)

Based on the evidence at hand there was no probable cause for the search.

If he didn't keep any of the company's information, they likely have no case.

Crossing your fingers for summary judgment, a directed verdict :-) or a nice juicy settlement favoring the plaintiff.

Pretty scary though that the judge would authorize grabbing all your equipment with no genuine evidence of theft/misappropriation of trade secrets. There ought to be a high bar set for the kind of disruption that causes. There's no reason discovery couldn't have been allowed to proceed in a less violent manner unless he wasn't cooperating.

Start reporting them (5, Interesting)

david_anderson (896517) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955070)

Every company I have ever worked for has violated all sorts of labor laws. Start giving them a pile of minor regulatory headaches.

Then make sure you have a good shark for a lawyer. Make sure he has a technologically savy partner or associate that can understand the CVS and gateway issues.

Then countersue. They may have infinite resources compared to you, but they also have much deeper pockets to go after. If they are vunerable on this point, your lawers will be more than happy to go after that big paycheck.

If all you do is try and defend yourself, then they will steamroll all over you.

Re:Start reporting them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955255)

"Every company I have ever worked for has violated all sorts of labor laws. Start giving them a pile of minor regulatory headaches."

you are an idiot if you think that a judge would take kindly to this kind of harassment in your retaliation

The Letter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955097)

Can somebody post that open proxies letter as a .DOC? I prefer using industry-standard software for my browsing, and Word doesn't seem to be able to handle this ".pdf" thingy.

Re:The Letter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955132)

Geez, you are supposed to use NOTEPAD for opening .pdf file, you silly!

Those Windows users. Would they ever learn?

Re:The Letter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955186)

You need to find that NTLDR file thing, give the .pdf the same name and replace your original file.

Enjoy

EFF? (2)

The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955103)

Why shouldn't the EFF be handling this? Or the ACLU? Do we really need a new fund?

Re:EFF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955191)

The EFF and ACLU aren't handling this because HMS's case is rock solid (regardless of Chip's spin-doctoring).

Re:EFF? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955247)

Maybe because he already went to them and they feel he may be guilty. Just a thought.

Cops... and Freedom (0, Offtopic)

Plugh (27537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955107)

It's no suprise that the police are blindly taking orders and taking property. This recently came up [freetalklive.com] at FreeTalkLive [freetalklive.com]

Just one more reason I moved to New Hampshire [freestateproject.org] , where there's at least hope that this kind of Police-State abuse can be rolled back.

Chip... as a longtime Perl user, my deepest thanks for all you've done. Good on you for taking the moral high ground here.

Fuck HMS (1)

ZombieChiefExecutive (892832) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955121)

This looks too much like HMS taking revenge on Chip for the complaint about the misuse of open proxies.

Getting exposure with those who understand the technical stuff like logging in with ssh etc is worthwhile.

I can't offer any useful advice, but my friend was in a similar situation a few years ago. A local government outfit pressed police charges against a friend for misuse of the local government's network (downloading heaps of stuff). Even though most of the logins were not from his home number (it was dialup access), the stupid police proceeded with the charges. As it happens, the username was the name of the local government, and the password was the name of the local government with 1 on the end.

Because he had marriage problems and his wife was throwing a fit about it, he didn't fight it and changed his plea to guilty.

Months later the entire local government was sacked by the state government for corruption.

Those connected with the local government even managed to follow him interstate and have him sacked from his new job.

I believe he complained about the username and password and things to do with the network before all this happened.

In short, you must fight this. They have no case since you were authorized to work from home using the company resources and the management had knowledge of this. They also have the burden of proof that you were engaging in some kind of illegal behaviour.

Honestly I don't think you have anything to worry about legally. The biggest problem will be the legal bill these bastards are running up for you.

Get lots of publicity (= negative publicity for HMS). Make sure everyone knows what's happening.

Wait for this to blow over, then sue them to the ends of the earth.

Own grave dug (3, Informative)

petesmart (317037) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955142)

It's disgusting that they can do this, particulary at such personal expense. Sadly, Chip has dug his own grave, I don't know much about US emplyment law, but I don't think whistle bower type protection will be any good, as he approached the company first, and not the authorities who are now chastising him. Working for an ethically dubious employer is tough, say something, and they'll throw the book of selective dismissal conditions at you, say nothing, and, well, like myself, sometimes the roof over your head is worth keeping whilst you seek employment elsewhere.

Have you been charged with a crime? (-1, Troll)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955146)

Or is it "only" a civil case.

If it is criminal, remember, there is very little border security preventing one from going OUT of the USA and INTO Mexico or Canada.

Remember, most geeks will get violated in prison - as they lack the physical strength and mental hardness needed to survive prison.

Software Developers need a union or Guild (1)

Inigo Montoya (31674) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955165)

Ok, there are many guilds out there already, but I mean perhaps we should band together somehow, pay dues/insurance fees specifically designed to create an insurance fund to protect us in our times of need against these software malpractice suits.

Pumpking Definition (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955174)

From http://search.cpan.org/dist/perl/pod/perlhist.pod [cpan.org]

To explain: David Croy once told me once that at a previous job, there was one tape drive and multiple systems that used it for backups. But instead of some high-tech exclusion software, they used a low-tech method to prevent multiple simultaneous backups: a stuffed pumpkin. No one was allowed to make backups unless they had the "backup pumpkin".

The name has stuck. The holder of the pumpkin is sometimes called the pumpking (keeping the source afloat?) or the pumpkineer (pulling the strings?).

Therefore, the person in charge of making sure that things arent duplicated/mixed up/general weirdness is the keeper of the pumpkin, or the pumpking.

re: what's to stop them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12955176)

"what's to stop your employer or client from doing the same to you, should your relationship sour?"

The cleverly placed logicbombs in every piece of software I've written for them in the past 5 years.

Legally plugged in I might add, due to a slick little addition I was able to get management to sign off on, in our common development standards, they "help protect against misappropriation of our trade secrets", the irony of this post is almost painful.

They know of their existance, but not of their operation or location, it's my magic bullet against our new board of directors trying anything stupid.

Maybe they really meant it (1)

funkwater (20267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955180)

Just because this guy is an OSS programmer doesn't mean he's an angel. Hell, I know of at least one other Perl guy that is a convicted felon. Perhaps HMS actually believed that he was misappropriating their trade secrets. Would it then be wrong to have the authorities get involved?

Let the courts decide what really is going on. Let all the facts come out before passing judgement against his employer. Isn't that why we have a judicial system?

Toast (0, Offtopic)

donutello (88309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955188)

Sounds like his webserver was running perl.

Oh, wait. That didn't make any sense.

warrant (3, Funny)

jotux (660112) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955208)

The warrant is halarious. If you read the bottom, it basically says:

the company president called me, and said that one of his employees has accused him of illigal acts. Please go to my employees house, and remove everything that he has that could be used to prove that we have committed illigal acts.

Perl = Legal Trouble?? (5, Funny)

Captain Bumpsickle (56719) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955218)

What is it with people high up in the Perl community and legal troubles?? Didn't Randal L. Schwartz also get into trouble with a past employer?

This should be reason #1 to use Python.

I'm just joking everyone...nothing to see here...carry on.

WTF is this guy on (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955235)

Some nice exerpts from his original letter:

Federal courts have held that web spiders must obey the
established ROBOTS.TXT mechanism by which web site owners limit automated access,
and that a failure to obey ROBOTS.TXT constitutes trespass.


I musta missed this case.

At that time, the accepted
strategy for getting around such blocks was to obtain multiple web hosting accounts to act
as proxies for HMS's harvesting systems. I did not then realize that knowingly bypassing
blocks placed by web server operators was illegal.


Must have missed this one too.

hijacking thousands of vulnerable machines all over the
Internet, using them and their network bandwidth without the knowledge or
permission of their owners as unwitting accomplices in HMS's data harvesting
operation.


one could argue by allowing all connections the owners are implicitly granting permission

Under PSC 3933, every instance - every single instance - of hijacking an
open proxy is a misdemeanor of the first degree.


Again they're not hijacking them they're just using them.

Anyways here's a mirror [thedarkcitadel.com] of his original letter.

SLAPP (3, Insightful)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955242)

I think you should check into SLAPP protection.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SLAPP [wikipedia.org]

Heres the little secret, Judges do not like to read long legal briefs, if someone makes a case and references some case law, they might just get the warrent, action or restraining order.

Its a messed up country where the legal system is in a horrible state by lazy judges/commissioners that have to actually think the about the case. Whats worse, some are voted into office...

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