Security expert who called ubiquity of Microsoft software a national security risk fired

“A computer security expert who contributed to a paper deeply critical of Microsoft has been dismissed by his employer, a consulting company that works closely with the software giant,” John Borland reports for CNET News.com.

Dan Geer, a longtime computer security researcher along with several colleagues released a study this past Wednesday that “called the ubiquity of Microsoft software a hazard to the economy and to national security,” Borland reports. “Cambridge, Mass-based @Stake, where Geer worked as chief technical officer, said in a statement Thursday that the researcher had not gotten his employers’ approval for the study’s release, and that he was no longer associated with the company.”

A Microsoft spokesperson said Microsoft had nothing to do with Geer’s dismissal, according to Borland’s report.

Full article here.

32 Comments

  1. Lets hope this guys sues the pants off of @Stake for everything their worth. I guess it’s time to add ‘Freedom of Opinion’ to the ‘Bill of Rights’. I guess ‘Freedom of Speech’ just isn’t specific enough for these corporate big wigs!

  2. Sorry, DudeMac, the First Amendment doesn’t cover employer-employee contracts. It merely says ‘CONGRESS shall make no law. . . .’ This has been adjudicated to cover state & local governments as well. But it’s quite common for people to sign suffocating nondisclosure agreements as a condition of employment. (In the public sector, ‘national security’ or ‘privacy’ are usually used as excuses. Private-sector corporations don’t need an excuse.) Probably Geer could have been fired for sneezing in public without permission.

    That said, his dismissal stinks to high heaven. The top pinheads at @Stake have done themselves, their company, & Microsoft incalculable damage by firing Geer. They can’t even accuse him of revealing trade secrets; any intelligent observer might have said the same things Geer said, based only on information available to the public.

  3. From the Houston Chronicle:

    The CCIA trade group also ran into trouble Thursday when it sought to send a paid announcement about its critical report to 140,000 subscribers of popular trade magazines for chief security officers and chief information officers.

    The publisher for CIO and CSO magazines, CXO Media, offers such announcements, but in this case, the subject was too touchy.

    “We find it is too sensitive of material to send out. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I have to deny your request,” according to an e-mail from the publisher obtained by The Associated Press.

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