Another one bites the dust

In Blogging and "information ownership" I discussed blogging and some challenges that arise when employees blog about their company. Several people have been "let go" from their jobs (fired, that is) over what they've written about their employers. Even when they do so outside company time, and on their own websites.

Here's another one: Google blogger has left the building (Published: February 8, 2005, 11:34 AM PST, By Evan Hansen, Staff Writer, CNET News.com).

The story is that Mark Jen was hired by Google. He'd already been writing a blog, and was well known for his blogging. So he kept it up while at Google. The details he posted weren't appreciated by management, it seems, and at first he was told to remove some postings which he did (apparently under duress). But now the story is that he's been fired ("let go"), and he didn't even make it past 1 month of employment by Google.

For someone who was probably lusting after Google employee stock options, that's not a good move.

Again, the question comes up. Who owns our writing, and can our employers control what we say? Now, we generally do sign employment contracts and among the clauses are statements about abiding by company policy. A typical company policy is that employees generally aren't free to discuss things they know because of their job.

I covered all that in the other posting. What haunts me is the question over what is being covered up?

Obviously corporations are in competition with other corporations. The competition drives the need for some secrecy. And that's fine. The concern is over potentially illegal things corporations also do, such as the CEO of a corporation like Worldcom apprently ordering the accounting officers to cook the books.