Saturday, July 25, 2009

Security Clearances and Intellectual Property Laws

Many people brag about having a security clearance, but it's really nothing to brag about it only means that the government now controls what you say. In other words if your field of endeavor has to do with something that is top secret you can't even talk about it, you can e-mail anybody and discuss it, and you can't even really talk about the subject with anyone except people at work.

Worse, when you quit or are reassigned you can't talk about that topic with anybody because now you are somewhere else and there's no one at work that understands the topic and you can't talk to them, even if they did. Running a think tank is very interesting, and on occasion people have asked for me to work on various projects and discuss with me the issue of security clearances, and nondisclosure agreements when it had to do with corporate secrets, or new technologies.

For a civilian about the worst thing you can ever do is get a security clearance, even if you are a consultant and you are promised to be paid handsomely for a short-term project. Because once you get a security clearance you can be thrown in jail if you say something about a specific topic. Even if you read about the exact issues in the newspaper, or a trade journal, it's often still considered secret and you can't even discuss the subject matter.

As far as I'm concerned, "you can take your security clearance and shove it!" And for you corporate folks you can take your NDA or nondisclosure agreement and put it where the sun doesn't shine. The fact is if you are in the know and you take the right trade journals, and the right news alerts, and you study the industry and read all the white papers then the chances are you know more than most people with security clearances in that particular subject anyway.

Secret or black projects often marginalize and compartmentalize the project so no one knows about the whole thing. I often find when talking to people that have security clearances' when I mention a certain topic they tell me they're not allowed to talk about it and when I start talking to them anyway they are shocked that I know all that I know, they always assumed that all that was top secret.

That's ridiculous, top secret in today's fast-moving information flow is about two weeks. If you sign a security promise to get a security clearance you are going to be sorry in the future. Please consider all this, because I know more than you think.

Lance Winslow is a retired franchisor - Lance Winslow's Bio. Lance Winslow is formerly the CEO of WashGuys family of franchises for instance one of Lance Winslow's favorite companies on the team;

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