[Awareness/general]Y2K: A Dilemma of Non-disclosure Ethics ( An Open Letter and Appeal... )

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19990609@20:00 Wednesday

An Open Letter and Appeal...

Y2K: A Dilemma of Non-disclosure Ethics ---------------------------------------

Y2K presents humanity with a historically vexing and unprecedented ethical paradox: Honor Y2K project non-disclosure agreements or take the ethical high ground, disclosing the ugly Y2K truth.

The deafening pleadings for honest disclosure of Y2K issues have yet to reach critical pitch. The public cry and statements that "nobody knows" how bad the failures will be, rings hollow and intellectually useless. Managers and systems personnel working the problems _know_ all too well that without timely resolution, there will be deep impacts on public health and safety. What is needed from politicians and legislatures is immediate "whistle blower" protection and relief for all sectors on a global basis. Otherwise, citizens will be cast into the rough tides and throes of quick panic.

Increasing moral outrage and disgust is all that I feel with every precious passing day. Truth must be forthcoming so that reasonable and prudent contingencies and preparations can be rationally planned and developed, mitigating the monumentally dire consequences from known and pending Y2K failures. The untouchable "rail" of Y2K non-disclosure agreements signed by employees and contractor hire-lings must be broken and reality grasped quickly. The "hear no evil, see no evil, say no evil" about Y2K miss-steps, irrecoverable or too late, are no longer acceptable. This is morally untenable and puts a strange twist to reality with a horrendous payment due. The dilemma must be exposed and redressed immediately, without recriminations to those that break "vows" of silence they find themselves bound by in good faith. I argue that irresponsible public lies and clever redefinition have breached good faith by management and governments. Full disclosure must be forthcoming from those in positions of responsibility. Multitudes of "innocents" in societies around the planet must be given fair and just warning. The point of an individual's personal moral obligation and bond to adhere to the terms of a non-disclosure agreement has been breached. How high is your "wall" of morality? When does a Y2K project manager or programmer, working diligently on the problem, recognize and acknowledge that in spite of his/her best intentions and due diligence, the effort under way is doomed to failure, posing certainties and dire consequences for public health and safety?

I argue that even common business applications, vulnerable to "imminent" Y2K failure, pose domino threats up and down each and every sector of the economy, pose prospects of real jeopardy to the personal health and safety of each and every citizen in over half the nations on the planet.

Is there no palatable moral overriding threshold releasing those that "know" from the shackles of non-disclosure? I assure you, there is. I reached mine in December 1998.

Many individuals are taking morally prudent actions based on otherwise "confidential," "insider information," and firsthand knowledge gleaned from working Year 2000 projects. Does anyone have the moral fortitude and gumption cast aside the binds of so-called non-disclosure agreements, and do the morally correct thing: Publicly disclose true Y2K status and perils; disabusing the public of "official" pap and spin.

Ed Yourdon and Rick Cowles have done their share of relentless yeoman efforts ringing Y2K warning bells and whistles. GartnerGroup and Westergaard and their ilk must come clean, now! In the name of humanity, when will the lackeys break their silence on Y2K?

Only the guilty need to feel guilty.

----------------------- Copyright (c) 1999 by Robert S. Mangus, Jr. < rmangus@hotmail.com > Permission to distribute freely is granted "as is." -----------------------

-- Robert Mangus (rmangus@hotmail.com), June 09, 1999


Thank you, Robert. I will indeed distribute your essay.

-- Faith Weaver (suzsolutions@yahoo.com), June 09, 1999.

Bravo, Robert. Well done.

Business is about what? Money. People tying to make money. But the people who run these comapnies would rather sacrifice people's lives than lose money.

Rather than disclose the truth, they hide behind well crafted document designed to avoid telling the truth while only having the appearance of providing information. If you read their statements, you will readily see that NO MATTER what way Y2K goes, they will be able to refer to their documents and say' "See we told you".

The documents are so ambiguous as to be able to apply any meaning at all to them, especially after the fact.

Thirty years of IT Metrics conclusively shows that there is a statistical CERTAINTY of a certain numbe rof companies failing outright. I think that number will be large. But, no matter, there is a certainty that 'some' will. There is also a 100% certainty that a number of these companies ALREADY know. Yet, NOT ONE has come forward. Not one has admitted its fate and tried to pre-empt some of the misery that would have been prevented had they come clean.



That means that they are more interested in their own well being than they are about the potentially fatal consequences Y2k may have on the public. Are you so naive as to think that there is not one chemical company out there that will not experience a catastrophic problem resulting in death? Are you. Are you also so naive as to think that most of these companies are 'honestly' unaware of a catastrophic problem. If they really do have catastrophic problems and at the same time you think they may be 'honestly' unaware, then you have to realize that they MUST, by necessity, be grossly out of touch with reality. Being that GROSSLY out of touch with reality is not commensurate with being able to appropriately remdiate a chemical company. You can not have it both ways. They can not be 'honestly' unaware AND be responsible enough to remdiate.

The bottom line is that it is a guarantee that people will die as a direct result of failed remdiations. They will die as a result of the cascade effects as well.

But NOT ONE company has stood up and had the balls to admit its failure to remdiate, so that the appropriate people could make adequate defenses.

Do you remeber how many people were killed in Bhopal, India at the Union Carbide plant? I don't. It was substantial, but we have very short memories.

And it is not just about chemical plants. It is about also about the life threatening failures that can occur from non-readily identifiable life threatening sources. Chip makers do not necessarily know every life threatening application in which their chips could be involved. They maythink, "All this chip does is open a valve". Yes, a valve to release chlorine into a water system that could kill a whole town.

Until the day this is over, or unless it it MANIFESTLY apparent and they have NO CHOICE, they will NOT admit they will fail.

And people will die because of it.

(flint: "Well, nobody really knows")

-- Paul Milne (fedinfo@halifax.com), June 09, 1999.

RITE-ON robert,like ch.heston said if you gotta go to jail for the cause, hey, just try not to be near border towns, unless you like hairy menudo for breakfast. oh & make sure you got your hot water stinger with ya, how about a shorter message like>hey jerkos we,re tired of your lyin ass , bullcrap. we got your no. see ya at the polls.

-- al-d. (catt@zianet.com), June 09, 1999.

Robert, I couldn't agree with you more. It is a beautiful reflection of my own feelings. It also saddens me. The fact is, the time is gone for any hope of telling the truth. Even if announced tomarrow, by the time it sank in and people began to do something......well, we will surely be forced to face the wave of shortages and panic no matter how they may choose to handle it now. They have left NO time for any hope of rational, thoughtful preparation. Panic WILL come. There just simply isn't any time for any other scenerio. Be done with your work, my friends, quickly and quietly. The sleeping giant is about to awake.

-- Will continue (farming@home.com), June 10, 1999.

2,000 people died at Bhopal, tens of thousands injured. Warren Anderson, the Union Carbide CEO, initially reacted like a human being, was going to fly over to the plant and help with the human tragedy. Then he found out that he might get arrested, and he demurred. Within a short time, management ethics, that is, fiducial responsibility to stock-holders, prevailed, and Union Carbide's team of attorneys went to work to limit monetary damages to the corporation. Of course, if management hadn't done this, they would have been fired, and new, more ruthless management would have been brought in. Human economies might be based on love and compassion. Corporate economies are based only on profit and efficiency. Which do you prefer? If you live in Greenwich, Connecticut, the answer is clear. But then again, the opposite answer is equally compelling for all the humans who have been killed, starved, injured and exploited by rapacious transnationals. Coming to a town near you soon.

-- Spidey (in@jam.commie), June 10, 1999.

Thanks for writing your letter, Robert.
If only lying hadn't become accepted as the "national pasttime."
It is now national past time.

xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), June 10, 1999.

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