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Several years ago, a colleague told me an old war story about how he was asked to build a database of his colleague's notes from therapy sessions, so that their employers could secretly read them. I asked if he knew it was illegal, and he said yes. I asked if he refused the work, he said no. I asked if he told the authorities, he said no. He seemed to think this was all perfectly fine.

I still think about that conversation a lot.

@sir I think about this interview with the head of the DSM task force a lot. Ah, war stories...

@sir I've had similarly strange discussions with people going to work for defense companies after graduating. There really isn't enough emphasis on engineering ethics.

@sir Banality of evil. Sometimes people don't even try to think if something might be evil.

@sir How did the employer get access to the therapy notes in the first place?

@sir The unwashed masses have forgotten or failed to learn that “I was just following orders” doesn’t tend to hold up as a criminal defense.

@middlepath @sir

But it is SOP if you want to keep your job

especially if you are over 40

and couldn't get another job

and would lose your health care, mortgage payments...
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