Last week was a very busy and very difficult week at re: The Auditors HQ. However, those of you who lost your jobs at PwC and other firms, or those who were left behind with survivor’s guilt, faced much tougher challenges.
Look to your left, look to your right. You’re still there, but it’s highly likely that one of your colleagues will not be there three months from now. Not by choice. And not because anyone at PwC or any other firm is a “loser.”
Well, maybe there are some “losers”, but you’ll have to go back to my posts for that discussion.
I started to see increased traffic on Tuesday of last week, after the blog post describing PwC Advisory’s planned staff cuts was posted Monday night. There was a considerable traffic increase over the typical run rate on Tuesday and Wednesday and then that rate doubled on Thursday and stayed at that level on Friday as actual cuts started to be reported both offline and online. I heard from multiple sources that the cuts were accelerated because of the blog post, which clearly upset some.
I also started to see more negative comments – about my decision to post the information, about my choice of visuals (which I now deeply regret in light of the Ft. Hood and Orlando incidents) and about me personally. I am a pretty good sport, but I will tell you… I saw some very ugly, very vulgar, very obscene and, in some cases, physically threatening comments on Thursday and Friday.
That had never happened before.
The biggest shock was that some of the most offensive comments were posted from the PwC network. When you visit this site, the web servers at our hosting service automatically recognize your domain name and IP address. If you are accessing the site from your company or firm network, the domain name and IP address will reveal nothing personal about you to me other than the IP address that you accessed the site from. But that IP address may be identified to me with a host or corporate name and location. It may be possible to obtain more information about users. That information is typically not accessible other than through legal means, but that is always a potential.
Late last Friday night, I accidentally posted an anonymous comment that made threats to PwC employees. Once notified of my mistake via another comment on Saturday morning, I immediately deleted that comment, issued an apology, then later deleted the notification and my apology, since the notification comment repeated the threatening words that the original poster did.
Later Saturday, I received a call from the Chief Information Security Officer of PwC US. In the spirit of cooperation, I agreed to provide PwC with the details I had for the comment that he felt threatened PwC employees. I also solicited his assistance in addressing the offensive and threatening comments that came from the PwC network.
I did this because I reserve the right to disclose user information to appropriate parties if I feel it will help protect and defend the person, rights, or property of re: The Auditors employees, any visitors to the re: The Auditors website or a company or individual that may legitimately feel threatened by anything posted on the site.
You should keep in mind that when you access the internet through your company or firm network or a public network or a paid ISP, you may be subject to monitoring or disclosure of your activities to law enforcement or others if you engage in illegal or threatening activities or violate your employer’s policies, subject to local laws and regulations.
I do actively not solicit tips or ask or encourage you to disclose confidential information or to violate any legal agreements that you are party to. I may, from time to time ask friends, acquaintances, contacts, and subject matter experts for verification, validation or elaboration of information I have obtained from public sources or that is based on my own experience. You must, of course, take responsibility for any information you provide to me or anyone else and for any and all applicable laws, regulations or contracts that information may be subject to. If I receive un-solicited information, I am under no obligation to determine its source or its legality. I may or may not be able to determine its veracity before publication and make no claims of such.
In spite of what some might think, my goal is not to increase traffic to the site for traffic’s sake. The monetary and other benefits of that strategy for me are minimal. Instead, my objective is to provide useful information to inform your decision-making and to encourage sharing and discussion of relevant information within the community that has developed. That’s why the tone and spirit of the community is so important. Threats of violence, irresponsible obscenity, personal attacks towards me and others, or outing of anyone other than public figures and senior leadership of the firms and their clients is not welcome. These community standards will be strictly, and personally, enforced.
And although my Disclaimer is written in a humorous fashion, I’m actually quite serious.