Monday, September 24, 2018

Banned By Biofortified.

You may be familiar with the issues with Biofortified.  Using anonymous public records requests they obtained internal, outside work documents from the University of Florida.  I was asked to lend my expertise as a subject matter expert (sort of like an Expert Witness, but it was not a trial) in mediating an issue between two organizations. I had to get approval to do this from University Administration, so I filled in the forms with details needed for them to make decisions on legality and appropriateness. 

They approved. I then signed a contract with the law firm representing one organization, stating that I'd keep all information confidential. I posted that I was retained by a law firm as a compensated subject matter expert in a private matter on vacation time, in full compliance with my university's disclosure guidance.

Biofortified obtained my private correspondence, and in a blindsided hit-- made all of the information public, and destroying the confidentiality I was sworn to abide. 

The worst part is, they misinterpreted internal docs that didn't reflect the actual nature of the work.  In the beginning I didn't know exactly what I'd be doing, what you'd call it, or how it should be reflected in documents. 

I felt that their interests in my private, outside of work contributions to a private mediation could have been handled in a much different fashion. 

A spirited discussion took place in the comments section of the story, and I was glad to be able to join in. 

That ended today.  Someone posted a nasty, mean, false statement and I went to correct it-- but found myself banned. 

Banned from commenting in my own defense.  I'll interpret this as Biofortified's surrender flag.   

It says a lot about the integrity of Karl and Anastasia and the ethics of Biofortified.  They can dish it out... you know the rest. This is a topic that needs more conversation, not less, and much more nuanced than blindsiding, errant articles. 

Instead of a public, open discussion Karl takes it private.  This way he can spin it any way he wants without having to be accountable. Ironic that the Transparency Police want conversations hidden and privacy respected. 

The good news is that this needed conversation is happening.  I've had a few doors open because of his instance, and will be writing and speaking at a number of venues on the important balance of transparency and confidentiality. 

And I'm done with Biofortified.  Forward. 

A Response to Carey Gillam