Wow, is Chilmark Research getting popular!
Today, we received a letter from the law offices of Jackson Lewis LLP who are acting on behalf of HIMSS. It appears that this website has gained a certain notoriety through comments left by a “Calvin Jablonski” (search and you’ll find them) on a number of posts. As it turns out, Jablonski has been busy not just commenting here but on other sites such as the Wall Street Journal’s Healthcare Blog, Neil Versel’s Healthcare IT Blog and even on Matthew Holt’s The Healthcare Blog (THCB). However, it appears that Jablonski got his start here. Lucky us.
Matthew did an admirable job of commenting on this little firestorm that Jablonski seems to have started and Matthew attempts to clear the air the “Jablonski comments issue.” Chilmark Research, which has taken no stand, however, is now the proud owner of a letter from a legal firm representing HIMSS asking us to turn over any and all information we may have on Jablonski (contact details, etc.) as well as deleting all of his comments from the Chilmark Research website.
Now that puts us in a bit of a conundrum. If we comply with the Jackson Lewis request we certainly would not have to worry about anymore letters, emails and maybe even calls. Yes, it would make our life easier.
But there is a broader and far uglier precedence that would be set if we went along with their request.
First, is the violation of someone’s privacy. Requesting all information that Jablonski may have provided or left via his comments (IP address, email address, etc.) so the lawyers can track down Jablonski’s “true identity” is not something we are comfortable doing. This site is designed to allow and encourage the free discourse of discussions on healthcare and technology’s role therein. Would releasing such information to an offended party violate “free discourse”?
Second is the issue of censorship. An important foundation of this country’s founding is free speech, to a point. Yes, there are libel laws and the like but last we looked, the party taking offense must demonstrate clear damage. Are HIMSS and CCHIT, both receiving the wrath of Jablonski’s comments, truly damaged by what clearly appear to be the ravings of a disgruntled individual? The bottom-line though is that we do not want to censor comments that add to a discussion are pertinent to the topic at hand – PERIOD!
Now in full disclosure, Chilmark Research did receive an email on Feb 19th from this HIMSS’s law firm, of which the letter today is but the same. Upon receiving that email, we contacted HIMSS directly, spoke to the head of PR who immediately pushed us to HIMSS’s internal lawyer. She told me that there was much internal discussion on their path forward to address the Jablonski issue. Mentioned to her that we were not comfortable with their law firm’s requests and proposed a solution, which we thought was a damn good one.
HIMSS, we invite you to write a Guest Post that we would gladly post on the Chilmark Research site and highlight it to set the record straight. Seems like a good solution to us but to date it has gone unanswered.
So HIMSS and the lawyers at Jackson Lewis, why the delay, this really is not all that complicated a problem to solve.
Note: Now we believe we have taken a prudent and thoughtful approach to resolving this issue in light of what our core operating beliefs. However, we are open for suggestions and input from you dear readers on what path you deem most appropriate on this rather tricky issue. Did Chilmark Research take the proper path through this potential minefield? What would you have done if you were in a similar position, or better yet what have you done in similar situations? Thanks in advance for any and all feedback.
It has been brought to our attention, via direct email, that there is actually a name for all of this and it even has an entry on Wikipedia: The Steisand Effect. Imagine that! Learn something new everyday.