Friday, July 22, 2005

GMT 900 Gestapo - A Perfectly Justifiable Organization

While browising site statistics, I noticed that many a person has visited this site based upon site engines. And curiously enough, the most frequent search that netted this page was "GMT 900".

Which leads me to believe one of two things: there are some really interested people out there (which for the sake of GM sales, is the case), or someone within GM's monitoring things closely.

While I'd like to think that GM's IT/Security department would use something more powerful than Yahoo, it wouldn't surprise me one bit that this is a paid position within the company - to monitor leaks of information online.

And if not, then GM may want to consider setting up a 'gestapo' for this kind of thing.

Two factors continue to play against automotive secrecy in this age.

The first is the internet. I'm not against digital mediums by any means, seeing as I'm authoring this one. However, some digital mediums should probabally not be entirely public. In otherwords, use the intranet instead of the internet.

Flex-N-Gate plastics has a conundrum on their hands regarding such. Their in-house company newsletter was published digitally in .PDF format. Unfortunately, two factors prevailed: the public domain of their hosting, and Google's ability to search .PDF files.

Looking at page one of http://www.fngok.com/JAN%20FNG.pdf reveals it all.

The result, for those who cared to search endlessly, is some decent CAD illustrations of front and rear fascias for the new GMC SUV. This is simply a sin of ignorance on Flex-N-Gate's part. There's no reason why this couldn't have been hosted in-house. Doing so would not only save secrecy, but also their position as OEM supplier in the future.

The other risk that all automakers face is in-house photography. At one time, this was incredibly difficult to do; it's nearly impossible to not be noticed toting in a white-lensed Canon into a work bay. But, things progressively became easier, with the advent of digital cameras, credit card sized cameras, and camera phones, respectively.

The latter, while banned from most GM-related workplaces, are still occasionally smuggled in by employees living in fear, or chock full of ignorant bravado.

Some rather detailed first-hand photography of various interior componentry have surfaced on certain forums over the last 6 months. But perhaps the best example of this came two weeks back, with completely undisguised photographs of the 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade reaching a forums board.

No, they weren't procured leagally. Yes, I did look at them, and yes, I did like them. But no, I'm not going to link you to them.
Apparently, someone with access to a GM photoshoot snapped shots of these vehicles quickly, and soon had them posted online - to 'prove' how much he knew about GMT 900.

What he proved wasn't what he knew; it proved what he didn't know.

It proved that he apparently was daft when hiring in at GM; there are confidentiality clauses littered within the volumes of paperwork handled by HR. Not to mention, any contract organization employed by GM has equal, if not greater, quantities of similar agreements.

What he doesn't know is how GM will go to all measures to find him. Much like the development member on the GMT 355 team who leaked photos of the Colorado 5 months early, GM will trace the posting, the photo hosting, and the IP address to his name.

What he doesn't know is how quickly he'll be canned, either from the General themselves or from his employer. Or how hard it'll be to find a similar position, having breached security at a previous job.

But perhaps he'll find out soon enough.

Regardless, GM needs to take this sort of security loophole quite seriously. And if searching websites with mention of GMT 900 (including this post) is a means to an end, it may find itself with a significantly smaller number of such incidents.


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