A work protocol for digital work product contract

Digital work product can be intercepted online, and distributed without the permission of either an employer or employee. To limit problems due to intercepted work product, here is an experimental protocol.

  • Prepare an anonymous email account to receive the work.
  • agree by contract what the work will be, and how much the compensation will be.
  • contractor does the coding, computer aided drafting or other tech work product, encrypts it, and emails encrypted product to the anonymous email address. (If processing is the service, such as 3-d rendering, an encrypted DVD-R would serve the purpose.)
  • employer receives email, and pays the agreed price.
  • contractor releases the password (verbally) to the employer, who is authorized by payment.

The protocol above provides for internet transmission of work that is otherwise accomplished offline, to avoid “phone-home” viruses.

This does not guarantee the code will be as agreed in quality, but the reputation of the contractor will be important to his future job prospects.

The payment can be by check or wire transfer. Charlatans hate bank account numbers because the penalty for false ID at a banking institution is severe.

The reason to receive the work at an anonymous email is that the IP address of a base location can be tapped by competitors, who may wish to monitor or limit the progress of the employer. An anonymous email can be checked at an internet cafe or a library. If only encrypted data comes in there, little can be lost until it is decrypted.

This does not guarantee that a programmer might not keep backup copies of his work. The copyright implications may make this more or less desirable in various contexts.

Encrypt as needed, provide passwords later. 7-zip and WinRar compression applications both support AES encryption, and Truecrypt containers are available for more experienced users. The Variety of sturdy encryption algorithms works to the detriment of attackers.


About James Johnson

I am an amateur mathematician & political theorist who enjoys (occasionally cerebral) humor.
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