Lesson 124: Using & abusing insider information
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 5/1 ('Redemption Part II')


Capt. Picard is chosen to be the arbiter in a Klingon civil war. Worf has sided with the Klingon ruling council in the civil war.

As Worf begins to use the Federations massive information resources to help support his cause, Capt. Picard intervenes and warns Worf of the conflict of interest in Worf's actions and that the violation will be reflected on not only the Captain in his role as the impartial arbiter, but also show favoritism on part of the Federation in taking sides in the civil war.


Here we see an example of using inside information for self-serving purposes, which is not only unethical, but highly illegal in the business world.

The usage of data that is available only internally to a company to benefit oneself, say via a stock market transaction, as in 'Insider Trading', is not the only misuse of such information.

Internal business strategies, sales & marketing tactics and goals, client lists, revenue & expense numbers are quite easily exposed regularly by ex-employees moving to competitors.

The signing of NDA's (Non-Disclosure Agreements) can do little to prevent such activities.

While it is very tempting to (illegally) access such competitive information for the benefit of one's own company, the management and executives involved would do better to exercise on the side of caution in this case. The penalties are quite severe, both professionally and personally, for trying to gain such an illegal competitive edge.

Greed, ruthlessness and revenge (as in the case of disgruntled ex-employees) are all root causes for misusing inside information.

By using Capt. Picard's values of right and wrong, as expressed in this scene, one can not only combat the negative temptations, but also eliminate potential future financial penalties and even prison terms.

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