Allen Analytical will not disclose confidential client or customer data to third parties, with the exception of those disclosures required by law.
Although Allen Analytical is committed to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), and releases custom features developed on behalf of its clients or customers to the community of users of the applications or technologies in general, the business requirements or business data which compelled development of the features will not be disclosed, nor the identity of the client or customer on whose behalf the feature was developed, nor the nature of their business.
Many potential clients request contact information for previous clients, i.e., professional references, or personal references.
Allen neither provides this information nor considers the request appropriate. Providing this information motivates the wrong behavior and requires Allen to accept the risk that their contact information will be abused, or inadvertently disclosed or confirmed, on behalf of a previous client, which is inconsistent with Allen's commitment to client confidentiality.
Imagine I agree to act as a personal or professional reference for someone else. When you, as their prospective employer, contact me, I will tell you in no uncertain terms that I will not speak to you unless the person for whom I have agreed to act as a personal or professional reference first provides me with your name and contact information so that I am able to confirm you are who you say you are. To do otherwise motivates the wrong behavior and invites certain kinds of social engineering, such as pre-texting.
Now imagine that you are not their prospective employer, but have discovered that I have done contract work for a client and have privileged access to their systems, and have decided that it would be far easier to penetrate their network through the use of social engineering to convince me that you have a valid need for privileged access.
Imagine I apply for a job. I disclose certain information about myself, such as my employment history and educational background. I expect my prospective employer to take reasonable steps to maintain the confidentiality of that information and my privacy. I accept the risk that the information I disclose about myself may be abused, or inadvertently disclosed or confirmed.
However, my prospective employer has not agreed to take reasonable steps to maintain the privacy of the person or persons acting as a personal or professional reference on my behalf. They request that I submit a reference's name and telephone number or email address without agreement that the information I disclose will not be abused, or inadvertently disclosed or confirmed.
As a result, my prospective employer is placing the onus on me to assess, and accept, the risk of disclosure, even though I will not be paying the price if the employer abuses, or inadvertently discloses or confirms information provided in confidence, for example, by not properly securing their network or by leaving my resume, including a list of the names, and telephone numbers or email addresses, of my references in a trash can in the conference room. This is a risk I am unwilling to accept on their behalf.
Allen provides personal or professional references on request if Allen is able to give the person agreeing to act as a reference the name of the person checking references and contact information such as the telephone number from which the person checking references will be calling or the email address from which they will be sending mail. Allen then asks the reference to provide the telephone number or email address at which they would like to be contacted, and provides that information to the person checking references.
This is a professional practice developed over many years and is perfectly reasonable.
In general, companies actively seek employees with high standards of personal and professional integrity. However, some of the clients to which Allen has submitted a proposal will not even review the proposal because Allen provides no references. The proposal is not "complete" and is therefore discarded. Submitting a completed proposal to those clients would require Allen to violate Allen's standards of personal and professional integrity.
Now imagine that you are a previous client. Having worked with Allen in the past, would you gain a measure of confidence by being asked by Allen to provide a reference exactly as described above? Would you appreciate the fact that Allen does not disclose your information without your permission? If so, then you are a preferred client.