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I am applying for postdoc positions. A faculty member sent me an Email encouraging me to apply for his open position. He disclosed with me the name of two famous companies that are involved in his project. He also mentioned the name of a famous scientific problem he is currently working on, as a part of this project.

I forwarded his Email to my supervisor, asking for his advice on this position. Have I done something illegal, in terms of breaking the code of confidentially?

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    Why do you think there would be confidential information involved? – Anonymous Physicist May 7 '16 at 3:55
  • Because, the faculty has shared with me the name of companies he is working with. He has also shared with me the name of scientific problem he is currently working on. – Admia May 7 '16 at 4:42
  • Was the information you shared in the public domain already? – EnergyNumbers May 7 '16 at 5:36
  • It is hard to imagine how a perspective employee could be required to keep names confidential. – Anonymous Physicist May 7 '16 at 6:03
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    I am not a lawyer, but unless you signed a nondisclosure agreement or made some other legally binding promise not to disclose the information, you almost certainly didn't do anything illegal by forwarding the email. Related: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email_disclaimer. Keep in mind that illegal and improper/unethical are two different things, so it's still quite possible that what you did will upset the sender of the email. – Dan Romik May 7 '16 at 6:49
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Legally, no. Ethically, no. He felt free to reveal it to you, you felt free to reveal it to someone else. And nothing he revealed seems that earthshaking to me: Lots of people work on famous problems, lots of people work with major corporations.

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