Etymology: The expression Chinese Wall comes from the Great Wall of China and became a metaphor of barriers, known to go back to the United States stock market crash of 1929. The U.S. government saw the need to maintain separation (or an information barrier) between investment bankers and brokerage firms, to limit the conflict of interest between the two. The first use of Chinese Wall in the general context of keeping confidentiality is unclear.
- (idiom) A barrier of silence and secrecy.
- (idiom) (business)(finance) An established zone of non-communication between distinct sections of a business, in order to prevent conflict of interest. For example, an information barrier inside a firm intended between people who make investment decisions from people who are privy to undisclosed material information, which may influence those decisions.
- (rfv-sense)(idiom) (computers) In computer science, a reverse engineering practice of silent during the testing phase. One group reverse-engineers the original code and writes thorough documentation, while the other group writes new code based only on the new documentation. The first group never writes new code, and the second group never looks at the original code.
- (rfv-sense)(idiom) In law firms, the practice of confidentiality between people working on different or opposite legal interests.
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