sentenced to 8 years for uploading data from employer's computer - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

Crime and prevention thereof. Loopholes, grey areas and the letter of the law.
Forum rules: No one line posts please.
#15122932
A Russian-born programmer for Goldman Sachs was convicted of "theft of trade secrets" by a US court in December 2019. Although he sought to have the conviction set aside, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
He was denied bail and held in prison, allegedly because he was considered a flight risk.

The only evidence was data in computers, and copies of the code found on the programmer's laptop computer.

Sergey Aleynikov worked for Goldman Sachs until June 2009, when authorities allege, he siphoned source code for the company's software on his way out the door to take a new job with another company.
The software was considered very valuable. It was used to make sophisticated, high-speed, high-volume stock and commodities trades, earning the company "many millions of dollars in profits" each year, according to the prosecutors for the case.

Aleynikov was a naturalized U.S. citizen who had emigrated from the disintegrating Soviet Union in 1991, and earned nearly $400,000 a year as a vice president with Goldman Sachs. His new job with Teza Technologies would have paid him about $1.2 million.

He was arrested in July 2009 at the Newark Airport in New Jersey as he returned from a trip to Chicago, where he had met with his new employers at Teza.

This means he had been in prison for 10 years before his trial and conviction.
And will mean that his sentence will just mean time already served.

The prosecutors asked for 10 years, but the judge only sentenced to 8 years. Not that it really matters, because either would result in no difference in outcome.

Prosecutors allege Aleynikov had several copies of the code on his laptop when he flew to Chicago to meet his new employers at Teza Technologies. Investigators, however, were unable to find any copies after conducting a search of the computers at the Teza company.

Aleynikov admitted to taking the code but initially told investigators that he only intended to collect open source software files on which he had worked, and that his collection of proprietary files on his last day of work had been inadvertent. His attorneys claim he never gave the proprietary files to anyone else and that the portion of proprietary code he took inadvertently was miniscule - just 32 of about 1,224 megabytes of code - and hardly constituted the company's "entire platform".

https://www.wired.com/2011/03/aleynikov-sentencing/

This is another example of the phenomena of "criminalization of information" in the legal system, as well as questionable interpretation of laws.

In this case, there is not really clear direct evidence that the "trade secrets" (in this case code data that constituted part of a computer program) were actually sold or given to another company, so the case is circumstantial in that respect.

This was a programmer for the company who already had access to the data. His presumable crime then was moving his company's data onto his own personal computer.
#15122944
Most companies have a policy that you cannot put company data on to any personal devices. This is why I do not copy shit from my company, even if it's seemingly benign. You never know. Anyway, I would argue that code is not just information, it is infact technology. Taking proprietary code is no different than taking a product prototype or product design files.

Also you can convict on circumstantial evidence (most evidence is circumstantial), the idea that you always need direct evidence is a myth.
#15122949
I know, he probably deserved it. But I am just very uncomfortable with the precedent that information and computer data can be criminalized. It seems like a very slippery slope.

We are talking about something that was not really "physical".


To think that if you press a few buttons on a keyboard you work with every day, you can be sent to prison for 8 years, and not only that but in this case he served his prison before the trial took place.


I think at the very least, these people should be forced by their employer to sign a contract with the government stating that they accept criminal penalties if it is decided that they stole the information they were given access to.
#15122955
Unthinking Majority wrote:He was a VP, he should have known better, and probably knew exactly what he was doing.


Indeed, and the higher up you are, the more sensitive things are, that's for sure. The guy was a jackass.

Puffer Fish wrote:I know, he probably deserved it. But I am just very uncomfortable with the precedent that information and computer data can be criminalized. It seems like a very slippery slope.

We are talking about something that was not really "physical".


To think that if you press a few buttons on a keyboard you work with every day, you can be sent to prison for 8 years, and not only that but in this case he served his prison before the trial took place.


I think at the very least, these people should be forced by their employer to sign a contract with the government stating that they accept criminal penalties if it is decided that they stole the information they were given access to.


It is certainly fucked up that he served time even before the trial took place. That's a general problem across the whole system.

Anyway, I don't see why the fact that the code is not something physical is particularly disturbing to you. It's not merely "information" as you put it, it's technology. He stole proprietary technology. If anything we should be criminalizing the stealing of information further. Companies should be charged for collecting, storing, and selling our personal data.
Election 2020

Trump's Address to the Nation: https://youtu.be/G[…]

Man created God. That is why Man is ordered to wor[…]

Rethinking the Electoral College

Huh? Who draws a line? Who decides what this l[…]

Emotion is the thing that you get when you track c[…]