Friday, August 5, 2011

Smuggling Gigs in a Bra - COTW #52

Remember when movies only cost a nickel? Me either. But I do remember when floppy disks were 5.25" and only held about a meg - 1.2 MB to be precise. Now, you can buy a 4 gig flash drive for about $5 (a gig, or GB, is 1,000 MB). And, it's all on a drive small enough to fit in your... bra?

Bloomberg has the story: TCW Employee Says She Smuggled External Hard Drive in Bra. A group of employees left their employer to start their own company. Prior to leaving, one of the employees was placed on administrative leave and escorted from the building. A female co-worker testified that, on the same day, she encountered a co-worker with a hard drive. The contents are unclear from the article... perhaps some mix of personal and employer data. And then? "I said 'give it to me' and stuffed it in my bra." She then found the employee who had been escorted out, and went to his car where she gave him the hard drive.

Now, the employer alleges that the hard drive contained confidential and proprietary information. The employer also claims that some of the employees were terminated for stealing trade secrets and confidential information, including client portfolio information. The lesson for employers is clear: implement Naked Office immediately... just kidding. The case does highlight some data security risks though. It's important to understand that mountains of data can now walk right out the front door on something the size of a key chain.

Case: Trust Co. of the West v. Gundlach, BC429385, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County.

HT: Andrew Slobodien, @LaborLawLawyer via Twitter.

Special Announcement: This is Lawffice Space Case of the Week #52... and there are 52 weeks in a year... so by my calculations this marks the one-year anniversary of Case of the Week [Cue noisemakers and confetti].

Posted by Philip Miles, an attorney with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania in the firm's civil litigation and labor and employment law practice groups.