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Recession Pushes More Workers To Steal Data

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 3 years ago | from the flexible-morality dept.

Security 280

An anonymous reader writes to share the findings of a recent transatlantic survey which suggests that the recession is pushing workers to be a little bit more accommodating when it comes to sharing, viewing, or stealing sensitive information from the company they work(ed) for. "Pilfering data has become endemic in our culture as 85% of people admit they know it's illegal to download corporate information from their employer but almost half couldn't stop themselves taking it with them with the majority admitting it could be useful in the future! [...] The survey entitled 'the global recession and its effect on work ethics,' carried out for a second year by Cyber-Ark – found that almost half of the respondents 48% admit that if they were fired tomorrow they would take company information with them and 39% of people would download company/competitive information if they got wind that their job was at risk. Additionally a quarter of workers said that the recession has meant that they feel less loyal towards their employer."

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280 comments

but I thought you couldn't steal data (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207172)

isn't the argument that you're not stealing the music, you're copying it?

You can't steal *published* data (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207444)

You can't steal music (except by stuffing CDs down your pants at the store) because the data is published (not to mention broadcast). Confidential information, on the other hand, can be "stolen" because, while you're still merely copying the data, you're stealing the secret.

Re:You can't steal *published* data (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207632)

Whereas when you do deprive someone the ability to sell something (and post about in on Slashdot) you're not stealing. Aren't double standards fun?

Re:You can't steal *published* data (0, Offtopic)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207864)

Downloading music off the interwebs doesn't deprive someone the ability to sell something. If I steal a car, the person from whom I stole that car can no longer sell the car. He no longer has it, so selling it would be tricky. On the other hand, if I design a machine that makes instant copies of cars, then use it to copy a car from a dealership, the dealership can still sell the car I copied, because they still possess it. Now, you might say, "But they can't sell it to you! You already have that car!" Which is correct: copyright infringement theoretically lowers demand. But then, what if I wasn't going to buy that car anyway, and so my demand was already zero? In fact, maybe driving that car has made me desire a car from the same manufacturer! Maybe I like it so much, I'll pay for the next car I obtain from them. And perhaps if I designed this wondrous machine, it would not be so morally outrageous if I used it to copy cars that the dealership no longer had any prospect of selling in large numbers.

Of course, I'm not just speculating. Research shows that people who download music illegally also spend more [telegraph.co.uk] on music purchases.

Re:You can't steal *published* data (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207950)

Downloading music off the interwebs doesn't deprive someone the ability to sell something.

Actually it does. The fact that one can download a work of the internet eventually pushes the value of the piece of work to zero and thus it makes it next to impossible to sell it.

Re:You can't steal *published* data (1)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30208552)

The fact that you can listen to any popular (by which I mean RIAA-backed) song for free on the radio did nothing to push the apparent value down, now did it? Why pay for it if it's already streamed into my bedroom for free 24/7?

Re:You can't steal *published* data (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207792)

except by stuffing CDs down your pants at the store

That's stealing CDs, not music.

I guess I also can't steal "code" either. What would you call me if I ... broke the licensing code for Apache or something like that? or Linux? GPLv[whatever it is]. Not only broke it but claimed it was actually mine, made a proprietary product out of it, and sold it.

It's not stealing. The "open source" code is published.

... IMO, I call it "stealing." Loosely termed, sure, but I would colloquially refer to it as stealing. Ok, so maybe it's a licensing issue and not a physical break-and-enter sort of theft, but it's not giving someone something due to them by me using something they produced.

Re:You can't steal *published* data (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#30208314)

I think stealing in the moral sense is...

"Ill gotten gain"

Where "ill" is defined as anything other than straight honest by the book dealing.

Those who fail to pay taxes are stealing because they are enjoying government services without paying for them, for example.

Those who infringe copyright are stealing because they are breaking the law to get their content, and thus deriving a benefit without paying for it. The attitude of indifference to the law is what makes it wrong.

This, incidentally, is one reason behind the equitable doctrine of tracing. If you steal a penny, and somehow manage to convert it into a million dollar mansion (read up on the paperclip barter-house for a real life version), the guy you stole it from gets your mansion, and not just the penny back. Why? Even though you caused them FAR less harm than what you actually had to give back, society doesn't look favorably on you reaping a fortune when you've sowed dirty.

Allowing you to profit even minimally from your ill-gotten seed money will reward you for a wrong action.

Re:You can't steal *published* data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30208440)

Don't feed the trolls, retard!

No $10 million, no deal (3, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207204)

Unless I make enough money to retire debt free, no deal.

Most people will get caught and lose their jobs for tiny amounts of money and poor future job prospects

The New Ethics in America (4, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207698)

This theft of sensitive data by terminated employees is an act of survival. Is it morally right?

To answer that question, we should understand the theft in the total context of labor ethics. The current economic recession differs from the previous recession (during the dotcom bust) in 2 important ways. One difference is that it was caused by a failure of the banking system, which had placed financial bets on bad mortgages.

A second difference is that the "normal" lag between declining gross-domestic product (GDP) and rising unemployment was very short. In all previous recessions, the lag was at least 6 months. During this recession, the lag was much shorter. Once the typical employer saw declining orders for products or services, he immediately fired workers. This high-speed termination of workers was once the hallmark of the Silicon-Valley employer's mentality but has now spread to the rest of the nation.

The national unemployment rate exceeds 10 percent. In some states, the rate exceeds 12%.

By contrast, Japanese companies (for cultural reasons) and European companies (for both cultural reasons and legal reasons) make every effort to avoid firing workers during an economic recession. Although Americans once laughed at Europeans for favoring kinder, gentler labor policies that "hindered" economic growth, the Europeans now have the last laugh: the unemployment rate in America now exceeds the rate in several European countries.

The Americans favor a Darwinian system of employment: survival of the fittest. If you are "weak" and if you do not have the right political connections (e. g., being the beer-drinking buddy of the department head), then you will be fired. If you lose your home, your family, and commit suicide, then the Darwinian system gives only 1 reply: "Too bad, loser!"

In this context, we should not judge the morality of stealing sensitive data from your previous employer. If he fired you in response to the recession, then you should do whatever you need to do to survive. You should live by Darwinian rules. You do whatever you need to do and whenever you need to do "it".

Re:The New Ethics in America (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207824)

In this context, we should not judge the morality of stealing sensitive data from your previous employer

Since when do two wrongs make a right? Did everyone who didn't get laid off | fired | whatever do you wrong? Do they deserve to pay the consequences if you screw over your previous employer and it results in even more job losses?

Your attitude is childish, greedy, and thoughtless. Or did you not have any friends working there, so in your mind "they all deserve to pay?"

Employers don't seek out recessions so they can fire people.

Re:The New Ethics in America (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#30208330)

Employers don't seek out recessions so they can fire people.

Hi, you must be new here.

Re:The New Ethics in America (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30208622)

And by "here" you mean "to life." Oh for the days when I was young, innocent and stupid and believed in good will toward men.

Re:The New Ethics in America (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30208398)

Not saying I agree with him, but Darwinian rules don't have attitude - they are amoral. (Note: I did not say immoral!!!). What he is saying is that companies are living by Darwinian rules and that in order to survive the employees may need to do the same. Not that this is preferable mind you.

Re:The New Ethics in America (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30208384)

Stealing is stealing, and being in a hard spot, though a profound test of character (esp if your SO is laying it on thick for you to nick some stuff), does not excuse theft. If it WERE ok then it would be called "forced charity". Call a spade a spade. Duress by circumstance might get you pity, but it doesn't get you a pass.

Worse yet, if you are caught stealing, that pretty much nixes any hope you have of collecting unemployment IIRC, since you'd be provoking your own dismissal with such a blatant violation . Not to mention that you'll probably not need it behind bars anyway.

And people who are without paychecks aren't buying anything.

I gotta ask though...

If everyone's so poor, where'd all the damn money go?

Re:The New Ethics in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30208434)

well discussing morality is pointless if your company defines you a human resource: *that* was immoral.
treat people like cattle and get surprised if they trample all over you? please.
so now you are just a resource with a glitch. it is unnoticed, you are ok, it is discovered, you are out.

Re:The New Ethics in America (1, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30208680)

Although Americans once laughed at Europeans for favoring kinder, gentler labor policies that "hindered" economic growth, the Europeans now have the last laugh: the unemployment rate in America now exceeds the rate in several European countries.

lol

In the same light ... the young kids in my neighbourhood used to laugh at the old folks, because of their inability to play baseball. Now the old folks have the last laugh, because one of the kids broke his leg.

Seriously, WTF dude? Is that what you consider a logical train of thought?

In this context, we should not judge the morality of stealing sensitive data from your previous employer. If he fired you in response to the recession, then you should do whatever you need to do to survive. You should live by Darwinian rules. You do whatever you need to do and whenever you need to do "it".

There ARE no Darwinian rules. This is what theists/creationists often fail to understand, and why they come to such ridiculous conclusions. Evolution doesn't mean that everyone has to be a dick; in fact, co-operation tends to increase the odds of gene survival/propogation. How the fuck do you think we got this far?

Information just wants to be free (0, Offtopic)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207210)

You can't steal what's free.

Open source ftw!

Re:Information just wants to be free (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207682)

So you think I should be able to find your payroll records and criminal history on Google too, or is it a one-way street?

Re:Information just wants to be free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207794)

As someone who has their income publicly available - state government employee - I say sure, why not?

Re:Information just wants to be free (2, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207860)

me too - in fact, the artificial non-posting of salaries, bonus, and other information leads to distortions in the marketplace.

Which, in other words means that dotgain hates capitalism ... (grin)

Re:Information just wants to be free (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30208646)

In retrospect, payroll records was a bad example on my part, and I kind of agree with your comment.

kdawson sucks dongs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207218)

I saw kdawson sucking dongs at the local glory hole last night. Him and Rob "Micropeen" Maldo were also seen jacking off each other's dicks with tweezers.

I'm gonna be rich! (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207224)

Once my company's competitor learns I know how much Bob from accounting or Joanne from HR make, I'm sure they will shower me with Andrew Jackson's business cards.

And then I woke up :)

Re:I'm gonna be rich! (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207328)

Whoa! But what about the management's belief that "firewalls will protect our sensitive data!"? Surely you can't just walk out the door with data and not be caught red-handed by said firewalls!?! Say it ain't so, Bob & Joanne!

Re:I'm gonna be rich! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207630)

This principle does work if you're in sales and you're walking out the door with a customer list.

Re:I'm gonna be rich! (2, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207954)

This principle does work if you're in sales and you're walking out the door with a customer list.

No, it doesn't. I was called in to do some consulting for a few months at one place, and one of the sales reps approached me about making an app for him; he had started up a business, had his customer lists, prices, etc., and was skimming customers for his new business while still employed at his current location.

Even if he had already quit, it's still illegal. Customer and price lists are the employers' proprietary information.

I informed the ownership, and gave testimony during discovery with lawyers for both sides present. If I hadn't informed them, there would have been questions asked about what I knew and when, since I had access to everything (a lot more than the dickhead did). I don't need the grief, and neither should you. Act like a professional.

Moral of the story - even a dog knows better than to bite the hand that feeds it.

Re:I'm gonna be rich! (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#30208118)

I informed the ownership, and gave testimony during discovery with lawyers for both sides present. If I hadn't informed them, there would have been questions asked about what I knew and when, since I had access to everything (a lot more than the dickhead did). I don't need the grief, and neither should you. Act like a professional.

The problem with your course of action is that you GOT the grief involved with wasting your time with testimony, etc. Did the company pay you for your time involved there, time which you could have used instead doing work for other paying clients?

Sometimes it's better to just look the other way if someone's doing something that doesn't involve you. It's not like someone was getting raped or murdered. This doesn't mean lying if asked about what you knew, but volunteering just means more work for you, plus it puts you on this now ex-employee's hit list.

Re:I'm gonna be rich! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30208450)

Looking the other way all the time only allows it to get worse, since the bad guys, emboldened by their success, will only get greedier and greedier over time. Weeds are best pulled before they've had time to get firmly rooted.

That's the same sort of complacent attitude that allowed the Mafia to swallow sicily. 80 percent of sicilian businesses pay pizzo so that they don't get their windows broken in, or worse, get shot.

If you see something illegal happening, you need to report it. If going up the chain of command gets you canned, then blow the whistle.

Besides, failure to report illegality makes you an accomplice. That's the sort of burden that can easily be used as leverage against you if someone wants to twist your arm. "Do X or I'll make sure you get thrown to the wolves for hiding this"

How convenient (5, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207236)

Cyber-Ark just happens to have a product that helps prevent this.

Re:How convenient (1)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207904)

The DLP market, Data-Loss Prevention, is a burgeoning and growing market.

Trend Micro purchased Provilla to jumpstart their way to catching Symantec. Cisco's CSA Agent can act as a DLP device when paired with sniffers.


DLP modules can be particularly nasty. They are, in effect, beneficial (to the company) rootkits. Often, the good ones like Leakproof (I have no affiliation with the product, it won SC magazine's product 5/5 Award - http://www.scmagazineus.com/trend-micro-leakproof/review/2632/ [scmagazineus.com]) can't be seen or can be explicitly exempted from A/V scans.

They follow rules, like notify if any workstation copies a PDF to a USB drive or attaches it to a webmail outbound message.

This will become more and more common in the workplace. Virtual desktops plus rootkits with no local admin rights to the user.

In this way, the same effects as regions and LPARs and mainframe access rights are re-achieved in the modern age with virtual desktops and VPN.

It may not be everyone's idea of utopia, but private companies are doing this more and more. Even road warriors are getting thinbooks and asked to use remote VPN desktops to control everything.

Re:How convenient (2, Interesting)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 3 years ago | (#30208106)

In this way, the same effects as regions and LPARs and mainframe access rights are re-achieved in the modern age with virtual desktops and VPN.
 

A couple of jobs ago, one of the tasks was a monthly data update to a tool our users had, basicly download a certain file from the mainframe and do some tweaks before importing it into a GUI front-end.

The first time I did it without help (i.e. logged into my own account), the next day I got a phone call asking why the hell I was looking at such-and-such business data, as an IT guy you have no need for that. Turns out my boss didn't sign the right form or something, got him on the phone and all was resolved.

I guess my point is that this level of scrutiny has been around for decades, at least in some shops.

Re:How convenient (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30208482)

The better question is why the hell did you have access to it in the first place if you "didn't need it". If it's something that an employee shouldn't be looking at, then it's really as much ITs fault as it is the employee's that the data was accessed. I mean, corporate espionage and disgruntled employees are nothing new. It's not like this recession is causing some amazing new problem that never existed before. There should already be systems in place to prevent this kind of thing.

ethics (5, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207240)

The survey entitled 'the global recession and its effect on work ethics,' carried out for a second year by Cyber-Ark

Speaking of professional ethics, who wants to bet that a survey sponsored by Cyber-Ark uses leading questions to produce results which bolster their business?

Re:ethics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207402)

Hey, is this a trick question or are you really a wallaby?

On Loyalty (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207272)

"Additionally a quarter of workers said that the recession has meant that they feel less loyal towards their employer."

I'd be happy to show some loyalty to my employer if they would but return the favor. Instead I'm treated as a simple expense on the accountant's balance sheets; one that's easily gotten rid of. The people who make the decisions are much too far removed from the people who make the product. Hell, I feel more loyalty to my favorite baseball team than I do to the corporation I work for.

Re:On Loyalty (4, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207394)

The article has nothing to do with loyalty. If my company wants to lay me off, they're welcome to do so, but I'm still expected to remain within the bounds of the law. I might think poorly of them or get skittish the next time a lay-off spree happens in some future company, but I certainly wouldn't turn molehills into mountains by risking jail time.

Re:On Loyalty (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207664)

but I certainly wouldn't turn molehills into mountains by risking jail time.

The wall street bankers didn't go to jail. On the contrary, they were rewarded with your tax dollars. The real world plays hardball; maybe you should too.

Re:On Loyalty (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207726)

but I certainly wouldn't turn molehills into mountains by risking jail time.

The wall street bankers didn't go to jail. On the contrary, they were rewarded with your tax dollars. The real world plays hardball; maybe you should too.

The Wall Street bankers didn't do anything illegal.

Or do you mean Bernie Madoff? He got jail time.

Re:On Loyalty (2, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30208554)

No, they did do unethical things however. In the engineering industry, failure to abide by the ethics obligations of whatever certification board you're certified with generally results in the end of your career. The banking industry should be no different.

On Society, and Sociopathy (5, Insightful)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207412)

Indeed. When execs are getting $10 mil bonus packages for burning a company to the ground, when the upper echelons are gutting pension plans by reneging on past promises and contracts and then turn around and pocket the savings for themselves, it should come as no surprise in the least that those of us further down the corporate ladder are taking a similarly opportunistic approach.

Social mammals tend to emulate the alpha individuals of their groups. The alphas, by dint of successfully establishing themselves as alphas, are viewed as successful -- "well, they're doing something right for themselves, guess it'd be smart for me to do the same." When sociopaths lead our companies, the employees themselves will, generally speaking, start behaving more sociopathically. It's basic survival.

Cheers,

Re:On Society, and Sociopathy (3, Insightful)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207622)

Social mammals tend to emulate the alpha individuals of their groups. The alphas, by dint of successfully establishing themselves as alphas, are viewed as successful -- "well, they're doing something right for themselves, guess it'd be smart for me to do the same." When sociopaths lead our companies, the employees themselves will, generally speaking, start behaving more sociopathically. It's basic survival.

More concisely - a fish rots from the head down.

Re:On Society, and Sociopathy (1)

aflag (941367) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207722)

Social mammals tend to emulate the alpha individuals of their groups. The alphas, by dint of successfully establishing themselves as alphas, are viewed as successful -- "well, they're doing something right for themselves, guess it'd be smart for me to do the same." When sociopaths lead our companies, the employees themselves will, generally speaking, start behaving more sociopathically. It's basic survival.

I don't see it like that at all. I think we all want -- and should have -- an easy life with little to no working. And I believe most of us are striking for that in a way or another. Some will save up money so they can be like that in a distant future, others will try to be comfortable and take it easy right now. Both ways have their ups and downs.

We're unique, intelligent animals. So I think any social analysis based on how other animals behave will be way too simplistic and perhaps even wrong. There's probably a few correlations here and there, if you take a big population. But we're so complex individuals that saying person X tries to emulate person Y behavior because Y is an alpha-male is very misleading, and probably just wrong.

Re:On Society, and Sociopathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30208186)

Can you offer an alternative theory that explains this, or will you admit that you have nothing useful to say, so you hide the vacuum created by your blathering in a silken swath of trite opinion?

Re:On Loyalty (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207480)

Then why are you still working there? I got screwed over by my last employer of 7 years and it didn't take me that long to talk to a couple of suppliers that I knew didn't like the company and get them to connect me with other possible employers. A month later I gave my notice.

Scary... (5, Funny)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207540)

Looking at your Slashdot name, that post takes on a bit of an ominous tone. Is "gave my notice" some kind of euphemism?

Re:On Loyalty (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207552)

Amen to that! After showing my now former employer how I saved them approximately US$350,000 over the last two years by making some very simple & inexpensive changes, they handed me my 5 year milestone award & a layoff notice with nearly the same handshake. I really should have ripped that place off blind, but I didn't.

Re:On Loyalty (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207754)

I really should have ripped that place off blind, but I didn't.

No you shouldn't have. Keep classy and maybe one day they'll call you back as a $200/hr consultant - working from home - in your underwear.

Re:On Loyalty (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30208488)

working [...] in your underwear.

Mind you, if that's part of the contract, you may want to turn it down anyway.

Re:On Loyalty (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207696)

I used to be very logal to my employer.

Then the recession happened. They cut extra spending, so no more free lunches. No more employee outings. Morale went down. Next came raises. Oooh, we can't afford to give you a cost of living increase. The people accepted it, but morale went down. After the lunches and the raises were gone, we were told to that about 1/8 of the people in the building would be laid off. Morale went down. Then the layoffs happened. Morale went down. Then after they laid people off, they told us that there may be more layoffs coming. Morale went down. Then they told us that we would be micro-managed. Morale went down.

My employer is still better than most, and things around here are still gloomy...

Re:On Loyalty (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207840)

I'm curious. What should the company have done, in your opinion? Operating at a deficit is usually not an option for most companies (unfortunately, governments seem to think it's the norm, heh).

Re:On Loyalty (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30208560)

I'm not saying what they did was wrong, just that morale suffered. I know it needed to be done. My company was actually quite responsible with everything.

Re:On Loyalty (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207848)

If you feel that the company is treating you bad now... Imagine if they found out that you stole data from them, and used it against them... We had an employee do that. He is now bankrupt, and in essence lost everything. And we don't feel bad about it. Oddly enough if you leave your job on good terms even if they lay you off. Chances are they will at least give you a decent reference. Vs. a Yes he worked here and that is all I am gonna say.

Does the really... (1)

sudden.zero (981475) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207282)

surprise anyone? I mean come on in this recession anyone will do anything to have a competitive edge at getting the next 6 months worth of work. I don't hesitate to say that this trend started long before the recession and will probably continue long after its end. I know (End what's that)

I owe my employer absolutely nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207390)

At the moment I am looking for a change of job because my employer has basically told me to shut the frak up and "be grateful you have a job" and there will be no advancement for a couple of years. I work hard and smart and I'm sick of being taken advantage of so I've gathered up the passwords to the products we make and have been using them as part of my pitch to the competition. I've also made a copy of my .pst file because I'm contemplating a lawsuit against my current employer - but not until I have another job. I used to love my job but they've really pretty much abused me for a couple of years and now are using the global slowdown as an excuse to kick me around some more. No more, I say. I have no desire to hurt the company per se, but I am going to take anything and everything with me that will help me succeed with the competition and perhaps further my legal case. I don't trust "discovery" to discover much of anything.

Re:I owe my employer absolutely nothing (4, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207716)

Why would anyone want to risk hiring someone who demonstrates that they're crooked?

I've gathered up the passwords to the products we make and have been using them as part of my pitch to the competition

...

I am going to take anything and everything with me that will help me succeed with the competition

I won't even name my previous employer until the NDA has expired. As for passwords, etc., I do my best to forget them the minute I walk out, after handing them over. I don't even want to be tempted, and it's a small world. It's nice to be called back a year later because they know that, no matter whether you left on good or bad terms, you can still be trusted.

"If you're going to steal for me, what's to stop you from stealing from me?"

"If you're going to lie for me, what's to stop you from lying to me?"

"If you're going to screw someone else over, why should I trust you?"

"Would you do it for a million bucks? Yes? How about a dollar? What do you mean, 'What kind of a person do you think I am?' We already established that with your first answer!"

Trust is easy to lose - and once gone, you can end up like Kurt Greenbaum [kurtgreenb...apussy.com] the "social media director" who is now a pariah because he violated people's trust by revealing a posters' identity and then gloating about it in his column. Don't leave mad - just leave. Life is too short.

Re:I owe my employer absolutely nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30208296)

Well, I just got word when I left the office that I in fact got the job with the competition. I intend this to be the last job I have in this industry, so I really dont give a frak. I also think the sweetest part will be the lawsuit that I'll try and get in before Thanksgiving. I don't actually want to screw them by giving away trade secrets. The passwords are to products I've built and were intended to show off what I've done in lieu of a nice word from my current - not to be former - idiot of a boss. All I want is recognition that they're in the wrong. And a apology, of course.

Re:I owe my employer absolutely nothing (1)

The_REAL_DZA (731082) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207768)

"[self-righteous pissing and moaning, etc.]...so I've gathered up the passwords to the products we make and have been using them as part of my pitch to the competition."

I'm reminded of what I once heard a lady say on the subject of dating married men: "If he'll do it to them he'll eventually do it to you." In your case: any company who'll hire someone based on what they can illegally/immorally bring to the table will treat them like the crap they are when what they brought to the table is used up.

Re:I owe my employer absolutely nothing (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#30208206)

Exactly right. Regardless of your own personal ethics, any company that hires you because you're bringing confidential information to them isn't going to be a trustworthy place that values you as an employee.

If you really want to hurt them, make a copy of all this confidential information. Then find a job with a nice company that seems to value you. Now that your economic position is secure, you can have revenge: make sure your fingerprints aren't on this information, and anonymously mail it to some of your old company's competitor(s) (make sure it's not the same company you're now working for). You won't gain anything personally but revenge, but at least you'll be relatively safe (make sure it can't be traced back to you) and can screw them over.

So That's How It Works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207426)

Boss: Here's your paycheck, good job.
Worker: Your data is so safe. It's like motherfucking Fort Knox up in here.
*one week later*
Boss: You're fired.
Worker: I understand. Did you know information wants to be free. Particularly you're information. I happen to be an excellent consultant on wrangling information, as it is, and would like to offer you my services to stop your information from visiting anonymous FTP servers in Russia and China. Interested?
Boss: Here's your paycheck.

Re:So That's How It Works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207510)

Particularly you're information.

The boss is information? Huh?

Do they filter by position? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207446)

Because I'm sure the people working IT would have different statistics, given that we generally have ALOT more access to ALOT more information. I can read people's emails, I can look up every work order, I can view everyone's hard drives, browser history, heck, anything leaving the company network gets some log by the proxy.

I'm sure IT guys could find alot more valuable information, and as such, might be more willing to sell it.

Re:Do they filter by position? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207816)

That's a very good reason to treat your IT staff better

IT is not quite yet seen as a core necessity to some CEOs and boards...

Their companies will get more and more dependent on IT over time, and eventually they'll be burned by accidents or malicious employees.

Then either IT positions will become closely-monitored and guarded work, or IT workers will require more more trust and will get paid more

Re:Do they filter by position? (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207890)

yea, those photos of the boss cross dressing and dancing with a male hooker are worth a mint.

Re:Do they filter by position? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#30208070)

yea, those photos of the boss cross dressing and dancing with a male hooker are worth a mint.

People aren't afraid to own up to being blackmailed any more. Ask David Letterman - or better yet, ask the jerk who tried to cash the $2M check.

This isn't 1950 any more. People don't care if you're gay, lesbian, bi, trans, or like to sit at home and compose haikus.

Re:Do they filter by position? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30208366)

The IT guys also have a lot more to lose if they're caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

An engineer who stole some piece of information about the product they were designing is one thing.. a future employer may be willing to take the risk, watching them carefully, imposing restrictions, etc, esp. in a tight market, after a long enough time, if they were remorseful enough.

The IT guy who got caught stealing and selling the entire customer database, the sales contacts, and basically everything and then selling it... will never be trusted as an IT guy again. The latter will most likely have a criminal record now and be unable to hide it.

An Engineer e-mailing a design document out of the company to a competitor is a dismissal offense, plus possibly a lawsuit. But probably not jail time.

Survey was of white-collar crooks (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207518)

The survey asked banksters and Wall Street fraud artists: FTFA:

Carried out amongst 600 office workers in Canary Wharf London and Wall Street New York

We already know that Wall Street and Canary Wharf are full of crooks. I suspect that among that bunch, the 41% is low - the other 59% probably lied.

Re:Survey was of white-collar crooks (2, Funny)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207766)

The survey asked banksters and Wall Street fraud artists: FTFA:

Carried out amongst 600 office workers in Canary Wharf London and Wall Street New York

We already know that Wall Street and Canary Wharf are full of crooks. I suspect that among that bunch, the 41% is low - the other 59% probably lied.

Huh. That's the same stats for masturbation!

I think I need to get a government grant for that - Obama is promoting science.

Re:Survey was of white-collar crooks (4, Interesting)

tool462 (677306) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207782)

And specifically, if they're talking about business folks, as opposed to the IT guys, for example, then "stealing information" may include things like taking your client rolodex with you. While this is still ethically questionable, I don't think it's illegal. If it is, it at least has tacit approval by the entire industry with how pervasive it is.

Yeah right (5, Insightful)

ximenes (10) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207554)

I'm sure that some people do try to profit from illicitly obtained information from their past employers; I've heard a few stories here and there about people getting busted. But there is simply no way that 50% of everyone in the workforce is doing this for a few simple reasons:

1. Risk - I think everyone is aware that the damage to your career and professional reputation would be catastrophic if you were caught, not to mention the legal ramifications.

2. Ethics - Yes, people do have them. Maybe not everyone is the pinnacle of ethical behavior, but that doesn't mean every other person you see at the office is just waiting to mug you and steal your wallet in the parking lot.

3. Nothing to steal - The majority of employees just don't have access to proprietary information that is actually of value outside the company. Sure, I could tell a future employer about my company's HR policies or give them an org chart. That might be very slightly useful, but certainly isn't going to get me hired or land me millions. I could also give them all of the company's internally developed code, but it would be of little use without all of the institutional knowledge, expertise and essentially the entire original company to go along with it.

4. Employers are liable as well - Take the case of the people who tried to sell some of Coke's trade secrets to Pepsi. They were refused, and Pepsi informed the police. They know that they would be liable for the illegal behavior as well, and want no part of it. Now not every employer operates above board, but it's a risky game to try to sell information to someone who may not even want to buy it.

So in summary: bullshit.

Re:Yeah right (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207810)

...or give them an org chart

For many companies, you'd have to give an animated one. God, it seams like every other month, there's a news item of Kodak re-organizing!

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207916)

I agree it's not 50% ... even if mostly on #1 and #2 alone

What if the info you find implicates your company in wrongdoings, or helps others call their bluff during negotiations? That's slightly more likely

Certain competitors might discretely pay a lot of money to make sure that info winds up in the right hands... e.g. a District Attorney, the BSA, or a stock trader

nice uid

Re:Yeah right (1)

RedBear (207369) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207936)

To add to that, one of the most important things to remember:

5. There is no way in hell that 50% of the employed population, even if you're just looking at the corporate office lackey population, are smart enough to even get the idea that they might benefit from copying some sort of corporate business information. Most people are just struggling to make it through every day while getting an acceptable level of work done to avoid getting fired. It is ludicrous to think that one out of every two employees has a access, knowledge and skills to steal any significant amount of company information that would have even the remotest chance of benefiting them personally.

Now, one in six to one in ten, something in that range would be believable and still should be a trigger for added security levels. After all, it only takes one in a thousand being in the right position at the right time to do damage.

Re:Yeah right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30208002)

2. Ethics - Yes, people do have them. Maybe not everyone is the pinnacle of ethical behavior, but that doesn't mean every other person you see at the office is just waiting to mug you and steal your wallet in the parking lot.

We all know about the widespread, white-bred abuses going on in wall street. However, do not overlook tech companies which hire lots of gooks, Filipinos, and spics.

First-generation immigrants are not only incompetent, but xenophobic and to hostile those unlike them, especially caucasians (who are genetically and intellectually superior and tend to make the more animalistic employees envious on the basis of being able to speak decent English among other merits).

There should be laws preventing first-generation immigrants from Asian (including the Middle East), Latin, or African countries from working in the United States.

You say bullshit, I say desperation (2)

hellfire (86129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30208426)

You call bullshit, but this survey is about how desperate and scared people are.

1. Risk - In the industry I work in, even before the Recession, theft of data has always been a huge issue. No, theft of data is no big deal at your local 7-11, but at businesses with regular customers, it could be a simple matter for a salesrep to snatch it's customer roll and sneak off, start their own company, and take these customers with them. the survey talked to 600 people in Canary Wharf London and Wall Street New York. That happens there all the time too. Risk is not the same across all industries, and we aren't talking about the coke formula, we are talking about orders, customers, item lists, stuff more basic than a super secret soft drink formula.

2. Canary Wharf, Wall Street... nuff said about ethics there. In general, I disagree in that, particularly in the states, that a majority of people are that loyal to their employer. I'm loyal to my employer because they pay me well, and because if I did come up with an idea to steal data, I'd completely botch it since I'm horrible at intrigue, deceit, lying, and anything else you'd need to pull off illicit behavior. However, I hold no huge ideal that I should be loyal to them just because it's the right thing to do. They haven't exactly been 100% loyal to me. And if there is even a sniff that I might be laid off, I'm not thinking of my company, I'm thinking about me and where my next mortgage payment is coming from. Layoffs are still rampant in the US, and layoffs do NOT garner loyalty. My company has had layoffs.

3. nothing to steal - your answer thinks of only one industry, software. I work in software and software is protected by patents and copyright in the states, so it's hard to steal because lawyers catch you and sue you. However, as I've stated, in my industry, our customers worry about data security all the time. Customer roles, item lists, pricing, all these things give you a competitive advantage if you can find out what they are. Pricing in business to business transactions is all over the place, it's not one price for all like in retail. Find out what you are selling to which customers for what prices, then find a way to beat those prices and quietly steal those customers away... and you have a disaster. You could start investigating who is stealing them, but by the time you find out you've lost a lot of business and it's not economically beneficial to try to sue the guy for damages in general. You might get something back but you don't want to do that at all, because lawyer fees are a pain and the return on investment isn't like it is at large software or soft drink companies. You can't patent a price list.

4. Employers are liable as well - see legal liability under #3. Also, a lot of these salesreps just go off and found their own companies and take their customers with them, so the company and person taking the liability are one and the same, meaning no more additional liability than before, and the same amount of risk. What's even worse is that if you lay a salesrep off, you can't steal his brain. If he just remembers this information in his head, it's not illegal. You just have to hope to provide better value or try to scare them with a noncompete clause, which these days can be broken easily.

The US is at 10% unemployment, and businesses to this day do whatever they can to maintain large executive bonuses while staying in the black, and while Wall Street continues to suck the money from them. Money is trickling up, not down, and people feel cheated out of jobs and homes. If they feel cheated, you damn well better believe the employees will cheat back if they think they can get away with it. The employers who did not do everything they could possibly think of to be loyal to their employees will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

poor security practices strike again (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207582)

What is cause for alarm is the 13% of savvy pilferers who would take access and password codes as, with this information, they can still get into the network once they’ve left the company and continue downloading information and accessing whatever they want or need.

If the data is so sensitive, you'd think that a company would bother to change the passwords periodically so employees that have been let go can't get back into the system. However, security doesn't seem to be a terribly high priority so companies shouldn't be surprised when things like this actually happen.

Re:poor security practices strike again (2, Insightful)

cenc (1310167) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207786)

Yea, what happened to the good old days when they would find out they let you go by the locks being changed on your office door or not being able to log in, or worse the security guard has a box of your stuff at the front desk?

Personally, I do cut off all network access, email accounts, and so on with my own employees before informing them to hit the road, even if they are leaving under good terms. Fortunately, I have not had to fire many, because I generally don't treat them like shit and they don't treat me like shit. It really is an innovate corporate policy in this day and age.

Re:poor security practices strike again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30208618)

what exactly do people do with the 'sensitive information' or 'classified data' what do with it?

What is there a section of Ebay that people don't know about one that classified as "Sensitive Corporate Data" or "Classified"

Or is there another part of kregg's list no ones about

Not that i would like to know any of the answers to those questions

Causality error (2, Insightful)

The_REAL_DZA (731082) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207604)

"Causality error" in that they've mistaken the (observed) effect as a "cause". The fact is, the "global recession" has merely revealed a decline in workers' "ethics" that was already there and which had been forming for at least the past several decades. Despite what the talking heads (in both media and the government) are saying, this "economic downturn" is nowhere near as bad as the "Great Depression"; this according to the many "oldsters" I am in frequent conversation with -- my own parents included -- who actually lived through the period rather than merely learning about it from the history books -- and their recollections do not include such a widespread deterioration in the "morals" (their word -- read "ethics") of the population (and yes there were notable exceptions, some accounts of which are a little scary even to modern ears, but by and large people -- at least in this part of the country -- still left their doors unlocked at night; I triple-locked my doors almost religiously during even the much lauded "economic boom time" of just a few years ago!!) Poverty does not cause crime any more than crime causes poverty (including but not by any means limited to the "victims" of Mr. Madoff -- their poverty was caused by a mixture of greed and stupidity.)

Work ethics is a two way street (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207612)

Once your employer displays their intentions to sacrifice you for a fistful of dollars, you may feel that sacrificing their interest is also an option.

If the market is an ideal system, regulated by pure greed, then profit = good. Corporations have no morals, just greed.

In such an environment, what's wrong with an employee to seek the most profit from the employing corporation? As long as the employee turns positive cashflow post fines and prosecution fees everything should be fine. Even if the corporation goes bankrupt as a result; as long as the perpetrator's balance sheet is OK, collateral damage does not matter.

Right?

Contact list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207784)

This number is understandable if it includes people exporting their Outlook contact folder.

Survival (3, Interesting)

JM78 (1042206) | more than 3 years ago | (#30207788)

When push comes to shove survival of the fittest rules all. When it comes down to the wire of being able to support yourself and provide for your family, morality is far less a consideration than providing is. Simply put, like it or not, morality is in the eye of the beholder and nature doesn't give a rat's ass how you FEEL about anything.

Company's that don't treat their employees like valued assets will discover it is the very foundation of their business which will turn on them when they need them most. The old-boys-club (or woman's club nowadays) can fall to ruin under the pressure of a survivalist-economy just as quickly as they can layoff a $30k worker in HR rather than cut $100k+ executive pay or bonuses by 1% in order to help keep that worker and their company strong.

No loyalty or sense of community = no loyalty or care of the communities well being.

Damn right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30207856)

In my case, I created everything worth stealing in our company, except the company name and the customer database. Sure, I got paid while doing it, but if it will benefit me in the future, I'll use it. I wouldn't steal customer info, but the tech stuff, you bet. All I'd be doing is stealing back my own time and effort, the way I see it.

Re:Damn right... (2, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#30208164)

In my case, I created everything worth stealing in our company, except the company name and the customer database. Sure, I got paid while doing it, but if it will benefit me in the future, I'll use it. I wouldn't steal customer info, but the tech stuff, you bet. All I'd be doing is stealing back my own time and effort, the way I see it.

1. Are you going to pay them back the money they gave you in exchange for creating it?

2. Are you that poor a developer that a year later you can't think of a better way to implement something, that doesn't involve misappropriated the code that belongs to them, because they PAID for it?

3. Are you that poor a developer that you're basically a one-trick pony, and can't work on anything other than that one product?

4. Do you have the guts to put your name on it here and now?

Your mother would be ashamed of you.

Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30208110)

I just got fired today for false accusations that I broke an NDA with my ex-employer.

Just got back from the lawyers office. I don't have much chance of getting the job back, even if I wanted it, but I'm preparing legal action if they ever disclose to future employers that I broke their NDA, because I in fact, did not. Yes, I can prove that.

Re:Ironic (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 3 years ago | (#30208374)

I just got fired today for false accusations that I broke an NDA with my ex-employer.

Just got back from the lawyers office. I don't have much chance of getting the job back, even if I wanted it, but I'm preparing legal action if they ever lie to future employers that I broke their NDA, because I in fact, did not. Yes, I can prove that.

FTFY, assuming you're serious.

Define Sensitive Data? (2, Insightful)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 3 years ago | (#30208142)

Depending on how you ask the question, you'll get a different answer. Sensitive data range from a simple copy of the internal phone list, to a valuable dump of the client database. For programmers, I bet 95% would keep copies of minor programs they wrote believing they will be of use for them at a later job. Created on company time and therefore company owned perhaps, but that automatically mean any harm has been done.

The original article was lots of hype and scare tactics. What were they trying to sell again?

What information taken? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30208692)

Would be interesting to see what information they consider corporate data. I'm guessing with a statistic that high it is more phone numbers of friends in the business you might call to find your next job. That is way different that downloading the companies source code to share with your next employer. A survey geared to sell the companies software is likely skewed with leading questions.

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