A top story of the day on many of the news outlets is about Sergey Aleynikov, the thirty-nine year-old former vice president who allegedly stole trade secrets from Goldman Sachs and stored them on a foreign server. The breathless headlines are staggering. Code theft could cost Goldman millions, US says, To Catch a Rogue Quant, Russian Said to Be Ex-Goldman Worker Charged in Theft and The Dumbest Man at Goldman Sachs.
As President Obama visits Russia, the homeland security, terrorism and anti-immigrant blogs are abuzz about the alleged Russian spy. You have to look hard to find the headline, Goldman sees no impact from computer programmer-source. It isn’t as exciting.
Before Aleynikov is hung for international espionage, I thought it would be good to dig a little bit deeper into what happened. According to the an affidavit by Michael G. McSwain entered into the Southern District of New York, FBI agent McSwain charges Mr. Aleynikov with “unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly, without authorization, copied, duplicated, sketched, drew, photographed, downloaded, uploaded, altered, destroyed, photocopied, replicated, transmitted, delivered, sent, mailed, communicated and conveyed, a trade secret that is related to and included in a product that is produced for and place in interstate and foreign commerce with the intent to convert that trade secret to the economic benefit of someone other than the owner thereof, and intending and knowling that the offense would injure the owner of that trade secret, to wit, Aleynikov, while in New York, New York, and elsewhere, copied, without authorization, proprietary computer code belonging to a financial institution in the United States and then uploaded the code to a computer server in Germany.”