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Goldman Sachs Code Theft Not Quite So Cut and Dried 306

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the those-who-have-the-gold-make-the-rules dept.
The New York Times has some interesting details that are surfacing about the recent charges brought against Sergey Aleynikov, the programmer who allegedly stole code from Goldman Sachs on his way out the door to another job. "This spring, Mr. Aleynikov quit Goldman to join Teza Technologies, a new trading firm, tripling his salary to about $1.2 million, according to the complaint. He left Goldman on June 5. In the days before he left, he transferred code to a server in Germany that offers free data hosting. [...] After his arrest, Mr. Aleynikov was taken for interrogation to F.B.I. offices in Manhattan. Mr. Aleynikov waived his rights against self-incrimination, and agreed to allow agents to search his house. He said that he had inadvertently downloaded a portion of Goldman's proprietary code while trying to take files of open source software — programs that are not proprietary and can be used freely by anyone. He said he had not used the Goldman code at his new job or distributed it to anyone else, and the criminal complaint offers no evidence that he has."
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Goldman Sachs Code Theft Not Quite So Cut and Dried

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  • by Anonymous Cowar (1608865) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:38PM (#29178425)
    Here's the thing, Open source or not, taking it directly from his employer was a bad idea. If you modify a piece of software for in house use and don't distribute it outside, you don't have to distribute the source. If he wanted open source software, i know of a few places where he might find copies. (no links because you should know about google and source forge by now). So, if the source code HAD to have been taken from GS's servers, then it probably had proprietary in house changes which may not be re-licensed under the gpl (the gpl is a distribution license and kicks into effect as soon as GS starts distributing). That might still be theft of in house IP, which is bad.

    Anywho, in summary, weak sauce excuses are weak sauce.
    • Or maybe he'd prefer to grab shit off the gigabit network and upload immediately, instead of having to downloading it off the clogged, public tubes first.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        So what you're saying is that he was in the right because he was impatient?
        • I'm saying that I sure as fuck would have done the same if:

          I had shit on my pc/network at work
          I needed to upload it
          It was shit that wasn't FROM my work

          He's claiming he did the above, and accidentally grabbed some shit from his work in addition to the open source stuff.

          I could make the same mistake (then again, I'm not a retard).

          • Oh - and just to be clear, I don't believe him for one second.

            That fucker lies faster than a dog trots.

          • by timmarhy (659436) on Monday August 24, 2009 @06:16PM (#29178955)
            fail. if it's sitting on the companys computers and you've been working on it in company time, they own it. i can't fathom a reason he would copy personal projects onto company hardware if it wasn't to work on it.

            this is something that scares me a bit about the work i do. i've had employers get really pissed off at me leaving before, my greatest fear is that one day they might pursue me in this kind of manner out of spite. a perfect example was one of my early gigs - a fully automated laboratory system that ran linux. i developed it, supported it 24/7 and saved the company a fortune. in 3 years they never gave me a single pay rise. so i was forced to leave to better my financial situation, and my god my last 2 weeks consisted of snide remarks and petty shots at my work. I handled it by just going about my work as normal and tieing up as many loose ends as possible, not taking the bait at their attempts at rattling me. once my notice was up i offered them a very fair rate if they ever wanted me back as a contractor to fix things or do new developements, and it was turned down without even a moments consideration.

            the fearful part comes from how much work i took home with me, a really committed employee who enjoys his work will tend to wrap his life around his work. at that time it would have been hard to separate personal life from work. i don't think anyone should be penalised for that.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              "if you work on it using company resources, between the hours of 9am and 5pm, the company owns it" is a standard part of employment contracts, it is NOT law. I have requested that it be removed from all employment contracts I have signed, and it was either removed or a separate document was written specifying amended terms. (in most cases the term was simply omitted, in another it was re-written to include the additional condition that they only own it if they told me to do it, which I thought was a nice to

          • by hoggoth (414195) on Monday August 24, 2009 @06:18PM (#29178983) Journal

            I used to work at Lehman Brothers years ago. I was developing new trading software. Once a buddy brought me a PC game. He put a CD in a drive, copied the files to his PC and burned it to a new blank CD.

            The network admins got an alert from the CD burning and within 15 minutes security was making sure nobody entered or left the section we were in. We both almost got fired from the shit-storm that followed. They didn't overreact one bit. We were wrong. We were being paid good money to know better than to copy our personal files on the same network as proprietary company software. It was a good thing they reacted so quickly so we could hand them both CDs to prove we hadn't been stealing the company's proprietary competitive advantage to sell it to a competitor. That kind of inter-company espionage goes on ALL THE TIME.

            • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:00PM (#29179431)

              No offense, but they were idiots then. Why did they have CD burning capabilities in these PCs and why did they trust that the CD you handed them was the one you just burnt and you hadn't palmed one under your desk with the actual stolen code.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by MBGMorden (803437)

                and why did they trust that the CD you handed them was the one you just burnt and you hadn't palmed one under your desk with the actual stolen code.

                Not saying they necessarily did this, but if the software was already set to kick off a warning to them, then it may very well have also included a checksum for the data burned to the CD. It wouldn't be hard to take the CD and recalc a checksum to see if it matched.

                • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:27PM (#29179705)

                  The first part would still stand, obviously any burning was unauthorized, and they still sell "read only" CD drives today.

                  The second part, with your jusification, would imply that they knew what was being copied and thus should have been able to simply determine that this wasn't something they cared about.

                  Unless they half-assed it.

                  Which given they appearently went to all the effort of coming up with a system to detect file copies without going the full nine yards of removing the actual ability to copy files off the system, isn't that hard to believe. But it still gives them the stupid label.

            • by ChameleonDave (1041178) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:34PM (#29179767) Homepage

              We both almost got fired from the shit-storm that followed. They didn't overreact one bit. We were wrong.

              You appear to have a form of Stockholm syndrome.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by hoggoth (414195)

                > You appear to have a form of Stockholm syndrome

                No, I have gratitude that I didn't lose my job and get a reputation for being an idiot. Because I actually was. The PC didn't have a CD burner. We plugged one in.

        • What he did was wrong, but not for the reasons you think.

          Superfast trading puts all other traders at a disadvantage and essentially lets day traders manipulate the market. The SEC doesn't see fit to step in and stop the madness. They're a leech on the market and the frequency and volume of their trades hampers the ability for real investors(meaning people) to determine the volatility and legitimate trade volume of a stock.

          Some day the SEC will pull their head out of their ass and put a mandatory ownership period on all stock purchases of 48 hours or something. Addicted day traders might stop gambling away their retirement and it might put an end to these fast traders.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by AlXtreme (223728)

            Some day the SEC will pull their head out of their ass and put a mandatory ownership period on all stock purchases of 48 hours or something. Addicted day traders might stop gambling away their retirement and it might put an end to these fast traders.

            Perhaps. But don't forget that those day traders are making the market makers a lot of money. Each trade they make, the intermediary gets a cut. If you curb fast trading, you will seriously hurt quite a few companies that make most of their cash thanks to these

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              I believe fast traders are malignant as they do not add to the health of the company being traded, and instead siphon off capital that could have been invested in that company. They are gamblers, not investors. Your concentrating on the investors ignores the fact that the market is supposed to promote a healthy investment climate for businesses, not be a get rich quick scheme.

              Assume that an unregulated marked does spring up, though: how would it be different from an unlicensed betting parlour? Normal inves

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Dr Damage I (692789)

          In order to prove that theft has taken place, it is necessary to prove that the accused intended to steal. Or to put it another way: actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, which means that "the act does not make a person guilty unless the mind be also guilty" [wikipedia.org]. Thus, if indeed, taking the proprietary code was inadvertent, he is not guilty of theft.

          • by Tanktalus (794810) on Monday August 24, 2009 @06:17PM (#29178969) Journal

            a) tell the jury that

            b) how often does "but I didn't mean to steal it!" work in real-world (as opposed to academic or TV) court?

            • Dr. Damage, intent is not a requirement of all crimes. Repeat that 3 times.

              Tanktalus, actually when it comes to computers I can see that being a legitimate defense depending on the circumstances. I once uploaded one customers files to another customers FTP server. That was an egregious mistake that was quickly rectified. If one of my customers had gotten the police involved and claimed it was theft, it would have been very easy to explain how simple it can be to transfer a whole folder of documents without

          • Wow! A real life time-traveler! Well, allow me to be the first to welcome you to 2008. You may find it strange, here- a lot has changed since 1806!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I work for a linux vendor that does business in the finance industry, and you would be amazed at how many patches for software come through these firms. Of course it never appears that way, because the code is copyright Goldman or Morgan or whatever, and it can't be licensed under the GPL without jumping through a million hoops. The Lawyers don't get it, so people in the field wind up sending the patches out email and stuff. Technically any of these people could get picked up the same way.

      That's not t
    • by pz (113803) on Monday August 24, 2009 @06:51PM (#29179353) Journal

      Here's the thing, Open source or not, taking it directly from his employer was a bad idea. If you modify a piece of software for in house use and don't distribute it outside, you don't have to distribute the source. If he wanted open source software, i know of a few places where he might find copies. (no links because you should know about google and source forge by now). So, if the source code HAD to have been taken from GS's servers, then it probably had proprietary in house changes which may not be re-licensed under the gpl (the gpl is a distribution license and kicks into effect as soon as GS starts distributing). That might still be theft of in house IP, which is bad.

      Anywho, in summary, weak sauce excuses are weak sauce.

      Agreed. It might well be argued that knowing which open source packages were used is in itself proprietary, and therefore the mere copying of the packages from his employer, demonstrating a clear and discerning knowledge of valuable operational information, is sufficient for prosecution. Assuming he is just stupid and is not lying, he should just have waited until he was at his new job to grab the code from the original distributor (SourceForge, or wherever).

      I'm disinclined to believe that the copying was innocent. A number of my friends, and my spouse, work in the financial industry, and nearly every action taken in life is scrutinized. Exiting a position, doubly so. Everyone knows this, and there is a good reason: when salaries are in the 7-digit range, people's motivations become rightfully suspect.

      • by ChameleonDave (1041178) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:39PM (#29179803) Homepage

        Assuming he is just stupid and is not lying, he should just have waited until he was at his new job to grab the code from the original distributor (SourceForge, or wherever).

        It's lovely, seeing with 20-20 hindsight, isn't it?

      • by sgt_doom (655561) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:15PM (#29180681)

        I think everyone (or almost everyone) is missing the larger point here. This software, from Goldman Sachs, is what they are using to get the jump on everyone as part of their HFT (high frequency trading gambit). What they are doing is technically fraudulent and illegal, which was why they used their extraordinary influence with the US Government - which they, and the rest of the banksters now officially own - to IMMEDIATELY have Sergey arrested.

        Also, all the Euro papers and blogs I perused stated that the code was originally uploaded to a server in London, United Kingdom. Something appears amiss here (and the game is still afoot, BTW).

    • If you modify a piece of software for in house use and don't distribute it outside, you don't have to distribute the source.

      Maybe. Maybe not. AFAIK the issue has never been tested in court. But consider that, if you take a copy of Microsoft Office, and make lots of copies for internal use only, even though you aren't distributing the software externally you will still be guilty of copyright infringement. I would suggest that the same rules would apply to the act of internal distribution of GPL software - you either abide by the license, or you are guilty of copyright infringement. Copyright law does not distinguish between inter

      • That analogy is, unfortunately, wholly incorrect.

        The GPL requires you to distribute the source code to everyone you give the binary. If you do not distribute the binary but keep it in house, there is nothing that forces you to hand out any changes you've made to the source.

        This isn't even a loophole in the GPL, this is in there by design --- if I "buy" GPL software from someone, I own it --- I am free to modify it in any way I see fit, and unless I'm seeking to profit by re-selling it, I have no further obl

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mabhatter654 (561290)

        the GPL defines publishing as submitting the code to "outside". For the purposes of a company, internal GPL code that never leaves company owned machines is just the same as your personal modifications on your personal machine. The Company, or their IT staff, is the Owner/maintainer, so it's not considered "publishing" to push changes onto company owned desktops or servers.

        This is how Google keeps gobs of Linux customizations they make living on the GooglePlex pushing out google searches but the code neve

  • by davidwr (791652) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:40PM (#29178455) Homepage Journal

    Criminally negligent carelessness or a clever disguise for future criminal intent? Short of reading his mind, we may never know.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mwvdlee (775178)

      I vote for "clever disguise", but only because "stupid disguise" was not given as an option.

      Why would a developer who's apparently worth US$ 400,000.- copy open source sourcecode from his employer's code repository whilst he could have just as easily copied the exact same code from the actual origin? Can anybody tell me a good reason why his claimed actions are in any way preferable to the obvious way of obtaining the source code?

      • Laziness + Arrogance could lead someone to do that. Consider this train of thought:

        "I've got lots of open source software here I'm going to want to use this evening. It's going to be a minor inconvenience Googling for it and downloading it all. I know, I'm smart enough to easily and immediately pick out the open source from proprietary code, archive, compress and upload it to a remote server for instant access this evening"

        Of course, if the truth was anything other than "I want to keep a copy of valuable c

        • by Obfuscant (592200)
          Consider this train of thought: "I've got lots of open source software here I'm going to want to use this evening. It's going to be a minor inconvenience Googling for it and downloading it all.

          How about this one: "I've got this older version of open source software on my system at work that I prefer because the newer versions have been crippled by imagined intellectual property issues and I can't get the older version off the net anymore."

          Don't scoff. I ran across exactly this issue last week. A great o

          • ...and I have my own patches to makefiles and whatnot (have nothing to do with the proprietary parts) which are not terribly hard to re-create, but I'm lazy to do it again. I'll just fetch my working copy. This, for one, sounds familiar to *me*. :-)
  • Weird phrase (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:41PM (#29178473) Homepage

    Can you really "waive your rights against self-incrimination"? Like, now that he's waived his rights, he's required to incriminate himself?

    • Re:Weird phrase (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:48PM (#29178583)

      Yeah, phrased weirdly, but I assume it means something like, "he incriminated himself even after being advised of his Miranda right to remain silent". It might mean something stronger, though, like police actively asked him if he was waiving his right not to incriminate himself, and he confirmed that he was--- police sometimes do this so that the recorded interview is absolutely clear that the suspect knew what his rights are and was consciously waiving them, rather than speaking accidentally or because he was tricked into incriminating himself.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Zombywuf (1064778)

        Or sometimes will be outside and ask to use your toilet. Let em in and bingo, rights waived.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by BigHungryJoe (737554)

          Wow, that's a good piece of info. You know of a case where the police did that?

          Never let the cops use your toilet.

          • Re:Weird phrase (Score:5, Informative)

            by CodeBuster (516420) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:49PM (#29179893)
            For those who are interested, the Electronic Frontier Foundation [eff.org] has put together a Surveillance Defense Project [eff.org] manual which discusses the basics of government search and seizure powers in the United States (among other things). There are other sources available on the same and related topics (the searches are left as an exercise to the reader), but basically the only way to completely preserve one's rights when dealing with the authorities is to refuse any cooperation, other than name and id, from the very start and continue that refusal until one's attorney is present and one is acting under advice from that attorney. Of course, our individual rights are being constantly diminished in this country so your mileage may vary, but at least in theory if you want to protect your 5th amendment right against self incrimination you must never cooperate, not even partially, until you are acting under the advice of your attorney, even if you have not yet been arrested or detained (i.e. this applies to any interactions with the authorities under any circumstances).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Well it's a bit weird in the wording, but it makes sense. The "right against self-incrimination" is spelled out in the 5th amendment, which includes the text, "nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself". This is the part that makes it so police have to tell you that you have the right to remain silent. You can, however, waive that right and talk to the police anyhow, thereby "waiving your right against self-incrimination."

    • Re:Weird phrase (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:54PM (#29178667)

      Can you really "waive your rights against self-incrimination"?

      Yes.

      Like, now that he's waived his rights, he's required to incriminate himself?

      No, it means that once he made the waiver, the statements he made to law enforcement can be used against him in a court of law and he cannot assert his Constitutional right against self-incrimination to have those statements excluded from evidence at trial (or, at least, provided that evidence shows that he did in fact waive those rights, an attempt to do so would fail.)

    • Yes, you can waive your rights, no you aren't now required to. What it means is that you have said "I understand that what I say and what evidence I reveal can be used against me, and I'm ok with that." You would do this, presumably, because you are innocent and believe that the evidence thus won't be used against you because it won't implicate you.

      More or less, waiving your rights is a formality that the police often go through, especially when related to searches, to make sure you can't change your mind l

  • Holy JESUS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitterAndDrunk (799378) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:41PM (#29178475) Homepage Journal
    $1.2m a year to PROGRAM??

    I'm in the wrong industry vertical.

    • by camperdave (969942) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:45PM (#29178537) Journal
      Maybe you're just at the wrong horizontal.
      • Re:Holy JESUS (Score:5, Insightful)

        by wandazulu (265281) on Monday August 24, 2009 @06:09PM (#29178883)

        It's not worth it. It's just not worth it. I have never been more miserable than when working in such an establishment. I never, ever, ever thought I could get used to being called an a-hole to my face for, well, anything...that's just how you referred to. And while the executive offices were likely very nice, I sat in a cube with ripped fabric, working under a flickering florescent light.

        In addition to what others have said, insanely long hours, unbelievable pressure (I was told that if I didn't have something working in production by Sunday night that I should just assume I'm fired), I can say that in 1996 I took 3 days off: New Years, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I worked every other day.

        Not worth it. Absolutely not.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Lord Bitman (95493)

          In exchange for no days off for one year of my life, I could be paid more money than my current prospects have me making (gross) for the next 40 years?

          I'll call it worth it. Where do I sign?

          • by Itninja (937614)
            It would take you 40 YEARS to make 1.2m??? What, do you work at Quiznos? I am a lowly sysadmin for a non-profit and make enough where I could hit 7 figures in about 15 years.
      • Nah. His universe hat the wrong time topology. Too much fresh fruit!
        *ahhh* *jumps aside*
        Did someone say pineapple?

    • Re:Holy JESUS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cptdondo (59460) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:47PM (#29178577) Journal
      Well, you earn it. My sister used to work on wall st; got all sorts of perks. Catered dinners and a chauffeur home when she worked late, that sort of thing. Thing is, the late nights, killer pressure, and absurdly long weeks were the norm. Me, I make probably a tenth of what she did, but I show up at 7:30 and leave at 4, and sleep at night. I have time for my kids and family. I've never worked on a weekend on this job. So yup, you can make $millions; you can also lose your soul.
    • Re:Holy JESUS (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:51PM (#29178631) Journal
      For GS, he was making approx 400k. That's not outlandish for the kind of optimized programming on optimized hardware required for automatic trade execution, which is highly time-sensitive.

      But it's not just the programming skills that demand that much pay. There's lots of specialized knowledge, and some ability that likely you or I are not capable of[1].

      1.2 MM for a different company? Likely the extra $800k was for the inside knowledge of what GS was doing.

      [1] I don't know what your abilities are. But given my own geek-normal tendencies to overestimate my own abilities, I think it's quite possible that others do the same :)
      • Mmmmm I think I could pick up what they need. I don't have it NOW and certainly aren't in the market for 14 hr days.

        But it does make me look at a lot of the development positions in the trading industry in a little bit of a different light.

    • I guess that million-dollar salary is evidence of their desperation.

      At least every day for the past three or four years I've gotten inquiries from recruiters for Solomon-Page and Bloomberg, and occasionally other New York City investment firms. They specifically want C++ coders, which is what I'm best at.

      If I respond at all, it's to say that I don't want to live in new york city.

      However, the last time any of them named a specific salary potential was back in 2002 or so. I guess the pay scale has inc

  • sounds fishy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shadowofwind (1209890) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:41PM (#29178477)

    He said that he had inadvertently downloaded a portion of Goldman's proprietary code while trying to take files of open source software

    Why try to take open source software instead of downloading it when you need it?

     

    He said he had not used the Goldman code at his new job or distributed it to anyone else.

    It sounds like maybe he wanted to keep it around for possible later reference. Not uncommon, but not innocent either.

    • Why try to take open source software instead of downloading it when you need it?

      It might not be publically available ; if GS based any of their internal code on GPL code that would qualify as "Open Source", distribution of the software would require distribution of the source. As a programmer he may well have had the software distributed to him, so taking a copy of the source could be legal (strictly speaking, GS should offer it to recipients of the software), and GS wouldn't be able to restrict what he did with it.

      It sounds like maybe he wanted to keep it around for possible later reference. Not uncommon, but not innocent either.

      We've probably all done it ; I've certainly written some bits of code t

      • In the past I haven't drawn the line exactly where you have, but I agree its a somewhat arbitrary judgment call.

        The irony of course is that Goldman Sachs execs don't want him stealing 'their' code, but they have no qualms about essentially stealing gazillions of dollars from everyone else as long as their lobbyists have the legal formalities taken care of.

      • That is not how the GPL works.

  • Print sceen (Score:4, Informative)

    by parallel_prankster (1455313) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:42PM (#29178499)
    To steal code, you print screen and save it as an image file :)
  • Public Defender (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    $400k/year then $1.2mm and you use a public defender. Seems like someone is taking advantage of the system.

  • Separation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by R2.0 (532027) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:46PM (#29178543)

    Keep your personal business and your company's business separate. For instance, I have a separate banking account whose sole purpose is to hold expense reimbursements until I pay the ccard. Why? Because it's just too damned easy to screw up and cause yourself trouble all out of proportion to the original mistake.

  • I don't buy it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:46PM (#29178553)

    He is a developer so by definition he is computer literate; you don't "accidentally" copy the wrong files (especially since they have BASH LOGS of what he did). However, even if what he says is true WHY IN THE NAME OF FUCK would you copy Open Source Software from your development machine instead of directly from the source? The potential for the appearance of impropriety is bad enough. On top of that, according to the original Slashdot article a while back he also encrypted the files. WHY IN THE NAME OF FUCK would you bother to encrypt Open Source Software files? While everything he said is technically plausible, it just comes off as fraudulent in the same manner as Hans Reiser's defense; i.e. "I'm so smart and I have an answer for everything". I suspect the next thing we hear about this story will involve a plea deal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by avandesande (143899)

      So what? Regardless of what his intentions were if he didn't sell or give away the code to anyone he didn't commit a crime.

    • I have proof!

      Exception handling used for process control.
      Functions with 27 exit points.
      GUI threads running I/O.
      Databases with tens of thousands of tables with no referential integrity.

      Odds are this guy is a 110'er. "Smart" enough to copy his code. Dumb enough to do it over the network.

      -Rick

    • Re:I don't buy it. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by owlstead (636356) on Monday August 24, 2009 @06:14PM (#29178941)

      I don't know, if I copy my "c:\java" folder at work I end up with literally gigabytes of open source libs, API's etc. all neatly arranged. It would take quite some time to get them back. Some sources are even hard to trace, I've got a open source Java version of the linux/GNU "file" command somewhere, taken from a media server or such. Can't find it anymore. If I would copy that folder I would have some general purpose libs that I compiled myself as well. Yes, I could just take the directory tree and be done with it, but why not copy the folder minus the company libs? And after that a mistake is easy to make.

      Not that I would do such a thing, (besides being unable to move this much info from my system anyway), but I could imagine that it is likely that people do such things. Hey, maybe he was even developing the O/S software. Encryption? I am so used to encrypting *any* application that I am sending out of the door that I would probably do it automatically. If only to confuse the company virus scanner.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      He is a developer so by definition he is computer literate; you don't "accidentally" copy the wrong files (especially since they have BASH LOGS of what he did).

      Complex source tree. Closed source gets muddled up with open source somehow. He forgets to exclude certain files. Easy to do.

      However, even if what he says is true WHY IN THE NAME OF FUCK would you copy Open Source Software from your development machine instead of directly from the source? You have 30 different applications each doing a little
      • maybe he used sftp instead of ftp. I know that's how I copy my .bashrc when I'm leaving a company

  • I guess the moral here is pretty much summed up by Napoleon Bonaparte.
    "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sexconker (1179573)

      So "Troll -1" and "Flamebait -1" should be folded into "Offtopic -1" and "Redundant -1"?

  • I'd like to see that shit scrutinised and publicised. Seems a tad shady, like most of the rest of that Wall Street business.

  • by netruner (588721) on Monday August 24, 2009 @06:01PM (#29178769)
    No evidence of wrongdoing has really been presented. The article (I did RTFA) seemed to say that because some files went out, the company immediately began legal proceedings without even knowing what they were. It seems like PHBs are declaring what the "valuable" files are. I'm also shocked the way the FBI has handled this - there has to be more than we're seeing.

    Having said all of that - it does look like (at least the article makes it look this way) the established firms are manipulating the legal system to prevent new competitors from getting on their feet. Slap suits used to be civil only - I would think that attempting criminal slap suits would have some legal consequences for the one filing the false (or should have known they were false) charges.
  • He's an idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by krou (1027572) on Monday August 24, 2009 @06:07PM (#29178857)

    Mr. Aleynikov waived his rights against self-incrimination, and agreed to allow agents to search his house.

    He's a f*cking idiot, and probably watched too much CSI and other cop shows where they always show people talking without their lawyer. Don't talk to the police [youtube.com], or the FBI, or any authority without your lawyer. Doesn't matter if you are innocent, doesn't matter if you have an explanation, an alibi, whatever. Just don't do it, because you can and will say something that can be used against you in a court of law.

  • Interesting... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Monday August 24, 2009 @06:12PM (#29178929) Homepage

    The interesting part of the article is actually in paragraph 3 (i.e., before anything the submitter thought was important):

    At a bail hearing three days later, a federal prosecutor asked that Mr. Aleynikov be held without bond because the code could be used to "unfairly manipulate" stock prices.

    Of course, it's perfectly fine that Goldman-Sachs management and traders have code that could be used to "unfairly manipulate" stock prices. But when a private citizen gets their hands on something like that, look out! God knows we wouldn't want the hoi-polloi to have the same chance to "unfairly manipulate" stock prices that the big boys have.

    • Re:Interesting... (Score:4, Informative)

      by bitrex (859228) on Monday August 24, 2009 @06:42PM (#29179249)
      You might be interested in the following article detailing some of Goldman's creative business practices: http://market-ticker.denninger.net/archives/1364-America-Is-Running-Out-Of-Rope.html [denninger.net]

      No effort is spared in government to protect the dishonest business practices of these sheisters, and no effort is spared in the media to disguise it as the parent companies of the major media outlets benefit greatly from keeping the public in the dark.

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. research analyst Marc Irizarry's published rating on mutual-fund manager Janus Capital Group Inc. was a lackluster "neutral" in early April 2008. But at an internal meeting that month, the analyst told dozens of Goldman's traders the stock was likely to head higher, company documents show.

      Nothing like selling bonds out the front door and shorting them on your prop desk, right? Oh wait, Goldman did that too!

      Securities laws require firms like Goldman to engage in "fair dealing with customers," and prohibit analysts from issuing opinions that are at odds with their true beliefs about a stock. Steven Strongin, Goldman's stock research chief, says no one gains an unfair advantage from its trading huddles, and that the short-term-trading ideas are not contrary to the longer-term stock forecasts in its written research.

      Riiiight. And I'm the Easter Bunny.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shados (741919)

      people who work for companies like Goldman, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and others are -heavily- audited and regulated, from the trader right down to the IT guys, to avoid any form of abusing or insider trading. Of course, Im sure they miss some, but its very, very strict.

      Once you don't work for them anymore and aren't part of the audit procedures, you become a lot more dangerous.

  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Monday August 24, 2009 @06:53PM (#29179371) Homepage Journal
    A "Quant" is a quantitative investor; basically they have software that gives them a license to print money - or tries to. We have all seen the result of that practice.

    It slipped my mind just now that I actually used to work for a quant myself, as a consultant. It was a futures hedge fund. That is, it would buy and sell pork belly and crude oil contracts in such a way as to... print money.

    The guy who owned the fund is the richest person I have ever met, or am ever likely to meet. Yet they tried to stiff me out of my last month's paycheck, and wouldn't pay me unless I removed from my homepage what their directory of research said of me: "Your code is by far the best in our codebase."

    I just violated my termination contract by telling you that. Fuck 'em - I shouldn't have had to sign that contract just to get the paycheck they owed me anyway.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dkleinsc (563838)

      I just violated my termination contract by telling you that. Fuck 'em - I shouldn't have had to sign that contract just to get the paycheck they owed me anyway.

      If you were an employee (not a contractor), you probably didn't. In most states withholding pay like that is illegal.

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