Protecting company information is crucial at every organization. Over the last few years there have been several major international incidents that involved data being illegally leaked to the press. The latest, Edward Snowden and the NSA surveillance program, has made international headlines but one of the biggest cases has just reached a resolution.
Last week, U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for his role in leaking classified documents as part of the Wikileaks program. It is a non-profit organization that has been responsible for releasing secret information with the help of anonymous sources since 2006. Manning was on trial for downloading roughly 700,000 classified military and diplomatic documents over a seven month span in 2010.
“The Manning prosecution has vividly demonstrated that, under our current legal system, there is little difference between the way we treat those who engage in espionage and those who disclose information to the press with the intent of informing public debate,” Mary-Rose Papandrea, a professor at Boston College Law School., told the Wall Street Journal.
Manning had faced a maximum of 90-years in prison and will be up for parole in eight years. He is also scheduled to be dishonorably discharged from the Army, forfeit all pay and benefits and have his rank reduced to the lowest in the Army.
Leaked or stolen information can be devastating to a company and can happen when a business does not have a secure and reliable document storage and information management solution for their hard copy and electronic files. In this case, the information stolen was from the government; in the case of a private or corporate business, owners and Executive Officers may be held liable for disclosures or breaches that involve their clients information and can face jail time as well.