No Federal Prohibition on Stealing Code for Trading Infrastructure
|Apr 18th, 2012 | Filed under: Algorithmic and high-frequency trading, Regulatory, Today's Post | By: cfaille||
When Sergey Aleynikov walked out of prison this February, the fact drew considerable attention, and allowed room for some guesswork as to the reason.
Aleynikov, a one-time Goldman Sachs programmer, had been convicted after a jury trial of stealing his employer’s computer code in violation of both the National Stolen Property Act and the Economic Espionage Act, and was sentenced in March 2011 to eight years in prison.
An April 11th opinion has now clarified the rather gnomic February order that set Aleynikov free. Also, this full opinion includes a concurrence that suggests that Congress should revisit the issue and try to tighten up the wording so that a less lenient fate may await future Aleynikovs. Arguments about what role the federal government and its criminal enforcement authority ought to play in this area will no doubt continue, and may well in time have a great impact on the worlds of algorithmic and high-speed trading.
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Christopher Faille is a Jamesian pragmatist. William James has taught him, for example, that "you can say of a line that it runs east, or you can say that it runs west, and the line per se accepts both descriptions without rebelling at the inconsistency."