Software exec ordered to surrender laptop after Facebook leak
The co-founder of a software company was ordered by a judgeto surrender his laptop to a forensic expert after admitting he turned overconfidential documents about Facebook to the UK Parliament in violation of a UScourt order.
Sensitive internal Facebook records that were supposed toremain sealed in a California lawsuit were leaked to a parliamentary committeeby one of the founders of app Six4Three, which sued Facebook three years agoover access to friends’ data.
A judge in state court in Redwood City, California, stoppedshort of holding the company in contempt, as Facebook requested, but said aftera hearing Friday that he may issue a contempt order and sanctions at a laterdate.
"What has happened here is unconscionable,"California Superior Court Judge V. Raymond Swope said to Six4Three co-founderTed Kramer and his attorneys during the hearing.
"Your conduct is not well-taken by this court. It’s onething to serve other needs that are outside the scope of this lawsuit. But youdon’t serve those needs, or satisfy those curiosities, when there’s a courtorder preventing you to do so."
Facebook wants the laptop to be evaluated to determine whathappened in the UK, to what extent the court order was breached and how much ofits confidential information has been divulged to the committee.
Kramer has admitted to traveling to London where he claimshe was pressured to hand over the information to Damian Collins, who headsParliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
At a hearing in London on November 27, Collins cited aninternal email retrieved from Kramer as part of the committee’s investigationinto the impact of fake news.
Richard Allan, vice president of policy solutions atFacebook, said he wouldn’t discuss the documents because of the court order.
Collins, who has said he’s free under UK law to release theinternal records, said the committee hoped to publish them in the coming week.
Facebook accused Kramer’s attorneys of complicity in therelease, arguing that Kramer could only have access to the sealed files in aDropbox account if attorneys gave it to him.
A third-party forensics team will pick up Kramer’s laptop,along with his attorneys’ computers, on Friday night. He didn’t bring it tocourt.
"He can voluntarily carry it to Parliament, but whenyour honor schedules a hearing the computer isn’t here?" said JoshuaLerner, an attorney for Facebook.
Thomas Scaramellino, a member of Kramer’s legal team and athird-party consultant, has also been ordered to turn over his laptop but hiswhereabouts were unknown Friday.
Kramer’s attorneys informed the judge that they could nolonger represent Kramer, who they said violated the court order withoutconsulting his legal counsel. Swope ordered the attorneys to remain part ofKramer’s legal team until the matter is resolved.