In an ironic twist of events, a memo send by the parent company of social networking app Snapchat threatening its employees with potential jail-time for leaking company information, seems to have leaked out.
The memo, allegedly send by Michael O’Sullivan, Snap’s chief lawyer and general counsel, says that the company has “zero-tolerance policy for those who leak Snap Inc. confidential information”.
The memo from Snapchat was originally obtained by Cheddar, who have published it in its entirety. As part of its ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, any employee found to be leaking information to the media is liable to not just lose their job, but also face lawsuits, both of the civil and criminal variety.
“You can face personal financial liability even if you yourself did not benefit from the leaked information. The government, our investors, and other third parties can also seek their own remedies against you for what you disclosed. The government can even put you in jail”
The memo also suggested what kind of communication may be considered a breach. “This (the rule) applies to outright leaks and any informal “off the record” conversations with reporters, as well as any confidential information you let slip to people who are not authorized to know that information.”
Leaking of information in the media has become an increasingly sensitive topic of late. In the world of technology, no company has been known to go to more extreme lengths than Apple to protect internal developments.
As this piece in The Outline says, Apple uses investigators around the world and goes to extreme lengths to protect its secrets. “Some of these investigators have previously worked at U.S. intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), law enforcement agencies like the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service, and in the U.S. military.” Ironically, this information was obtained through leaked audio recordings.
Snap Inc’s hard stance seems to stem from leaks which were published in The Daily Beast. That piece revealed secrets such as user metrics of the app, but also mentioned “the company has become so privacy-obsessed it blocks access to its own app at parties and events.” It’s clear that the IPO and the decline in the app’s fortune which followed soon after has pushed Snap to the edge of, well, snapping. Whether this latest memo will actually stop leaks is another matter altogether