A criminal case filed in King County Superior Court demonstrates the consequences faced by an employee who takes company documents without permission. Gerald Eastman, an 18-year employee and former quality assurance inspector for Boeing, is on trial facing 16 felony counts of “computer trespass.” According to published reports, in 2002, Eastman filed a 400-page complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration alleging quality assurance problems with Boeing aircraft. Starting in 2003, Boeing began investigating how company documents ended up in the hands of a reporter, including documents addressing company production rate numbers, where Boeing would build its 787, how much labor was required to build the 787, and assembly times and sales figures. Eastman was pinpointed as the source three years later, in 2006. A report from the trial indicates that Eastman’s defense is that he was an authorized user of Boeing’s computer system, which he used to gather evidence to support his “ethical concerns.” Seattle police found thousands of Boeing documents on Eastman’s home computer. Articles and other blog discussions about the case can be found here and here. In an interesting twist to this case, Eastman is keeping a blog about his own experience being on trial.
UPDATE: The case ended in a mistrial.