Snow Day, Employee Arrest At Fox/MySpace

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Los Angeles tech companies may not be able to stand up to their northern California neighbors when it comes to technology clout, but they sure do seem to have a more interesting and varied work life. While Silicon Valley based Facebook is busy getting users to vote on new terms of use (wake me up when it’s over), cross-state rival MySpace employees learn of an employee arrest over stolen confidential information and get a day off from work from a power outage.

All of it is chronicled by emails to employees, of course, which are promptly forwarded to us. The information theft and arrest is the more serious matter – confidential employee information, including “at least” name, social security numbers and compensation, was taken by an employee in the company’s benefit’s department without authorization, beginning in June 2008 or earlier. The information was used to “annoy selected individuals” and the now former employee was arrested and is being prosecuted by the High Tech Crimes Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorneys Office. The interesting details were left out of the email, but employees are urged to “remain vigilant for incidents of fraud or identity theft.”

No need to worry, though, because for some reason Southern California Edison decided to shut down the power to Fox and MySpace’s Beverly Hills office on Thursday from 9 am to 6 pm. and employees were told to stay home. “Employees…are expected to work from home” said the memo. My guess is that more than a few of them went to the beach, which is just down the road.

Emails are below.

From: Fox Entertainment Group
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 8:27 AM
To:
Subject: IMPORTANT NOTICE CONCERNING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

Dear Fox Employee,

An unfortunate situation has recently been brought to our attention. Certain confidential employee information (including at least your name, social security number, and certain compensation information) was acquired by an employee of the Company’s Benefits Department (whose employment has since ended) without the Company’s authorization. At this point, we do not have any information to suggest that bank account, beneficiary, or personal medical information was also improperly acquired. We are of course obligated to alert you to this situation, and we apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.

From what we have just learned, it appears the former employee first acquired the information in June 2008 (or possibly earlier). The investigation suggests that the confidential data was used to annoy selected individuals (whom we have already separately notified). However, we have no evidence to suggest that your confidential information was disseminated by the former employee to any third party or otherwise misused, and we will notify you immediately if we learn otherwise.

The Company reported the former employee to law enforcement and is fully cooperating with them. In that regard, we have been informed that law enforcement arrested the former employee and that the individual remains in police custody. Law enforcement also executed a search warrant at the former employee’s house at the time of the arrest and successfully retrieved data that had been acquired. The case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorneys Office, High Tech Crime Division. We will continue to work with the D.A.’s office and law enforcement as the case proceeds.

We are also analyzing our systems to reduce the possibility of any future breaches. In addition, there are a number of precautions you may wish to take, which we have included on the next page.

If you are a current employee and have any questions, please contact a manager in your Human Resources Department. If you are a former employee of the Company and have questions, please contact Lisa Klinger, Vice President of Compliance in the Benefits Department. Lisa’s number is 310-369-8031 (x 3-8031 if you are connected to the Company’s telephone network). You can also call Lisa toll free at 877-369-1369.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this incident may cause you.

From: FIM Human Resources
Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 6:28 PM
To: FIM Maple All
Subject: Special Alert — 407 Maple Building Closed for Work Thursday 4/16

Power Shutdown at Maple Thursday, 4/16

Due to a Southern California Edison power shutdown scheduled in the area between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, the 407 Maple Building will not be accessible for work on Thursday. Employees located at 407 are expected to work from home, as no computer or phone service will be available.

If you have a laptop, please take it home with you this evening. VPN service will be available, and blackberries will also be in service. (If you have already left for the day and not taken home your laptop, the building will be accessible by badge before 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, 4/17.) Please note that Shared Drives will not be available, even through VPN, as they are hosted from the Maple office. If you have meetings scheduled to take place at 407, please arrange to conduct them via conference call or reschedule them for another day. Managers please contact employees by phone who have either left for the day or who do not have a Blackberry.

Employees should check with their manager about any mission critical projects that must be completed while they are away from the office. If you are on an urgent project which must be completed by 4/17 and you do not have VPN access, please contact IT by writing the FIM Help Desk: fimhelpdesk@fox.com. If you need to arrange to work from another FIM location, please contact Facilities – facops@fox.com

Unfortunately, we were just notified of the impending power shutdown. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause. Thank you for your cooperation.

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