Sony Unlikely to Face Criminal Negligence Charges in Breach
In light of Sony’s data breach, many people are making the case that their weak security constitutes criminal negligence. It may be appropriate considering Sony is an electronics company who should be held to a higher standard. Had they been an international supplier of lumber, we might be willing to give them more leeway. But let us not forget that Sony is the victim here. If a man walks into a bad neighborhood holding handfuls of cash and is robbed, it may very well be his own fault, but to argue his negligence was downright criminal will be a tough sell.
Sony is even less likely to be pursued criminally considering it’s already difficult enough to even convict perpetrators these days. Examine the financial crisis of 2008 and you’ll quickly realize that misdeeds were rarely handled outside of civil court. A shining example is the U.S. v. Deutsche Bank in a recent mortgage fraud case. In an excerpt about it by Fox:
by choosing to bring a civil case, instead of a criminal one, the feds have assured that more alleged fraud on Wall Street during the housing bubble will be met with fines rather than more serious sanctions. The reasons for the reluctance to charge Deutsche Bank or its employees with criminal charges are diverse, but likely come down to the higher burden of proof and collateral damage that go hand-in-hand with criminal charges. “Firms can do significant damage to themselves, to taxpayers and their customers without committing crimes. Negligence, recklessness and stupidity can go a long way,” said Dan Richman, a law professor at Columbia.
You hear that Sony? Stupidity isn’t criminal, even though many would like it to be. This doesn’t mean they’re off the hook completely since they are already liable for over $2 Billion as a result of customers (as calculated by the Ponemon Institute) canceling their current credit cards and having new ones issued. If card numbers have in fact been stolen, customers have no choice but to take this precaution at Sony’s expense.
Sony will have their day in court but no one will be going to jail…
Our Related Articles:Last modified: September 28, 2013
Sean Murray is the President and Chief Editor of deBanked and the founder of the Broker Fair Conference. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter. You can view all future deBanked events here.