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The big questions raised by Elon Musk’s lawsuit against OpenAI


The FTC has filed a lawsuit to block the largest supermarket merger in U.S. history. The regulator moved to block Kroger’s $25 billion bid for Albertsonswarning that the deal would raise prices and harm the bargaining power of union workers.

The husband of a former BP mergers and acquisitions executive who pleaded guilty this month to listening in on her phone calls and then using what he learned to illegally earn income. $1.76 million is not the only one exploiting remote work to obtain confidential information. There is also, for example, the compliance manager (yes, the compliance manager!) who is accused of exchanging information that he stole his girlfriend’s laptop. (He pleaded guilty under a cooperative agreement with the Justice Department.) Or the husband who, while his wife was answering work calls en route to a family vacation, heard that his company wasn’t would not miss its revenue expectations and was soon after accused of insider trading. (He agreed to pay the SEC more than $300,000 to settle the charges, without admitting or denying the allegations.)

This is not a new problem, but the post-Covid era of remote work has made it more prevalent. And businesses are not prepared. “Many employers have pretty robust data protections in place,” said Laura Sack, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine. “Less attention is paid to less sophisticated ways of violating confidentiality, such as having an overheard conversation.”

Treating family as an exception to confidentiality is a common but risky approach. “Do I think this happens every day? Yes,” said Robert Hinckley Jr., a shareholder in Buchalter’s Denver office. “As a lawyer, do you do this?” No.” Sack cites a hypothetical worst-case scenario: You share confidential information with your spouse, then when you break up, that person tries to use it against you. Ellenor Stone, a partner at Morris Manning & Martin, says she sometimes talks to his clients of the former principal of a prep school who won an $80,000 discrimination settlement – ​​which the school later refused to pay, citing confidentiality agreementafter his daughter posted about it on Facebook.

Can confidential conversations even take place in the age of working from home? Stone, who often works on sensitive personal issues, explains that if she knows someone else can hear her, even at home, she will send a message to the person she is speaking with and create code words for conversation, for example: “When I say Bob, I mean Brian, and when I say back surgery, I mean Brian’s heart condition. Sack said that during the pandemic, her husband referred to her parked car as a “mobile office” because it was often the only place she could guarantee she wouldn’t be within earshot of anyone else.


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