Obstruction of Justice & Misprision of Felony
Uber’s former Chief Security Officer was found guilty of obstruction of justice and misprision of felony (taking steps to conceal a felony that one knows was committed). When
Joseph Sullivan was hired in 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was investigating a
data breach of approximately 50,000 Uber users which occurred in 2014.
On November 14, 2016, ten days after testifying to the FTC about the steps Uber was taking to secure user information, hackers once again breached their security and stole records of 57 million Uber users and 600,000 driver license numbers.
Concealing The Data Breach Instead of Alerting The FTC
Sullivan became aware of the latest hack immediately because the hackers emailed him
requesting a ransom in exchange for the stolen information being deleted. Instead of alerting the
FTC, he took steps to conceal the breach, including ultimately paying the hackers $100,000 in
Bitcoin. Sullivan also arranged for a non-disclosure agreement to be signed by the hackers to not
reveal the hack to anyone. This plan ultimately failed when new management at Uber became
aware of the data breach and disclosed it to the FTC in November 2017.
Hackers Face Computer Fraud & Conspiracy Charges
Both hackers were identified and plead guilty on October 30, 2019, to computer fraud
conspiracy charges. The U.S. Attorney prosecuting Sullivan says they will not tolerate
concealment of important information by corporate executives to protect their own reputation.
With the jury finding Sullivan guilty on both charges, he faces a maximum of 8 years in prison.
Companies store our personal information all the time. It is important to protect yourself
by monitoring your accounts and being selective with which companies your share information.
Taking a few extra steps could help prevent your information from ending up in the hands of
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you find yourself charged with a felony, call attorney experienced criminal defense
attorney Joseph Edwards at (614) 309-0243