No one likes leaks including your favorite musician. So, it would make sense that everyone's favorite SoundCloud rapper and Telsa CEO, Elon Musk, would get a little "annoyed" at any employees leaking any info regarding the electric car company to the general public and to the press.
Ironically, an email leaked this past week highlighting how serious Tesla takes these leaks warning of outsiders who "will do anything to see us fail", and how these same outsiders are targeting employees for information via social networks and other methods. Let's take a further look.
As expected, the email reminded the employees that they have all signed confidentiality agreements, warning that legal action will be taken if anyone steps out of bounds from the set agreement. “Tesla will take action against those who improperly leak proprietary business information or violate the non-disclosure obligations to which we all agreed. This includes termination of employment, claims for damages, and even criminal charges", said the email.
"When anyone joins Tesla, they agree they “will hold in the strictest confidence and will not disclose, use, lecture upon or publish” any of Tesla’s confidential and proprietary information."
The email's threatening tone was directed even more so at employees who have potentially shared sensitive information with the press as this has become a growing issue with the electric car company.
Just this past January, an employee was caught for sharing confidential business information on Twitter, including production numbers, with journalists. While another employee was forced to leave the company after it was discovered that they had posted the phone number to an internal meeting on social media.
Leaks and The Media
Elon Musk has one of the most interesting relationships with the media, even directly challenging it on multiple occasions. The CEO believes what he is doing is changing the world, and his actions have not really proved otherwise. However, internal conflicts within tech companies like these have become a staple of the tech world.
Leaks are not completely uncommon among tech companies and most if not all of them share the same sentiment found in the email. In some cases, leaks are used to generate buzz. Steve Jobs was notorious for ruthlessly pursuing anyone willing to leak tech details about upcoming projects.
Here is the full email courtesy of CNBC:
Subj. Please Read - Confidentiality Reminder
If you read the news, you know that there is an intense amount of public interest in anything related to Tesla. As a result of our success, we will continue to see an interest from people who will do anything to see us fail. This includes people who are actively seeking proprietary information for their own gain, targeting Tesla employees through personal networks or on social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. These solicitations are not only potentially damaging to our company, they can also be illegal, putting you and your colleagues/friends at risk for termination or even the possibility of criminal charges.
As an employee and a shareholder, each of us has a responsibility to safeguard all information and technology we use and generate every day.
When anyone joins Tesla, they agree they “will hold in strictest confidence and will not disclose, use, lecture upon or publish” any of Tesla’s confidential and proprietary information. Tesla will take action against those who improperly leak proprietary business information or violate the non-disclosure obligations to which we all agreed. This includes termination of employment, claims for damages, and even criminal charges. If you would like another copy of your Confidentiality Agreement, please send an email to your HR partner or email [HR email address redacted].
If you receive a solicitation for information via social media do not respond and please forward it directly to [Security email address redacted].
The security team will determine whether any additional action is necessary.
We recognize that not everyone who leaks information may be doing so intentionally or with an intent to harm the company. To that point, we ask that you assume what you are working on is sensitive, and do not share details of your work with friends, family, or people outside the organization.
Contact [Security email address redacted] if you think you or your team may benefit from training or a more complete understanding of how to protect our intellectual property and confidential business information.
If you’re unsure about what constitutes unacceptable behavior, illegal disclosures or theft of intellectual property, here are some recent examples to illustrate inappropriate conduct and the potential consequences:
* This month, an employee posted the dial-in information of an internal meeting on social media. This employee was identified and terminated the following day.
* A felony charge was filed last month against a former employee who exfiltrated confidential business information from the Tesla domain to his personal account and threatened to disclose confidential company information.
* A former employee uploaded Tesla intellectual property to a personal iCloud account and left the company for a competitor. Tesla filed a lawsuit and is suing him for stealing trade secrets.
* Tesla filed a lawsuit against former employees and a competitor for stealing proprietary information and trade secrets to help the competitor leapfrog past years of work needed to develop and run its own warehousing, logistics, and inventory control operations.
* In January an employee was identified for sharing confidential business information on Twitter, including production numbers, with journalists. The employee was terminated for violating their NDA and Tesla’s Communications policy.
It’s every employee’s responsibility to honor and sustain our culture of progress and sharing, while still abiding by company policy. To do otherwise would be a disservice to your colleagues, our mission, and the hard work you do every day. Thank you for doing your part to advance Tesla’s mission by raising awareness and protecting your valuable work.