Former NSA contractor indicted in theft of classified government information News
Former NSA contractor indicted in theft of classified government information

A former National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] contractor was indicted [indictment, PDF] on Wednesday by a federal grand jury on charges that he willfully retained national defense information. US officials are stating [press release] that the theft by Harold Thomas Martin may have been the largest heist of classified government information in history. Martin allegedly spent over 20 years stealing highly sensitive government material [CNN report] related to national defense. It is unclear what, if anything, Martin did with all the stolen data. Martin now faces 20 criminal counts, each of which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Martin worked for Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp, which also employed Edward Snowden. Martin was employed as a private contractor for at least seven different companies, beginning in 1993. His positions dealing with government computer systems, gave him various security clearances that routinely provided him access to top-secret information. The indictment alleges Martin stole documents from US Cyber Command, the CIA, the NSA and the National Reconnaissance Office [official websites]. Martin’s initial appearance in the US District Court for the District of Maryland is scheduled for next Tuesday.

Governments around the world have re-examined their data privacy laws in the wake of a myriad of data leaks, including the Edward Snowden [JURIST backgrounder] leaks. National governments around the world have attempted [JURIST op-ed] to gain control over data transferred within their borders. On Tuesday the US House approved [JURIST report] a measure that would updat US privacy laws in regards to e-mails and cloud storage. In October 2015 the European Court of Justice ruled [JURIST report] that EU user data transferred to the US was not sufficiently protected. In June 2015 a court in The Hague struck down [JURIST report] a Dutch law that allowed the government to retain telephone and Internet data of Dutch citizens for up to 12 months in an effort to combat terrorism and organized crime.