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Are you in trouble for leaking trade secrets from a company’s computers?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2023 | Criminal Defense

You could be gushing about a top developer’s next video game release or the upcoming smartphone model to hit the shelves later this year. Whatever it may be, it’s exciting to speculate about the next big product.

While there’s nothing wrong with speculating about upcoming products, you could get into trouble with the law if you hack into a company’s systems to leak confidential trade secret data online. Even if you’re an employee of the company whose secrets you want to share, you will face severe consequences if you carelessly leak sensitive business data.

Florida law on leaking trade secrets

Leaking a trade secret is illegal under Florida law, especially if you entered (i.e., “hacked”) a company’s computer systems or networks to access said secret. The law considers such an act an offense against intellectual property and is a third-degree felony.

Punishments for leaking trade secrets

A third-degree felony in Florida carries a maximum prison sentence of up to five years, a $5,000 fine and five years of probation. Leaking a trade secret is also punishable by federal law, and leakers may be fined up to $500,000 on top of a 10-year prison sentence.

The company you hacked may also sue you for damages, which can quickly add to your costs depending on whether your hack damaged any systems, the leak’s impact and its economic damage.

Illegally accessing a company’s computers to access and leak trade secrets is a crime on both the state and federal levels. Even if you think it’s a harmless action, you could be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and years of jail time for disclosing even a tiny part of a future product – not to mention a criminal conviction that stays on your record for years. If you face charges for leaking trade secrets, you might want to consult with a lawyer knowledgeable in cybercrimes. A lawyer may be able to reduce the penalties you face and present you with defense options for court.